It's Still Rock and Roll to Me
|"It's Still Rock and Roll to Me"|
|Single by Billy Joel|
|from the album Glass Houses|
|B-side||"Through the Long Night"|
|Released||May 12, 1980|
|Billy Joel singles chronology|
"It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" is a hit 1980 song performed by Billy Joel, from the hit album Glass Houses. The song was number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts for two weeks, from July 19 through August 1, 1980. The song spent 11 weeks in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 and was the 7th biggest hit of 1980 according to American Top 40. The song is an examination of the themes of a musician's declining fame and changing public tastes that were expressed in his 1975 hit "The Entertainer".
The song is a cynical look at the music industry as a publicist/manager begs the protagonist to remain hip for the younger crowd ("What's the matter with the car I'm driving?" / "Can't you tell that it's out of style?"), and the protagonist's refusal to change, claiming his music will remain relevant regardless of his appearance. The song was a reaction by Joel to the new music genres that were around in the late 1970s (punk, funk, new wave). It was inspired by Joel reading a review about a particular (unnamed) band, and realizing that he had no idea what their music sounded like. The song also includes the line "Alright Rico!" to kick off the saxophone solo performed by Richie Cannata.
The music video for the song depicted Joel mixing elements of new wave, punk, and funk as he records a music video. The video version differs from the album version in that Joel performs the main vocal live to the prerecorded album track.
- Billy Joel - vocals, piano and electric piano
- Dave Brown - electric guitar
- Richie Cannata - saxophone solo
- Liberty DeVitto - drums and percussion
- Russell Javors - electric guitar
- Doug Stegmeyer - bass guitar
In popular culture
Pop rock musician Drake Bell covered the song in 2014 on his rockabilly album Ready Steady Go!. Kid Rock covered it as a demo in 1992 but rewrote the lyrics and changed the title to "It's Still East Detroit To Me" as a hardcore punk song. "Weird Al" Yankovic recorded a parody of the song called "It's Still Billy Joel to Me"; it was never released officially, although he did play it live in the early 1980s. Rap metal band Hed PE quoted the chorus in the 2000 song "Crazy Legs" but changed some of the words to "Everybody's talking about that new sound crazy but it's still hip hop to me"
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