The Entertainer (song)

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Not to be confused with The Entertainer (rag).
"The Entertainer"
Single by Billy Joel
from the album Streetlife Serenade
B-side "The Mexican Connection"
Released November 1974
Format 7"
Recorded Devonshire Sound, Hollywood, California
Genre Soft rock, folk rock
Length 3:41
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Billy Joel
Producer(s) Phil Ramone
Billy Joel singles chronology
"The Ballad of Billy the Kid"
(1974)
"The Entertainer"
(1974)
"Just the Way You Are"
(1977)

"The Entertainer" is a single by singer Billy Joel released as the only single from his 1974 album Streetlife Serenade. The song peaked at #34 on the US charts, a Top 40 hit for Joel that year.[1] The song is a cynical and somewhat satirical look at the fleeting fame of a musician and fickle public tastes ("Today I am your champion. / I may have won your hearts. / But I know the game. / You'll forget my name. / And I won't be here / in another year / if I don't stay on the charts."); this theme would be examined in the later song "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me". Another verse in the song references the shortening of Joel's song, "Piano Man", from 5 minutes and 38 seconds to 3 minutes and 5 seconds to fit a radio slot, referenced by the lyrics "It was a beautiful song, / but it ran too long. / If you're gonna have a hit, you gotta make it fit. / So they cut it down to 3:05." Additionally, the timing printed on the label of the 7" release of "The Entertainer" was 3:05, although the actual 45 length was 3:11 (while the album length was 3:41). In the single version, Verse 3 (which starts at 1:02 in the album version) is edited out, and Verse 2 (which starts at 0:40) contains a steel guitar in its second half, which is actually featured in the second half of the third verse in the album version; indeed, on the single mix, the instrumental crescendo of the album version is anticipated by bringing the fuller instrumentation of Verse 3 under the vocals of Verse 2. As a result of this, the slightly emptier original instrumentation of Verse 2 (which includes a downward slide on the synth) and the vocals of Verse 3 are completely omitted, while the instrumentation of Verse 3 (featuring the steel guitar) does appear, but earlier.

On some of the singles released for "The Entertainer" the song was b-sided with "The Mexican Connection".

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1974) Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart 89
Canadian Singles Chart[2] 30
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 34
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 30

References[edit]