Billy Joel always said he wanted just to be a songwriter. Of course, we all know the story. He became much more than just a songwriter as we all watched him become one of the biggest musical acts in the world. However, the core of his craft is indeed fueled by the songwriter inside him. He became what he always wanted to become while celebrating great success as one of the biggest selling musical artists of all time. Even after not having released a new album of pop songs in forty years, other musical artists still cover the man’s music constantly. That’s why they call certain songs standards. Billy Joel has written plenty of them. This article presents a list of ten Billy Joel songs covered by other artists that we think deserve a listen.
# 10 – Big Shot – Saigon Kick
We open up Our 10 Favorite Covers Of Billy Joel Songs list with Saigon Kick’s version of Billy Joel’s “Big Shot.” There is nothing like a metal version of a Billy Joel song. Saigon Kick throws its metal power at the song while adding a bit of the punk influence prevalent in the late 1970s. Saigon Kick released the song on their third studio album, “Water,” released in 1993. The album as a whole was produced by Jason Bieler, who is also the band’s guitarist and one of its founding members. In terms of musicians, the album features Jason Bieler on guitar and vocals, Phil Varone on drums, and Chris McLernon on bass. Billy Joel’s original song “Big Shot” was released on his album 52nd Street. The album was released in 1978 and produced by Phil Ramone.
# 9 – Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel) – Celine Dion
Continuing with Our 10 Favorite Covers Of Billy Joel Songs list, we listen to the breathtaking song entitled “Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel).” This beautiful song is one of Billy Joel’s most covered songs. There were many versions of this song that we have heard that we really enjoyed. However, it’s hard to match up to a voice like Celine Dion. Her version was released on the album Loved Me Back to Life. The song was produced by Babyface. Billy Joel released his original version on the final pop album of his career called River Of Dreams. That album was released in 1993.
# 8 – She’s Always a Woman – Venice
Venice has always been one of my favorite bands. It’s a shame they have never gotten the recognition on a national basis that they deserve. If you are from California, you probably know them well. Their sound falls somewhere between America and the Eagles. Their harmonies are out of this world gorgeous. If you dont know this band, you need to check them out. This version is fueled by only an acoustic guitar and their wonderful harmonies. That’s all they needed to make this one work beautifully.
# 7 – Your My Home – Helen Reddy
Helen Reddy jumped on this song only about a year after it had come out. At the time, I think it’s fair to say that Helen Reddy was a bigger star in 1974 than Billy Joel was. She had many hits in the early 70s, like “Angie Baby,” “You and Me Against The World” and many others. Her version of this song is just stunning.
# 6 – And So It Goes – Renato Russo
This is one of Billy Joel’s most haunting songs. There are so many cover versions of this song. We listened to a lot of them, but this one seemed to really capture the spirit of the song’s meaning. Renato Russo was originally from Brazil but moved to Queens, New York, just like the rest of the world has pretty much done over the past fifty years.
# 5 – Rosalinda’s Eyes – John Pizzarelli
One thing starts to become clear at the halfway point on Our 10 Favorite Covers Of Billy Joel Songs list. It’s the jazz artists who love covering Billy Joel songs. We almost changed the name of the article to Best Billy Joel covers by jazz artists, but bands like Saigon Kick and Fall Out Boy prevented us from doing that. John Pizzarelli’s distinctive voice and guitar playing nails this perfectly.
# 4 – Root Beer Rag – Andre Kostelanetz
At the heart of much of Billy Joel’s early music was the influence of the Western. If you grew up in the 1960s, you can remember all the Western movies and TV shows that surrounded your daily life. There were also a lot of albums done by classical composers and arrangers that took famous television and movie themes and produced classic orchestrated versions of the songs. Many of them were often a but cheezy. However, hearing what Andre Kostelanest did with Billy Joel’s “Root Beer Rag” is interesting. It’s worth the price of admission.
# 3 – We Didn’t Start the Fire – Fall Out Boy
Fall Out Boy’s cover of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire” is more of a remake than a cover version. While the band stays true to the song’s chord changes, melody, and chorus, they completely rewrote the verses to bring the song’s meaning to the 2020s. It’s almost surprising that Billy Joel has never thought of doing this, but then again, the man doesn’t really write songs anymore, or at least songs he wants us to hear as he usually states. Fall Out Boy delivers a spirited version with clever lyrics that makes this a joy to listen to.
# 2 – New York State of Mind – Tony Bennet
If you ask any songwriter from the past 60 to 70 years who they would most cherish to cover one of their songs, the answer would probably be either Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett. Billy Joel once said that he wrote “New York State of Mind” for Frank Sinatra. However, many years later, it was recorded by Frank Sinatra’s favorite singer Tony Bennett. This version is actually a duet between Billy Joel and Tony Bennett. One can only get chills when they hear Tony begin the song’s second verse. This song was made for someone like Tony Bennett. It’s one of Billy Joel’s most beautiful and incredibly well-written songs. As a New Yorker, it makes me extra proud to hear this one.
# 1 – Just the Way You Are – Frank Sinatra
About five years after Billy Joel wrote “New York State of Mind,” with Frank Sinatra in mind, The Piano Man finally got his wish when Old Blue Eyes recorded “Just the Way You Are.” Of course, Sinatra put his own spin on a tune, turning the ballot into a swing tune like only Frank Sinatra could. Frank Sinatra even changed the lyrics at times, singing “any way you are,” instead of Just The Way You Are, but who’s going to argue with Frank Sinatra? The song was produced by Sonny Burke and released on the album Trilogy: Past, Present & Future.
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