Billy Joel: Piano Man

Cover of "Billy Joel - Greatest Hits, Vol...
Cover via Amazon

On September 11, 2008 I had been thinking about New York and had posted the chords to New York State of Mind. After watching a young man on The Voice, kind of singing like Billy Joel, I decided it was time to share some more hit songs from this gifted artist. Most of the chords to Billy's songs are from a songbook that I own, called Billy Joel - Billy Joel - Greatest Hits, Volumes 1 and 2 - Music Book, plus you'll find some chord progressions to his tunes online.

William Martin "Billy" Joel (born May 9, 1949) is an American pianist, singer-songwriter, and composer. Since releasing his first hit song, "Piano Man," in 1973, Joel has become the sixth best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in the United States, according to the RIAA. He also has the third best-selling album in the United States with his Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2
For more information, read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Joel

Piano Man is a cool song that was written in 1973, so very popular. It's written in the Key of C with 3/4 time signature. Here are the chords to the song.

     C      Em/B       Am  C/G
It's nine o'clock on a Saturday
    F       C/E            D7 G
The regular crowd shuffles in
           C    Em/B       Am      C/G
There's an old man sitting next to me
       F           G11       C   F/C Cmaj7 G11
Making love to his tonic and gin

          C            Em/B      Am  C/G
He says, "Son, can you play me a memory
    F          C/E         D7 G
I'm not really sure how it goes
         C            Em/B        Am        C/G
But it's sad and it's sweet and I knew it complete
      F      G11             C
When I wore a younger man's clothes."

Am   Am/G   D7/F# F 
la la la, di da da
Am   Am/G   D7/F#   G  G/F C/E G7/D
La la, di di da da dum

C         Em/B              Am   C/G
Sing us a song, you're the piano man
F         C/E      D7   G
Sing us a song tonight
            C         Em/B        Am  C/G
Well, we're all in the mood for a melody
    F                 G11         C   F/C Cmaj7
And you've got us all feeling alright

    C           Em/B      Am         C/G
Now John at the bar is a friend of mine
   F          C/E         D7  G
He gets me my drinks for free
         C            Em/B              Am          C/G
And he's quick with a joke and he'll light up your smoke
            F               G11         C   F/C Cmaj7 G11
But there's some place that he'd rather be
[ Tab from: http://www.guitaretab.com/b/billy-joel/275450.html ]
          C      Em/B             Am      C/G
He says, "Bill, I believe this is killing me."
       F          C/E            D7  G
As the smile ran away from his face
          C           Em/B          Am    C/G
"Well I'm sure that I could be a movie star
   F           G11           C
If I could get out of this place"

Am   Am/G       D7/F# F
la la la, di da da
Am    Am/G      D7/F#   D7 G  G/F C/E G7/D
La la, di di da da dum

Now Paul is a real estate novelist
Who never had time for a wife
And he's talking with Davy, who's still in the Navy
And probably will be for life

And the waitress is practicing politics
As the businessman slowly gets stoned
Yes, they're sharing a drink they call loneliness
But it's better than drinking alone

C         Em/B               Am   C/G
Sing us a song, you're the piano man
F         C/E      D7   G
Sing us a song tonight
            C          Em/B         Am   C/G
Well, we're all in the mood for a melody
    F                 G11         C    F/C
And you've got us all feeling alright

It's a pretty good crowd for a Saturday
And the manager gives me a smile
'Cause he knows that it's me they've been coming to see
To forget about life for a while
And the piano, it sounds like a carnival
And the microphone smells like a beer
And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
And say, "Man, what are you doing here?"

Am              D7
la la la, di da da
Am           D7    G  F C G7
La la, di di da da dum

C        Em/B               Am     C/G
Sing us a song, you're the piano man
F         C/E      D7   G
Sing us a song tonight
            C          Em/B         Am   C/G
Well, we're all in the mood for a melody
    F                 G11         C     
And you've got us all feeling alright
 
 
 
Here's my intro:
 
L.H./R.H. 

 
GF/CA
 
E/CG
 
D/CFG 

Then play,

C =  C/CEG

E,/B = B/BEG

Am = A/EAC

C/G = G/EGC

F = F/AC

C/E = E/GCD

D7 = D/F#CD

G = G/BG

C = C/CEG

Em/B = B/BEF

Am = A/ACE

C/G = G/EGA

F = FC/AF

G11 = GF/ACF

C = CEG/CEG

F/C = CFA/CFC

Cmaj7 = CGB/CGC

G11 = FA/ then play EE/ then DD/G

Em/B = B/BEG, B/GBF, B/GBE

Am = A/ACF

C/G = GEGC

F = F/FAC

C/E E/CGD

D7 = D/DF#C

G = G/DGB

C = C/CEG

Em/B = B/BEG, then B/GBF

Am = A/ACF then A/ACE

C/G = G/EGC

F = FAC

G11 = G/FAC

C = C/EGC

Am = A/CEA

Am/G = G/CEB

D7/F# = F#/CDA

F = F/CFA

Am = A/CE

Am/G = G/CEBC

D7/F# = F#/DF#B

G = G/BDG

G/F = F/DGBD

C/E = E/EGCE

G7/D = D/FBDF

C/GCEG

Em/B = B/GBEG

Am = A/FACF, then A/CEAC

C/G = G/CEG

F = F/CFA

C/E = E/CGC

D/DF#CD

G/DGBD, then G/EGBE, then G/FBDF

C = C/GCEG

Em = B/GBEG

Am = A/FACF, then A/EE, then A/CEAC

C/G = C/CEG

F = F/CFA, then F/FAC

G = G/FACF

C = CEG/CC

F/C = CFA/CFC

Cmaj7 = CEGB/CGC

CEG/CDEG



Billy Joel - Piano Man - Sheet Music (Digital Download)


Billy Joel - She's Always A Woman - Sheet Music (Digital Download)

Billy Joel - Uptown Girl - Sheet Music (Digital Download)

Music Notes.com is having a sale, if you're interested. I get some digital music from them often for my students. It's fast and easy, so you can learn a song right away.
Save 21% on any digital sheet music order of $25! Use code MNCYBER2012 at checkout


I think you'll soon discover that many of these famous piano players, like Bruce Hornsby and Billy Joel, have very large hands and are able to hit those octaves effortlessly. Do you have a favorite Billy Joel song that comes to mind?
By the way, Hear and Play is having a huge sale on music resources right now that you might want to check out, Songrobot Software

All the best,






"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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