Another Generation Hearing From

I mentioned a while back that my father and I both enjoyed the music of Billy Joel. I’ve also mentioned on occasion that my boys, especially my youngest, listens to a basic playlist of 70s and 80s music that includes not only selections from the Guardians of the Galaxy movie soundtracks but also a number of Billy Joel songs from The Stranger through An Innocent Man. To be honest, I don’t know where or why he picked them up, as I only have “I Go To Extremes” on the gym playlist, and it and “We Didn’t Start The Fire” from their extra work during the school closures come from Storm Front.

At any rate, in the early 1990s, during my college years, I picked up videocassette versions of Billy Joel’s Video Album Volume 1 and Video Album Volume 2 which contained music videos from Cold Spring Harbor to The Bridge. Most of the older stuff is concert/performance videos, some shot in black and white (“Los Angelenos” and “Everybody Loves You Now”, for example). And I watched them over and over in my college years as was my wont. My father joined me on occasion and mentioned that he liked Billy Joel best when he was sneering, such as “Big Shot”, but he also like the harmonies in “For the Longest Time”.

So I dug the two videocassettes out–I think I have the Storm Front videos somewhere else–and I put one on the other night. I put volume 2 in first, not on purpose but because of the luck of the draw in the darkness, and it starts with “You’re Only Human (Second Wind)”:

“You’re Only Human (Second Wind)” and “While The Night Is Still Young” (which appears on the other videocassette) are from the greatest hits albums. I also have the former on a single, which skipped (hence it took me a long time to sing it correctly).

Not much tugs at my cynical heartstrings, gentle reader, but hearing my youngest son sing along with Billy Joel songs my father–whom my children know only through stories–enjoyed, well, that’s one of them.

You know, I have not listened to much Billy Joel these days as the music in my library has been ripped from cassettes and is disordered by the songs on the greatest hits album not appearing as part of the original albums–but I’ll have to make a point of it. Billy Joel wrote music that speaks to young men and then grows along with them, so one–I mean I–can appreciate the perspectives in them and can remember appreciating them from a younger perspective as well.

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