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Billy Joel songs

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by mstillman, Sep 24, 2020.

  1. mstillman


    Dec 6, 2011
    MetroWest MA
    TL;DR: Does My Life go over with crowds? What other Billy Joel songs work?

    We always get a great response for You May Be Right. I've been saying we need to add another Billy Joel song. I suggested Only the Good Die Young, not so much for its "lead bass" part, but it's upbeat, familiar, a good singalong, and I've seen it fill other bands' dance floors.

    The band is leaning towards My Life.

    To me, this is almost like apples and oranges. ML is a much weaker tune, IMO. I can be OK with it being a lesser hit, but I just don't think it's a grabber. (Old band did Banditos by The Refreshments and people quickly loved it. Dying to do Maria by Blondie.)

    I could very well be wrong. If anyone here has gigged My Life, how'd it go over?

    Recommendations for danceable BJ tunes would be welcome ('cept I think we'll pass on Uptown Girl until one of us is with a supermodel).

    (Wow, Only... just came on my radio station's stream as I type this)
  2. friskinator

    friskinator Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    It really depends on what demographic you're playing for. BJ in general is definitely going to appeal to an older crowd.

    My cover band used to do Big Shot. It isn't too danceable, but it got a good reaction on some nights, and it's fun to play.
  3. mstillman


    Dec 6, 2011
    MetroWest MA
    Our classic rock band typically targets that demo. Still, my kids were CR fans before, and since, kindergarten.

    Big Shot wouldn't have occurred to me, thanks.
  4. Haven't gigged any Billy Joel so can't help much on advice. Different songs go over different depending on the band and the crowd. Only way to gauge it is to put it on rotation and see how it plays out a few times. Just gotta be willing to drop it again if it doesn't work.

    Has your group considered "It's Still Rock N Roll to Me" ?
    Alik, RickyT, mexicanyella and 9 others like this.
  5. I played "My Life" for about a year & a half in a cover act, It was a winner!
    HolmeBass and ZonieBass like this.
  6. mstillman


    Dec 6, 2011
    MetroWest MA
    Funny, I just mentioned it to my gf this morning. In high school we did kazoo for the sax solo, but keyboard player has a good sax sound.

  7. mstillman


    Dec 6, 2011
    MetroWest MA
    Good to know. Thanks.
  8. cxcxcx


    Mar 8, 2019
    "Only the Good Die Young" works if you have the instrumentation or a good arrangement.
    Madhouse27, whero and dave64o like this.
  9. Hmm, tough one here, and I think my answer is "it depends". That is, it depends on your typical audience, as well as your set list. I'm of the opinion that "You May Be Right" is going to go over with a broad "classic rock" (maybe on the lighter side) sort of crowd, whereas "My Life" would appeal more to actual Billy Joel fans. Your suggestion of "Only the Good Die Young" I think kinda splits the difference there, and I think is the better choice. Plus, that bass line!!
    mexicanyella likes this.
  10. Allentown is my choice.

  11. I wouldn't over think it - learn the song and try it out at a few shows and see for yourself if it works or not. If it goes over - great keep it ! if not toss it and pick an other song that will work there are lots of options to choose from
    Rip Van Dan and JMacBass65 like this.
  12. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    Have had success with "My Life," "Piano Man," "Just Like a Woman to Me." If you really want to stretch your chops, go with "Travelin' Prayer" or "Uptown Girl."
  13. ELG60

    ELG60 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Back in about 1980, a friend's band used to do The Stranger. Went over fairly well iirc. We Didn't Start The Fire is an active tune but I don't think that it will necessarily get a$$es out of their seats. Piano Man is one of best pieces and would perhaps be a better sing-along. Still Rock and Roll To Me and Angry Young Man might be worthy of consideration.
  14. BassGuyFL

    BassGuyFL Formerly known as RichardCranium Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    Boynton Bch FL
    I play in a Billy Joel tribute band and I would recommend sticking with the hits. We have to juggle a lot between playing the hits and some more obscure/interesting stuff. Also his songs can be pretty tricky lots of weird chord inversions and odd arrangements. Hard to do right and your keys/piano player really needs to be up on it.
    JMacBass65, RickyT, design and 2 others like this.
  15. filwitheneff


    Feb 22, 2008
    In the past, I've done "You May Be Right", "Still R&R To Me", and "My Life". All went-over well with the older audiences. Younger audiences won't know the songs. Personally, if your audience demographic is older, I think "My Life" is a great choice.
    JMacBass65 likes this.
  16. We've done My Life to mixed results. Being a 3 pc with no piano it's obviously got a different vibe but even if they don't dance to it people seem to like it more often than not.
  17. Holdsg

    Holdsg Talkbass > Work Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2009
    Alta Loma, CA
    just don't....for any reason....play "Just the Way You Are".....unless you are a yacht rock or wedding band....yeeeeech
    JMacBass65, RickyT and EddiePlaysBass like this.
  18. Holdsg

    Holdsg Talkbass > Work Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2009
    Alta Loma, CA
    oh, and Billy had one of the best backing bands in history. I put right up there with E-street and the Heartbreakers.
    JMacBass65, mstillman, FranF and 3 others like this.
  19. Piano Man has a good bass line. It will keep you busy for sure, especially when you play between the octaves during the verse. :D
    JMacBass65 likes this.
  20. Ggaa


    Nov 26, 2018
    Matter of Trust, You May Be Right......
    JMacBass65 and mexicanyella like this.

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