Billy Joel and Michael Pollack

Billy Joel and who?

Well, remember the name Micheal Pollack, as this kid just might have a future. Check out the video above, where Pollack, a student in the crowd during a Q&A with Billy Joel, asks if he can accompany Joel on piano while Joel sings his favorite song – “New York State of Mind.” The result is pretty awesome.


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Friday Video – Billy Joel, “Goodnight Saigon”

Click here to listen to Billy Joel’s The Nylon Curtain on Spotify

Admittedly, this is not much of a happy hour song, but it’s Veteran’s Day – there aren’t a whole lot of upbeat songs about war veterans and what they endure in order to preserve freedom for the rest of us. Whatever your feelings about war, we should all thank our lucky stars that there are men and women who are willing to do the unthinkable so we can tweet from the safe zone about how miserable our meaningless little lives are. Just sayin’.

While we had our choice of songs on the subject, we went with Billy Joel’s “Goodnight Saigon” for a number of reasons. For starters, it’s one of his best songs, with an unforgettable climbing piano progression. Second of all, he describes the vibe of the soldiers like he was there. Unbridled enthusiasm and naivete became fear, panic and the kind of mental scarring that does not fade with time. He even brings in what are clearly Vietnam veterans to sing the simple but devastating chorus of “And we would all go down together.” Joel has written some enduring work, but this is his most powerful.

For those unfamiliar with this song, may we suggest that you hunt down The Nylon Curtain, the album from which it came, at once. (To make this easier, we included a link to the album on Spotify above.) It is, in our opinion, Joel’s best album by a country mile. Think of it as a giant tribute to the Beatles, and a dark, angry tribute at that.


All Work and No Playlist: Taking Back Sunday drummer Mark O’Connell’s favorite songs

Welcome to another installment of All Work and No Playlist. This week’s victim (we really do feel bad stealing all these iPods) is Taking Back Sunday drummer Mark O’Connell (far left, kneeling, in photo below), whose band has reformed with the lineup from their Tell All Your Friends days and will release a new self-titled album June 28. Says Mark: “We couldn’t be more excited about it.” Perhaps these 10 songs will provide some insight into the sound of the new record. Or perhaps not. He did put a Billy Joel song on here, after all, and we don’t see the band making the next “Tell Her About It” anytime soon.

“Battery,” Metallica

I remember the first time I heard this song, I couldn’t believe what was happening. I had no idea music like that existed. They are the pioneers of thrash metal.

“The Downeaster – Alexa,” Billy Joel

I am from Long Island — Billy Joel is from Long Island. He has Long Island pride — I also have long island pride. I want to meet that guy so badly, it hurts.

Read the rest after the jump...