Music News

It's Still Rotten Joel to Me

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7. Joel's serious motorcycle accident (must be all that riding in the rain) wins him some sympathy, but no new-Dylan comparisons. Or Springsteen comparisons. When Bruce wrote about Vietnam, he at least talked to some vets. Judging by "Goodnight Saigon," Joel's grandiose bid for social relevance on The Nylon Curtain, Billy probably rented Apocalypse Now twice to make sure they really did listen to Doors tapes.

8. Billy's awkward dancing on the "Uptown Girl" video may have single-handedly convinced English piano man Joe Jackson to stop making videos. And at this late date, who's to say Christie Brinkley's clumsy variation on the Curly Shuffle didn't cost her some runway work?

9. Joel's mimicry streak reaches its zenith with "Baby Grand," a duet he ca-Joels Ray Charles into joining. With the Genius of Soul on hand, Joel can't help but imitate Brother Ray himself. Sorta like when John Belushi tried to out-Cocker Joe Cocker while the Sheffield shouter was standing next to him. At least Joel doesn't spill Diet Pepsi all over himself.

10. Even at the height of "tribute album fever," no Billy Joel collection ever emerged. Why? Because the only person who'll even stand up and say Joel was a big influence is Garth Brooks, whose next installment of fantasy camp after trying out for the major leagues is appearing onstage with makeup at a Kiss concert. Such is Joel's remote connection to rock. Still, Brooks did jump-start the country music industry, and, for inspiring him, maybe they should put Billy Joel in the Country Hall of Fame. Right next to Barbara Mandrell's smacked-up car.

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Serene Dominic
Contact: Serene Dominic