There’s something truly timeless about this tune. The vocals are incredible catchy, the keyboard riff is unbeatable, the rhythm section is tight and powerful.
The whole thing throbs with energy and glides along with an effortless cool, aided by a piano vamp and lowkey guitar strum, resulting in a rich soundscape.
The song is about living life your own way without being judged, and to be proud of yourself. People will never be totally satisfied with the way you live, and trying to please everybody else will make you unhappy.
That mentality is perhaps summed up by the backing vocals at the end, which say “keep it to yourself, it’s my life”.
Billy Joel tried to make his album feel fresh by getting in a load of Jazz musicians, and there’s an undeniable swing in the songs character.
The song was released on his hit 52nd Street album, released in 1978. “”52nd Street” is a street in New York famous for Jazz, which was where both Joel’s label and recording studio were based at the time.
A powerful track!