Readers' Poll: The Ten Best Billy Joel AlbumsPicks include 'Glass Houses,' 'River of Dreams' and 'Turnstiles'
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8. 'Piano Man'
Few artists have more hits than Billy Joel, but it's his first one that seems to have left the biggest impression with the public. When he plays the opening notes of "Piano Man" at the end of his concerts the place erupts with the loudest cheers of the night. Fans often throw their arms around complete strangers and sing along to every word. No matter what he does with the rest of his life, Joel's nickname will forever be the Piano Man. The song is a highly fictionalized account of Joel's six-month stint at a Los Angeles bar. Oddly enough, it's not even the most important song on the album of the same name. A 1972 live version of "Captain Jack" went into heavy rotation on a Philadelphia radio station, grabbing the attention of Columbia Records. They signed him, forever changing his life. Piano Man wasn't a huge hit album, but when his career took off much later in the decade fans went back and redisovered the disc.