The song begins with drums and electric bass, followed by a keyboardriff. The riff is also used as a fill between verse and chorus sections and is also played at the end. The section order is intro-verse-fill-chorus-bridge-v-f-c-b-solo-c-outro.[original research?]
"My Life" was used as the theme song for the ABC television series Bosom Buddies (1980–82), albeit in a re-recorded version with a different vocalist. However, due to licensing issues it does not appear on the VHS and DVD releases of the series, nor is it used in the show's syndicated airings; in both cases, it is replaced by a vocal version of the show's closing instrumental theme, "Shake Me Loose", sung by Stephanie Mills, who, like Joel, also originated from New York City.
The differences between the single and album versions are the following:
The intro and the interlude that follows are abridged.
The interludes between the verses and refrains are cut in half.
The instrumental break that follows the second bridge is deleted, which was done by a very crude razor blade splice, such that drummer Liberty DeVitto's cymbal crash appears to be audibly severed.
A portion of the lyrics were used in A's track "Number One" from their debut album How Ace Are Buildings, earning Joel a writing credit. The lyrics borrowed are:
"Got a call from an old friend, used to be real close
Said he couldn't go on the American way
Sold his house, sold his car
Bought a ticket to the West Coast
Now he gives 'em a stand-up routine in L.A."