Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It's Definitely Still Rock and Roll to Me

When I was in college, I went through this crazy Billy Joel phase. I'm not sure why he became so important then, because his music had been around for most of my life. His trademark whistling in the opening to "The Stranger" played on the radio in my mother's 1970s Chrysler sedan, the song's provocativeness totally lost on a seven-year-old kid. His 1980 effort Glass Houses was the first record I owned that wasn't pilfered from my brother's cool collection. After school, my friends and I would dance wildly around my bedroom to "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" while the needle bounced up and down on the record. I listened to that album so many times, I wore out the grooves on the vinyl. (Yes, vinyl.) Ten years later, I did my dancing in a dorm room and saw Billy Joel live for the first time in Boston with my college roommates. By then, I had collected all of his albums on CD. I'm sure my dorm-mates were sick of hearing them.

College was a long time ago (sigh) and while I still like Billy Joel, it's been a while since his music was on regular iPod rotation. (That tattered old record still exists in a box tucked away somewhere. Yes, I save everything.) That is, until yesterday when someone posted this on Facebook:

Billy Joel and Vanderbilt student Michael Pollack, "New York State of Mind"

Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Is this not the dream of pretty much everyone who loves music? Even if you can't play one damn note of piano? Now before anyone tells me that this was set up, yes it very well might have been. Perhaps Billy Joel's manager was given a demo tape and Billy agreed to this ahead of time. Can't blame him if he did. But that doesn't take away from the fact that he is cool enough to let an unknown college student accompany him on stage. And he didn't just do a good job, Michael Pollack KILLED IT. Truly amazing. Kudos to Billy Joel for being so gracious. This is what it means to be a true artist and musician. And it makes me feel like all that the fan worship for all of those years was totally, totally worth it. 

1 comment:

Doris Collins said...

LOVED this! Gave me goosebumps from start to finish. And your words set it up so perfectly - I could totally picture the dancing, the vinyl, the Billy Joel love (of which I had some myself!!). Thanks for this!