On this Day in Music History: April 6, 1974

On this Day in Music History: April 6, 1974

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Brought to you by Blackfire Research….On this day in 1974, Billy Joel earned his first Billboard Top 40 Hit with his now iconic bar ballad, “Piano Man.” The song was only moderately successful during the time of its debut, peaking at #25 on the US charts. However, it wasn’t until after the release of Joel’s 1977 album, “The Stranger,” which launched him into superstardom, that “Piano Man” gained notoriety, becoming his most well-known lyric. The song, written by Joel, is a re-telling of his own experience working as a piano-lounge singer in Los Angeles between 1972 and 1973 while negotiating a split from his first recording label, Family Productions. The large cast of characters that appear in the song are all based on real people who would frequent the bar: “The Waitress” who’s “practicing politics” actually refers to Joel’s first wife, Elizabeth Weber, who worked as a waitress in the bar on the nights Joel sang. In 2016, “Piano Man” was one of twenty-five recordings selected to be preserved by the Library of Congress National Recording Registry, citing its cultural, historical, and aesthetic significance. Drink up!