Rock legend Billy Joel has made known his thoughts about musicians and other performers spouting off about politics.
The Piano Man has been reeling off one hit after since the 1970s and is currently headlining at New York City’s Madison Square Garden where he has been playing before sold-out crowds for the past four years. Joel is a six-time Grammy Award winner and a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In a 50-year career, perhaps his best-known songs in addition to “Piano Man” include “Uptown Girl,” “Only the Good Die Young,” “Pressure,” “Just the Way You Are,” “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” “An Innocent Man,” and “New York State Mind.”
In a just-published Rolling Stone interview, Billy Joel acknowledged that he was flabbergasted that Donald Trump was elected president, but suggested that artists should concentrate on their art and keep politics to themselves because that’s what fans want.
“I try to stay out of politics. I am a private citizen and I have a right to believe in my own political point of view, but I try not to get up on a soapbox and tell people how to think. I’ve been to shows where people start haranguing the audience about what’s going on politically and I’m thinking, ‘You know, this isn’t why I came here.’ As a matter of fact, one of the biggest cheers of the night comes when we do ‘Piano Man’ and I sing, ‘They know that it’s me that they’re coming to see to forget about life for a while,’ and the audience lets out this huge ‘ahhhh’ and I say, ‘OK, yeah, don’t forget that.’ We’re more like court jesters than court philosophers.”
Last November, Billy Joel, 68, told the New York Daily News that he was voting for Democrat Hillary Clinton, but had no intention of trying to convince anyone else to do the same. “My personal opinion shouldn’t matter to anyone with their own free will,” he said.
During the Rolling Stone interview, among other things Joel discussed how he stopped touring for about four years to recover from double hip replacement surgery. He admitted to mostly listening to classical music and very little pop and revealed that “New York State of Mind” is his personal favorite in the Billy Joel catalog.
The father of a two-year-old daughter with his fourth wife also quipped that when he gets off stage, he’s just like everyone else — fighting traffic to get home and having to take out the garbage when he gets there.
During his long career in the pre-politics media spotlight, Donald Trump — a former Democrat and independent who ran for president on the GOP ticket — regularly mixed with the New York and Hollywood celebrities and they with him. It’s only after he became a political candidate that Trump for various reasons became unacceptable to many of those on the show business circuit, and some entertainment awards ceremonies have morphed into platforms for Trump bashing.
[Featured Image by Debby Wong/Shutterstock]