Piano Man

Topics: Billy Joel, Emotion, Piano Man Pages: 4 (1384 words) Published: December 14, 2010
Forever Alone Together; A Literary Analysis of “Piano Man” Music has been a part of human culture for many years. It is embedded deep in our roots, from Native Americans chanting around a fire, to slaves harmonizing while laboring in the fields, to Beatle-mania, to the Backstreet Boys welcoming the new millennium. The great artists of this industry will forever be remembered for their ability to combine moving, soulful lyrics with enchanting melodies, all while reaching millions of individuals in a unique way. Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” is a perfect example of this melodic combination. Joel’s inspiration for this song came directly from his own experiences. Early in his career, he played a stint as a piano man for a local bar in Los Angeles, California during the early seventies. This piece was created as a “thank you” message to all of the lost people that inspired Joel to get back into the world and to dream big again after his first single failed miserably. His harmony depicts a typical bar scene, packed with down and out drunks and tired, bedraggled businessmen, all trying to find an escape from their stressful, everyday lives. Billy Joel tries to convey the message that everyone is always searching for something more in life, but no matter how much success they have, they will still be filled with loneliness and desire for something else. In “Piano Man,” Billy Joel uses a simple, straightforward syntax, an indirect characterization, and an informal, bittersweet tone to enforce his theme of disappointment and un-fulfillment.

At a first glance, the simple syntax used by Billy Joel enforces the simplicity of his message. He is trying to show that these people at the bar represent everyday people. They are lost, looking for something more. They feel alone and are sitting at this bar because it is a safe haven of escape. By keeping his lines short and straightforward, it both relates to the lives of the people and ensures that his message is clearly presented to...
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