Friday, January 28, 2011

Being Banned Is Good For Business

Beginning in the early 1990s, Billy Joel did a series of Masterclass Concerts, in which he'd appear without his band but with his piano and guitar. He'd talk about his music and his industry and take questions from the audience, which would lead to stories about his songs, which he'd then play. Although he'd often get the same kind of questions from venue to venue, the evening didn't follow a preset plan, and he'd just go with the flow of whatever the audience came up with.

One of those Masterclass Concerts was recorded in late 2001 at the University of Pennsylvania for an A&E television special. To my knowledge, that show hasn't been released on DVD, but here's a clip where Billy talks about getting some help from an unlikely source in making one of his songs into a big hit...


In a similar style, here he is two years earlier on "Inside The Actor's Studio" -- another show that's never been released on DVD -- where James Lipton asked Billy to explain how he developed the three-part structure of "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant"...