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Billy Joel turns 65 today. He was born on May 9, 1949, a “Cold War kid in McCarthy time,” as he once sang. It has actually been over 20 years since his last full album of original pop songs, but he still draws crowds during tours as the greatest living greatest hits machine in the world.
Even though it has been so long since River of Dreams was released, Joel did build up a large catalog of songs in his 20 years of recording in the studio. That means that he has plenty of obscure material to mine through. Some of those songs have made it on the stage, while others languish on the studio albums that they were released on.
For his birthday today, rather than rehashing how great songs like “Piano Man,” “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” or “New York State of Mind” are, I will be looking at the songs you would only hear if you’ve gone to his shows or if you have his albums. These are songs that may have been forgotten but are ripe for rediscovery. After all, Joel isn’t making any new music any time soon, so that gives you plenty of time to catch up.
Without any further delay, here’s a look at some songs in the attic.