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Quirky T’s Top Five Fave Billy Joel Songs

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Lately, Quirky T has been listening to Billy Joel songs from his three Greatest Hits CDs. In 1994, I was lucky enough to see him in concert with Elton John. Just to clarify, Elton John co-headlined the concert with Billy Joel; Elton John did not attend the concert with me as my seatmate. (Although that scenario would have been amazing). Anyway, it was a great concert so I would love to hear more Billy Joel at one of his monthly gigs at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Until that dream comes true, here, in chronological order, are my top five favorite Billy Joel songs.

 

    “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)”
    “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me”
    “Don’t Ask Me Why”
    “The Longest Time”
    “This Is The Time”

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I noticed most of my fave Billy Joel songs are from the 80’s. I guess that is because this was the time when I first started listening to his songs. So they may not be his classics from the 70’s people really admire but 30 years later, I guess they are also considered classics. I really think Billy Joel is a clever songwriter. I love his unusual phrasing and emphasis on certain words, especially in “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)”. His songs represent a range of emotions and musical genres. He also creates distinctive characters and interesting stories in his songs.

To tie this Guitar Train stop in with one of my favorite musical groups, I cannot hear “We Didn’t Start the Fire” without listening for the line referencing The Beatles. I know not everyone likes this song but I think Billy Joel was genius in the way he put all those historical references into a song. Plus, he realizes that a list of significant historical events and people must contain The Beatles.

 

Guitar Train passengers, what are your favorite Billy Joel songs?

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Guitar Train’s Favorite Instrumental TV Theme Songs

TV shaped frame

Following along on the track of television show theme songs, this stops looks at Quirky T’s favorite instrumental TV show theme songs. Not surprisingly all of the shows on this list are from the 1980’s when I (looking back in astonishment) watched a huge amount of TV. Also, not surprisingly for that time, the majority of the shows with instrumental theme songs were action-adventure shows where action clips from the program were shown as the theme song played. As in the last stop listing my favorite TV show theme songs (non-instrumental), I apologize for the lack of photos in this stop. The photos I have of Richard Dean Anderson as MacGyver are in a storage box somewhere. It is the one place that MacGyver hasn’t been able to escape from.

 

Here’s the list of the shows which contained my favorite instrumental TV theme songs:

 

  1. “Magnum P.I.”
  2. “The A-Team”
  3. “Remington Steele”
  4. “MacGyver”
  5. “Night Court”

 

The theme songs for both “Magnum P.I.” and “The A-Team” were composed by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter. Being a huge “A-Team” fan, I can still watch the show today despite the unreality of many of the situations depicted. I would love to have that song as my cell phone ringtone.

 

The “Remington Steele” theme song was composed by the acclaimed composer Henry Mancini. I have mentioned him before as the composer of two of my favorite instrumental soundtracks for the movies “Charade” (one of my all time favorite movies) and “A Shot in the Dark” (the second Pink Panther movie).

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The “Remington Steele” theme is sophisticated like the character of Remington Steele wants to be. The music invokes old time Hollywood just as Remington Steele often invokes the names of old movies when he is faced with similar situations.

Swiss Army Knife

“MacGyver” is another show I could watch today and still enjoy as much as I did when I first watched it. I bought my own red Swiss Army knife because of this show. Granted it’s smaller and includes a pen which is a necessity for me, more so than a bottle opener.

 

“Night Court” is the only half hour comedy show on this list. The jazzy song compliments the gritty New York City shots but contrasts with the silliness of the show itself. I haven’t seen this show in a long, long time; it would be interesting to watch again.

 

Guitar Train passengers, what are your favorite instrumental TV theme songs?

California Songs

Santa Barbara, CA

At the last Guitar Train stop, Quirky T looked at New York songs so now it’s time for California songs. I have not spent nearly as much time in California as I have in New York (it’s a long Guitar Train ride to get to the West Coast) so I am biased towards New York and its familiarity. Many California songs make the state into a dreamy paradise while New York (especially New York City) is more gritty and one has to be tough to survive the weather, the congestion, the fast pace, and the people.

 

California Songs I like

 

  1. “Blue Jay Way” – The Beatles
  2. Any surfing song by The Beach Boys
  3. “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas and Papas
  4. “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” by Billy Joel
  5. “Don’t Mean Nothin’” by Richard Marx

 

Billy Joel also had a song on my list of New York songs I like. He is a New York guy but he lived in California for a few years in the 1970’s which inspired him in writing some songs such as this one on my list.

Huey Lewis concert T-shirt

One song which mentions both New York City and Los Angeles is “The Heart of Rock and Roll” by the San Francisco, CA band Huey Lewis and the News. Actually, New York starts off the song and LA is mentioned later in the song. Along with those two cities, several other rocking cities throughout the United States are named.

Hollywood, CA

 

Before the Guitar Train departs for the next stop, I have one California video mention. For some unknown to Quirky T reason, the British band Genesis filmed the video for their song “Misunderstanding” in Los Angeles. Every time I watch the video, I think, “Yeah, Phil, there is a misunderstanding. You’re driving around LA looking for your girlfriend and she’s back home in England.” That being thought, I do like to watch videos, TV shows, and films shot in California to see locations I don’t normally see just as I like to watch videos, TV shows, and films shot in New York City to see locations which are familiar to me.

 

Guitar Train passengers, what are your favorite California songs?

 

Get your tickets ready as next month Quirky T conducts the Guitar Train to go “Back in Time” to 1985!

New York Songs

This Guitar Train stop is the first of two stops looking at New York songs and California songs. Since I live on the East Coast, I am more familiar with and associate more with New York songs. Many of the songs written about New York are about one specific area of a large state – New York City. There may be songs about upstate New York towns such as Schenectady or Ithaca but I haven’t heard them.

 

Central Park, New York City

Central Park, New York City

New York songs I like

  1. “Theme from New York, New York” sung by Frank Sinatra
  2. “New York City Rhythm” by Barry Manilow
  3. “New York State of Mind” by Billy Joel

 

Gate 4

Yankee Stadium

There’s nothing like a crowd of 50,000 happy New York Yankees fans singing along to “Theme from New York, New York” at Yankee Stadium after a Yankees win. It is a great tradition which brings everyone together in happiness for their beloved team. It is the perfect ending to a day spent at Yankee Stadium.

 

New York City

New York City

Barry Manilow left Brooklyn, New York a long time ago for California but his song, “New York City Rhythm” captures the atmosphere of New York City. It puts a spring in your step while walking through the city in an I’m-in-a-musical-fantasy kind of way.

 

Billy Joel is Mr. Long Island, New York. His song, “New York State of Mind” with its mentions of several specific New York locations does indeed put one in a New York frame of reference.

Phil Collins t-shirt

 

Upon researching this Guitar Train stop, I discovered several Genesis songs with New York connections that I had not previously heard. I found the songs from the Peter Gabriel led 1974 album, “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” to be creepy and scary. They reinforced my preference for Phil Collins over Peter Gabriel.

 

Guitar Train passengers, what are your favorite New York songs?

The Guitar Train Stops to Have Brunch with The Beatles (Not Really)

 

B.B. King Blues Club

A few months ago, Quirky T stopped the Guitar Train to see a great Beatles cover band called Strawberry Fields. They perform every Saturday at 12 pm at The Beatles Brunch at B.B. King Blues Club and Grill in New York City. (www.bbkingblues.com) The price of admission includes an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet and the band’s performance. The cover band has been playing at this venue for 15 years. They don’t necessarily look the parts but they do act them. Except the Paul McCartney impersonator who kept going in and out of character which was confusing. It was hard to know when he was taking about his own life and when he was being Paul.

 

photo by Luis Dominguez

photo by Luis Dominguez

Strawberry Fields played 22 songs spanning The Beatles catalogue including more cover songs than usual for a Beatles tribute band. Beatles originals that were a pleasant surprise to hear were “I Call Your Name”, “I’ve Just Seen a Face”, and “Thank You Girl”. I thought the band did a great job and I really enjoyed the performance. For more information on the band, check out http://www.strawberryfieldsthetribute.com

 

photo by Luis Dominguez

photo by Luis Dominguez

There’s always an element of sadness when listening to a Beatles cover band and especially the banter among the performers. The real Beatles never played some of the songs live that their tribute bands play now. The real Beatles never had the onstage banter about their later songs. Instead of “Things We Said Today”, it’s “Things They Never Got to Say”.

Beatles exhibit program

 

After the concert, I headed to The Beatles exhibit at Lincoln Center which “Paul” had talked about between songs. It was a great exhibit which I have already mentioned in a previous Guitar Train stop.

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What struck me was that I just paid more money to see a Beatles cover band than fans paid in 1964 to see the real Beatles in concert! Times and money sure have changed but The Beatles will remain forever.

 

Next month, hop aboard the Guitar Train for stops to listen to the Standards as sung by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Quirky T’s favorites – Paul McCartney, Gloria Estefan, and Jon Secada.

Off The Music Track Month – Stop # 1 – Paper Towel Craziness

This month, Quirky T is conducting the Guitar Train on a non-musical detour. This first stop looks at the craziness of paper towel designs. Since paper towels can be used for so many purposes, they are pretty much a necessity of life (unless you’re environmentally conscious and use washable real cloth towels – good for you). I never understood the need for a design on a paper towel. A simple plain white paper towel is all we need.

 

plain white paper towel

plain white paper towel

 

 

 

After all, we’re only going to use it for a few seconds to clean up or a few minutes maximum in the microwave. It does not need to have a design. It does not need to have writing on it. I’m not looking for words of wisdom from a paper towel. I just need something functional. Plain white paper towels without images or writing are actually requested when microwaving certain items. I suppose this is so that the ink from the design does not get into the food or stain the microwave tray.

 

What I do not need, want, desire, or understand is this –

park scene on a paper towel

park scene on a paper towel

 

What is that? Why is there a park scene playing out on my paper towel? Who thought of this and why? I can understand napkins having designs since they will actually be displayed on tables. Although, I doubt a stroll through the park scene on a napkin would match any table or event theme.

park scene on a paper towel

park scene on a paper towel

 

And why are the women who are pushing the stroller, walking the dog, and strolling through the park all wearing very high heels? I’m surprised the woman on the bike and the female jogger (who incomprehensibly is wearing a skirt) aren’t wearing high heels also. What does that say about this paper towel company’s concept of women? And what about the lack of men except for the guy on the bench and the boy playing?

 

park scene on a paper towel

park scene on a paper towel

 

I just don’t understand it. Thank you, Guitar Train passengers, for letting me get this (probably purposeless) rant about paper towel designs out of my system. I’m afraid to ask but does this bother anyone else?

 

Beatles exhibit program

Back on the music track, I recently went to an excellent Beatles exhibit in New York City. “Ladies and Gentlemen . . . The Beatles” is at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center now through May 10. This free exhibit contains memorabilia from The Beatles’ trips to America for concerts from 1964-1966. Among the cool “artifacts” are handwritten set lists for concerts and original concert tickets. I would highly recommend this exhibit which travels to a new city in America every three months. For more information, check out http://www.nypl.org/events/exhibitions/ladies-and-gentlementhe-beatles and http://www.grammymuseum.org/on-display/traveling-exhibits/ladies-and-gentlementhe-beatles

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