Piano Man

“It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday
The regular crowd shuffles in
There’s an old man sitting next to me
Making love to his tonic and gin

He says, “Son can you play me a memory
I’m not really sure how it goes
But it’s sad and it’s sweet
And I knew it complete
When I wore a younger man’s clothes”

Sing us a song you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feeling alright

Now John at the bar is a friend of mine
He gets me my drinks for free
And he’s quick with a joke or to light up your smoke
But there’s someplace that he’d rather be

He says, “Bill, I believe this is killing me”
As a smile ran away from his face
“Well, I’m sure that I could be a movie star
If I could get out of this place”

Now Paul is a real estate novelist
Who never had time for a wife
And he’s talking with Davy, who’s still in the Navy
And probably will be for life

And the waitress is practicing politics
As the businessmen slowly get stoned
Yes they’re sharing a drink they call loneliness
But it’s better than drinking alone

Sing us a song you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feeling alright

It’s a pretty good crowd for a Saturday
And the manager gives me a smile
‘Cause he knows that it’s me they’ve been coming to see
To forget about life for a while

And the piano sounds like a carnival
And the microphone smells like a beer
And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
And say “Man what are you doing here?”

Sing us a song you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feeling alright…”


Okay. I feel like dissecting a song. And by Billy Joel, too. That takes guts. (Not really, but saying it makes me feel better)

So: Verse one. I just realized, I know if I had the weekend off (and was of legal drinking age) I wouldn’t wait until nine to rush to the bar. Just saying.

Verse Two. “Play me a memory, I’m not really sure how it goes,” Now that’s just sad. (and sweet) “…when I wore a younger man’s clothes.” So basically this poor fellow is so old and drunk he can barely remember a thing.

Verse Three. Well, well- John, letting your piano man drink for free? I’m not sure whether that is very smart or very, very stupid. Oh, and Johnny? Thanks for the light, bartender. Yes, it has been a rough day. I had to write a blog post.

Verse Four. Follow your dreams, Johnny-boy. You can do it. The next time I see you Johnny you better be in Hollywood!

Verse Five. Now, what is a ‘real estate novelist’? Whatever it is, it’s probably very time consuming. After all, Paul doesn’t have time for a wife. And Davy doesn’t have a woman either. You just can’t pull off a relationship if you’ll be in the Navy for life.

Verse Six. Who, dear fellow, is your waitress, and why is she waiting tables at a bar if she’s into politics? Also, that seems about accurate.”…And they’re sharing a drink they call loneliness, but it’s better than drinking alone.” Poor guys. Jeez, this bar seems to be a cesspool of human misery. Which is odd, considering it’s a BAR, well known for their cheerful atmosphere and sober intellectuals.

Verse Seven. Oh, really? Also, I think (not that I have any experience) but don’t people come to bars…to, I don’t know, drink? I think if they came for the piano they’d be better off in a concert hall listening to a classical pianist. But then again, this bar pianist is Billy Joel, so I’ll let it slide.

Verse Eight. Wow. You’d think with Billy Joel as their pianist, they’d make enough money that your piano did not sound like a troupe of traveling performers and the instrument used for singing does not smell like booze. But then again, the ‘bread’ put in the jar might not mean money. It could mean actual, literal bread. After all, these people are quite drunk. (However amusing I may find this, I must admit that it is far more likely he’s just getting tips)


Sing us a song, you’re the piano man

sing us a song tonight,

Well we’re all in the mood for a melody,

and you’ve got us feeling alright…


Bye-bye Shrimplets! ♥

One thought on “Piano Man

  1. I never thought about the song so deeply…I just know that I enjoy its sweet, nostalgic feeling. Billy Joel, I don’t love…but this is one of his songs that I like.

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