Day 201: It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me

Song: “It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me” by Billy Joel
Reached #1: July 19, 1980 (his first, 2 weeks)

It’s still Billy Joel to me…

This probably shouldn’t have been Billy Joel’s first #1.  After all, “Piano Man” came out 7 years earlier – but only reached #25 on the charts – becoming Joel’s signature song only after his back catalog was rediscovered in the ‘80s.

And it’s even more surprising to find that Joel only hit #1 three times.  With all of the classic songs he’s produced, he’s clearly evidence for the statement that great art is never appreciated in its own time…

When you think of Billy Joel, what do you think of?  His high-profile marriage to, and divorce from, Christie Brinkley?  “Piano Man”?  “We Didn’t Start The Fire”?  His multiple tours with fellow piano man Elton John?

Probably, but for me, I think of something completely different.

Everyone who’s ever done radio has committed on-air bloopers.  Including me.  A few years ago, I was attempting to introduce Bobbie Gentry’s one big hit… the one about that guy who jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge.

However, on this day, the title came out wrong.  I introduced “Ode To Billy Joel”, not “Ode To Billie Joe”.  I played it off on the air, had a small laugh at myself, and moved on.  It was my program director who got the last word – he called in on the hot line and was just curious to know if this meant that Bobbie Gentry was now an uptown girl…

Tomorrow, the only South African to hit #1.  I think.

Other songs that reached #1 on July 19:
1975 –
“Listen To What The Man Says” by Wings (their third, 1 week)
1986 – “Invisible Touch” by Genesis (their first, 1 week)


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