Billy Joel performed with a lucky fan on Wednesday night (December 14th) during his latest "an evening of questions and answers. . . and a little music" lecture at the University of Massachusetts. The Boston Herald reported that Billy, who played the 900-seat Durgin Hall as part of his three lecture stops -- including Cornell University and the University of Connecticut -- took time out to perform "Leningrad" with 22-year-old student, David Schockett, and treated the crowd to a few killer imitations, including Bob Dylan, Elton John, and Ronald Reagan.
In the night's most notable moment, he outed U2 for deceiving fans who believe that the band is creating all the sounds they hear onstage, saying, "Bono's gonna kill me for this. . . " before recalling the tale of attending a U2 gig in New York City and discovering "an additional band of musicians bolstering the sound from beneath the stage."
- He revealed, among other things, that the 1989 ballad "And So It Goes" was written about his failed brief romance with Elle Macpherson just prior to his marriage to Christie Brinkley. He called the tryst a "doomed relationship," explaining, "She was 19, I was 30, she's 6'2" and I'm 5'7. I saw a picture of us walking on the beach and I looked like Bubbles the Chimp."
- He tossed aside one fan's question about him ever considering recording a Christmas album, saying that everybody does it without shame, jokingly adding, "Besides -- I'm a Jew!" He went on to perform a heartfelt version of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," along with such other classics as "An Innocent Man," and "Piano Man," among others.
- Billy Joel told us that it's only recently that popular music has shied away from being melodically-based: "Songwriting really owes a great debt to Schubert, because he developed the song form. And there's a direct line from Schubert to modern songwriters up until recently when the thread was broken. Nowadays, melody is no longer really important. Even people who are not rap recording artists -- even people who are singers, don't really sing melody anymore. People like Mariah Carey or Christina Aguilera -- you can't hear a melody. They're doing vocal acrobatics, but they're not really singing melody."
- Last month Billy Joel released a remastered edition of 1973's Piano Man -- complete with a bonus disc featuring an April 15th, 1972 radio broadcast recorded at Philadelphia's Sigma Sound Studios.
- The concert includes three songs -- "Long, Long Time," "Josephine," and 'Rosalinda," which were never officially released on any of Billy's studio sets.
- The tracklist for The Sigma Sound Studios Performance is: "Introduction," "Falling," "Travelin' Prayer," "The Ballad Of Billy The Kid," "She's Got A Way," "Everybody Loves You Now," "Nocturne," "Turn Around," "Long, Long Time," "Captain Jack," "Josephine," "Rosalinda," and "Tomorrow Is Today."
CHECK IT OUT: Billy performing "Leningrad" with a lucky fan on Wednesday night:
Billy Joel On The Death Of Melody