Thursday, June 6, 2019

Pianos, drinking and non-

Billy Joel: “And the piano sounds like a carnival, / And the microphone smells like a beer.”

Tom Waits: “And the carpet needs a haircut, / And the spotlight looks like a prison break.”

It took me lo these many years to realize that Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” (1973) must have been the jumping-off point for Tom Waits’s “The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me) (An Evening with Pete King)” (1977). Here is Waits’s studio version, from the album Small Change. My favorite Waits performance of the song is from Fernwood 2 Night (August 1, 1977). In the post-performance interview with Barth Gimble (Martin Mull) and Jerry Hubbard (Fred Willard), Waits plays his part to the hilt.

And of course, in 1939 Earl Hines and His Orchestra recorded “Piano Man,” a Hines composition, no relation.


December 26, 2019: Aw, jeez, I just discovered that I had this thought in 2017.

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