Billy Joel busts out his best howls and growls for his thunderous cover of Paul McCartney‘s “Maybe I’m Amazed,” which will appear on The Art of Paul McCartney, an upcoming tribute compilation to the legendary songwriter. The Piano Man goes for broke on his performance of the smash hit from McCartney’s 1970 solo debut, McCartney, belting the song’s devotional lyrics with the vigorous bombast of a young man.
Joel brings that same ferocity to his cover of “Live and Let Die,” which he previews in a behind-the-scenes clip, where he also pops a piano string while preparing to record (“It’s an occupational hazard with me,” he cracks) and talks about his relationship with McCartney’s famous James Bond theme.
“Paul stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park,” Joel says. “I love the song; it’s kind of a whacked song. We used to do it at sound check; matter of fact we still do it at sound check. It’s just fun to play because it’s so over-the-top.” (Also be sure not to miss Joel’s fantastic, impromptu rendition of the Goldfinger theme.)
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Joel’s version of “Maybe I’m Amazed” kicks off the massive Art of McCartney compilation, which sees release on November 18th. The rest of the roster is filled out by big names like Bob Dylan (“Things We Said Today”), Brian Wilson (“Wanderlust”), Barry Gibb (“When I’m 64”), B.B. King (“On the Way”), Chrissie Hynde (“Let It Be”), Smokey Robinson (“So Bad”), Heart (“Letting Go”) and many more. McCartney’s own son James appears on the album as well, recording a version of the Beatles‘ “Hello Goodybe” with the Cure, which Rolling Stone exclusively premiered in September.
The Art of McCartney is the brainchild of onetime McCartney producer Ralph Sall, who first dreamt up the project in 2003. After getting the OK from McCartney, Sall set about recording songs with the musician’s backing band, then began to approach other performers to lay down vocals. The compilation will be available in a variety of formats including a 42-track deluxe set with hardbound books, a DVD documentary about the making of the comp and more.