Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tribute: New York State of Mind, Billy Joel, American Entertainer

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is Tuesday, May 09 in my corner of blog land. Our weather continues to be Fall-like with light frost overnight, and daytime temperatures between 10 and 15 degrees C, which generally means between 50 and 65 degrees F. Mostly sunny, but we have had our share of rain and some flooding too.

Today our look back is right here in the good old USA. It is based on a reference from The Writer's Almanac about one of our entertainers who has had quite the illustrious career. See below.

It's the birthday of Billy Joel, born in the Bronx (1949). Soon after he was born, his family moved to Long Island's Levittown, the first suburb in America. His dad was a classical pianist, and his mom made sure that young Billy learned the piano too. He started playing when he was four years old, and showed a natural talent. His father left when Billy was eight, and his mother moved with the two kids to Hicksville. She worked hard to support the family, but money was very tight. Billy fell in with a rough crowd, and took up boxing in his teen years.
He was not quite 15 when he saw the Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, and decided then and there that he would make music his career. He joined a succession of bands. He sneaked into a Jimi Hendrix concert by carrying around a bunch of electrical cables and pretending to be a roadie. He eventually dropped out of school to work on his first album, Cold Spring Harbor (1971), which was not a success. He moved to Los Angeles and took a job playing piano in a lounge on Wilshire Boulevard, using the stage name "Bill Martin." That job ended up inspiring his first big hit, "Piano Man." He stepped away from the pop music business for a while, beginning in the 1990s, in favor of composing classical music, which he released on the album Fantasies and Delusions (2001).
"I never wanted to be an oldies act, but I suppose I am," he said in a recent interview. "I never wanted to be a nostalgia act, but I suppose I am. But I listen to Beethoven, and that's really old stuff. Is that nostalgia? To me, that music is as alive as it ever was."

Kevod Yeheveh, His presence is with you and may He give us a new song of praise to sing!

Mellow Rock
David Russell

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