My Life (Billy Joel song)

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"My Life"
My Life - Billy Joel.jpg
Artwork for Dutch, French, and German vinyl releases
Single by Billy Joel
from the album 52nd Street
B-side"52nd Street"
ReleasedOctober 28, 1978
GenrePop rock
Length4:44 (Album Version)
3:50 (Single Version)
Songwriter(s)Billy Joel
Producer(s)Phil Ramone
Billy Joel singles chronology
"The Stranger"
"My Life"
"Big Shot"

"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.

Musical structure[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.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

A re-recorded version with Gary Bennett as the vocalist and Mike Lucas on piano was used as the theme song for the opening credits of the 1980-1982 sitcom Bosom Buddies.

A portion of the lyrics were used in A's track "Number One" from their 1997 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 in 2012, 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.



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


  1. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  2. ^ " – Billy Joel – My Life" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  3. ^ " – Billy Joel – My Life" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
  4. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0091a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  5. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". 1979-01-20. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  6. ^ " – Billy Joel – My Life" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  7. ^ "Results for "Billy Joel"". p. 3. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  8. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Billy Joel" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
  9. ^ " – Billy Joel – My Life" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  10. ^ " – Billy Joel – My Life". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  11. ^ ""My Life" on the South African Singles Chart". Springbok Radio. January 26, 1979. Retrieved September 25, 2010.
  12. ^ " – Billy Joel – My Life" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  13. ^ " – Billy Joel – My Life". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  14. ^ "Billy Joel: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  15. ^ "Billy Joel Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  16. ^ "Billy Joel Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  17. ^ * Zimbabwe. Kimberley, C. Zimbabwe: singles chart book. Harare: C. Kimberley, 2000
  18. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  19. ^ "Australian Chart Book". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  20. ^ "1979 Top 200 Singles". RPM. Vol. 32 no. 13. Library and Archives Canada. December 22, 1979. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  21. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1979". Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  22. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1979/Top 100 Songs of 1979". Retrieved 2016-10-13.

External links[edit]