This morning I was greeted by the sounds of Billie Joel’s well loved “I Am an Innocent Man” stuck on repeat in my head. Billy Joel is so much more than just a piano man – pun intended – he’s a sociologist, a balladeer, and an historian. His music covers a slew of social issues far bigger than the artist, including topics such as the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the struggle of American steel workers and North Atlantic fishermen to make ends meet, and the effects of mass media on popular culture.
Frequently his music is relegated to stations that play predominantly the adult contemporary genre, because, let’s face it, he’s the king of the pop love ballad. Despite being viewed as a drunkard and an egoist by many reviewers of his music, the songs that have stuck it out and are still being played with regularity today were, at their time, strong social commentaries.
If you’d like more reading on the topic, more can be found in the doctoral thesis of Dr. A. Morgan Jones – “The Other Sides of Billy Joel: Six Case Studies Revealing the Sociologist, the Balladeer, and the Historian”.
But for those of you who just wanna hear the song, without further ado:
An Innocent Man
Joel, Billy. “Billy Joel – An Innocent Man (Audio).” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 25 July 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xci1a3yE0PM.
Jones, A. Morgan, “The Other Sides of Billy Joel: Six Case Studies Revealing the Sociologist, the Balladeer, and the Historian” (2011). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. Paper 300. http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/etd/300.