Billy Joel Favorites: Volume 3 Songbook

The Billy Joel Favorites: Volume 3 collection features ten piano solo arrangements for intermediates and up by Jennifer Eklund. Includes favorites like, "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)," "She's Always a Woman," "Big Shot," and "She's Got a Way."

This post is part four of the Billy Joel Favorites Songbook Series.
Billy Joel Favorites: Volume 3 Songbook

🎹 About Billy Joel

Billy Joel is a renowned American singer-songwriter and pianist who gained immense success and recognition for his versatile musical talents. Born in 1949, Joel’s career spans decades and encompasses various genres, from rock and pop to ballads and even classical compositions. He rose to prominence in the 1970s with hits like “Piano Man,” showcasing his piano skills and distinctive voice. Throughout the 1980s, he produced an array of chart-topping albums and singles, including “Uptown Girl,” “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” and “Tell Her About It.” His ability to craft relatable lyrics and memorable melodies endeared him to audiences around the world.

In addition to his commercial success, Joel’s career is marked by accolades and achievements. He’s won multiple Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. His album “52nd Street” even received the prestigious Grammy for Album of the Year. Beyond his pop hits, Joel’s works have delved into more serious themes, showcasing his songwriting depth. He also achieved remarkable success with his live performances, particularly his historic concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Joel’s enduring influence and legacy as a prolific songwriter, pianist, and performer have solidified his place as an iconic figure in the music industry.

🎶 Billy Joel Favorites: Volume 3 Songbook

The following songs are included in the Billy Joel Favorites: Volume 3 songbook. These are all available as separate singles, but you get the most value by purchasing the whole collection. All of these arrangements are appropriate for intermediates and up.

  1. All About Soul
  2. Big Shot
  3. C’etait Toi (You Were the One)
  4. Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)
  5. Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)
  6. Scandinavian Skies
  7. She’s Always a Woman
  8. She’s Got a Way
  9. Souvenir
  10. Where’s the Orchestra?

🎹 Watch a performance of the entire volume:

Let’s dive deeper with some more details about a few of my personal favorites from Billy Joel Favorites: Volume 3!

“Big Shot” (1979)

The mic is as big as his late 70s hair!

“Billy Joel’s song “Big Shot"" is the opening track from his 1978 album “52nd Street.” Released as a single in early 1979, it became the second hit single from the album, reaching #14 on the US charts.

The song’s lyrics revolve around the protagonist mocking a woman’s intoxicated escapades and social blunders while suffering from a hangover. It references the late 1970s nouveau riche culture and fads, including mentions of Elaine’s restaurant and Halston.

In an interview, Joel mentioned that the song was inspired by someone he was close to and also reflected aspects of himself. Contrary to some rumors, it’s not about a date with Bianca Jagger, although Joel did state that he was thinking of Mick Jagger singing the song to Bianca when writing the lyrics. The official music video features Joel mimicking Mick Jagger’s mannerisms during the second verse.

“All About Soul” (1993)

The 90s, and particularly the “River of Dreams” album are an underrated period of his discography:

Billy Joel’s song “All About Soul"" is a track from his 1993 album “River of Dreams.” Released as the third single from the album, it features backing vocals by Color Me Badd and was produced by Danny Kortchmar and Joe Nicolo. The song reached No. 29 on the US charts and No. 32 in the UK, marking one of his final top-40 singles in both countries. An unfinished demo version of the song titled “Motorcycle Song” can be found on the compilation box set “My Lives.” The song showcases Joel’s introspective lyrics and musical style, focusing on themes of love and deep connections beyond appearances.

“She’s Always a Woman to Me” (1978)

A live performance from “Billy Joel Tonight” in 1976 at the University of Connecticut:

Billy Joel’s song “She’s Always a Woman"" is from his 1977 album “The Stranger.” It’s a love song that portrays the singer’s deep affection for a woman, embracing both her endearing qualities and her flaws. Released as a single in 1978, it reached No. 17 on the US charts and No. 53 in the UK when released as a double A-side with “Just the Way You Are.” The song re-entered the UK chart in 2010, reaching No. 29. It’s played in a compound time signature of 6/8.

The song was inspired by Joel’s then-wife, Elizabeth Weber, who had taken over his career management and helped him with his financial matters. The composition features fingerpicked arpeggiated triads, creating a folk-influenced acoustic sound. Joel intentionally kept the production minimal to highlight the song’s purity as a folk tune.

The song’s verses and choruses alternate between major and minor keys to add depth to the melody. Despite being a love ballad, the lyrics showcase both admiration and an understanding of the subject’s complexities.

Reception from critics praised its melody, subtle orchestration, and sophisticated writing, likening it to the works of other notable songwriters like Bob Dylan and Paul Simon.

“Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel” (1994)

Grab the tissue:

“Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)” is the seventh track from Billy Joel’s 1993 album “River of Dreams.” It was also released in 1994 as the fourth and final single for the album. The song was written for Joel’s daughter, Alexa Ray Joel, with Christie Brinkley. The song is in the key of G major.

Initially conceived as an interlude for the song “The River of Dreams,” in the style of a monophonic Gregorian chant, the song’s lyrics were originally written in English and then translated into Latin. However, Joel changed his mind and incorporated it into “River of Dreams.” Later, he decided to give it its own identity as “Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)” and wrote lyrics that reflected his feelings for his young daughter. The song’s alternate version, combining “Lullabye” with “River of Dreams,” can be found on the box set “My Lives” and on “An Evening of Questions and Answers… & a Little Music.”

In 2004, Joel collaborated with Scholastic, a US publisher, to create a children’s book titled “Goodnight, My Angel (A Lullabye),” based on the song’s lyrics. The book aimed to reassure children that they are not alone or abandoned, focusing on their well-being.

The song received positive reviews for its sweet and tender nature. A critic described it as a touching ballad that would resonate with listeners and touch their hearts. “Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)” captures the sentiment of a parent’s love and care for their child in a heartfelt and emotional manner.

🤔 Looking for more Billy Joel Songbooks? We’ve got you covered!

👋 Do you have a favorite Billy Joel tune? We’d love to hear about it!

Jennifer Eklund
Written by Jennifer Eklund
Jennifer Eklund holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music from California State University, Long Beach. She is an avid arranger, composer, and author of the Piano Pronto® method books series as well as a wide variety of supplemental songbooks. She is also a Signature Artist with with a large catalog of popular music titles for musicians of all levels.


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