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Song Stories

“Piano Man”

Billy Joel | 1973

Billy Joel’s first hit, “Piano Man,” was – ironically – an autobiographical lament about how his first album wasn’t a hit. When Cold Spring Harbor didn’t take off, Joel briefly became a lounge pianist in Los Angeles, and this song, about that experience, expressed his frustrations and fears at the time: “And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar/And say, ‘Man, what are you doing here?’” “It was all right,” Joel said later, about the gig. “I got free drinks and union scale, which was the first steady money I’d made in a long time.”

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Song Stories

“Hungry Like the Wolf”

Duran Duran | 1982

This indulgent New Romantic group generated their first U.S. hit with the help of what was at the time new technology. "Simon [Le Bon] and I, I think, had been out the night before and had this terrible hangover," said keyboardist Nick Rhodes. "For some reason we were feeling guilty about it and decided to go and do some work." Rhodes started playing with his Jupiter-8 synth, and then "Simon had an idea for a lyric, and by lunchtime when everyone else turned up, we pretty much had the song." The Simmons drumbeat was equally important to the sound of "Hungry Like the Wolf," as Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor stated it "kind of defined the drum sound for the Eighties."

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