My Life (Billy Joel song)

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"My Life"
Single by Billy Joel
from the album 52nd Street
B-side "52nd Street"
Released October 28, 1978
Format 7"
Recorded 1978
Genre Pop rock
Length 4:44 (Album Version)
3:50 (Single Version)
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Billy Joel
Producer(s) Phil Ramone
Certification Platinum (RIAA)
Billy Joel singles chronology
"The Stranger"
"My Life"
"Big Shot"
52nd Street track listing
"My Life"

"My Life" is a song by Billy Joel that first appeared on his 1978 album 52nd Street. A single version was released in the fall of 1978 and reached #2 on the U.S. adult contemporary chart. Early the next year it peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Song information[edit]

The song begins with drums and electric bass, followed by a keyboard riff. 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?]

Chicago members Peter Cetera and Donnie Dacus performed the backing vocals and sang along with Billy Joel during the bridge and in the outro ("Keep it to yourself, it's my life").[citation needed]

"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.

Single and album edits[edit]

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.

Other uses[edit]

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."

Heejun Han performed the song in American Idol Season 11, as a tribute to Billy Joel.

Glee's 2013 tribute episode to Billy Joel entitled "Movin' Out" features a cover version performed by Jake Puckerman (Jacob Artist).

It is heard in a 2014 TV commercial for Merrill Lynch's Merrill Edge online trading service.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1978/1979) Peak
Australian Singles Chart 6
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[1] 11
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[2] 27
Canada (RPM100)[3] 3
French Singles Chart[4] 6
Irish Singles Chart[5] 3
Japan (Oricon) 37
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[6] 2
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[7] 22
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[8] 6
South Africa (RISA)[9] 2
Spanish Singles Chart 13
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[10] 4
UK Singles Chart 12
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 3
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 2
Zimbabwe Singles (ZIMA)[11] 1


Country Certification Date Sales certified
UK[12] Silver 1 February 1979 200,000


  1. ^ " – Billy Joel – My Life" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  2. ^ " – Billy Joel – My Life" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Results for "Billy Joel"". p. 3. Retrieved September 2, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Billy Joel search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
  7. ^ " – Billy Joel – My Life" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  8. ^ " – Billy Joel – My Life". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  9. ^ ""My Life" on the South African Singles Chart". Springbok Radio. January 26, 1979. Retrieved September 25, 2010. 
  10. ^ " – Billy Joel – My Life". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  11. ^ * Zimbabwe. Kimberley, C. Zimbabwe: singles chart book. Harare: C. Kimberley, 2000
  12. ^ UK certifications (Retrieved 2 September 2008)

External links[edit]