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Jewish Conversion: The Billy Joel Experiment

Part IV: The Grand Audio Finale!

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Last week, I wrote about the seemingly impossible task of converting my officemate Liel Leibovitz to the church of Billy Joel. It was a long, arduous, emotional journey of music and acrimony.

Picking some of Joel’s lesser-known songs, I hoped in earnest to sway Liel, but after his first dissection of the Joel song ‘Rosalinda’s Eyes,’ which Liel absolutely abhorred, I lowered my expectations and just hoped for proof that Liel had a soul.

After both ‘Los Angelenos‘ and ‘Until The Night‘ failed to warm his heart, we decided to go audio for our final round.

In our talk, I give Liel one last shot, throwing teenage love, the kitchen sink of nostalgia, and Joel’s sappiest song at him as we each make our final cases. Check it out below.

Many thanks to Julie Subrin, our executive producer for audio, who did a masterful job of putting this together on the fly, Morton Landowne for surrendering his office space, and Liel Leibovitz for submitting himself to the Billy Joel Experiment.

Earlier: Part I: ‘Rosalinda’s Eyes’
Part II: ‘Los Angelenos’
Part III: ‘Until The Night’

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Is this Chandler’s ironic attempt to sack Billy Joel’s music, through selecting terrible examples for Leibovitz to eviscerate? Why not Summer Highland Falls, Miami 2017, Baby Grand, or any number of superior songs not labeled as “hits”?

“I also do believe in the artist’s obligation to attempt and serve some sort of, or excavate some sort of meaning, some sort of truth, and I have never felt an ounce of fucking truth in anything that man ever did.” Awesome.

Bollocks.
Mr. Leibovitz is excrutiatingly insincere about his “open mind”.
He accuses a beloved songwriter of hating the world and himself while professing his own venomous hatred of a man he doesn’t even know.

And It is disappointing that you feel the need to denigrate so many of Mr. Joel’s songs in order to find a mutual starting point on this topic with Mr. Leibovitz.
You don’t need to apologize for your own subjectivity. Your initial instincts were true.
There is much irony, regret, passion and humor in Joel’s work – and love.
But I hear no hatred. That is in the warped mind of your colleague.
What a hypocrite.

I guess that I don’t understand what conversion to Judaism and Billy Joel’s music have to do with each other in the first place and the purpose of this 4-part article. Seems like a lot of energy for little to no reward on a very subjective topic: personal tastes in music.

Curious says:

I LOVE Billy Joel. But he is bloated, and I think maybe drunk at the 121212 concert.

Curious says:

“Affected way of singing”? Coming from a guy with an affected way of talking!

ada.allison1@gmail.com says:

My partner and I are both Jews, both born in the ’70s, both from Queens/Long Island and yes, both Billy Joel fans! But neither of were sure whether or not Joel was actually Jewish! Why, we wondered? Did everyone else know this? I sort of always thought he was Italian.

kurtsteinbach says:

I am a Billy Joel fan and have been all of my life. He is Jewish and has been all of his life. Yes, he does have Jewish-Italian roots, so did Primo Levi. Mussolini did not turn Italian-Jews over to the Nazi, nor did he ever all the Nazis to mistreat them and he ignored the Nuremberg Laws against the Jewish people. Mussolini has often been accused of being a Judeophile. He, like so many Italians of his time believed them to be Italians. The Nazi mass roundup of Italian Jews did not start until after Mussolini was deposed from power and executed publically. Mussolini may have been an Nazi ally, but he was no antisemite. He did not see Jews so much as he saw Italians with a long history of Italian loyalty. Bill Joel is a great singer and songwriter. Miami 2017 (Lights Go out on Broadway) was panned until late last year when the lights literally went out on Broadway, and still are out. I love Billy’s music. Use his hits to convert others, not his lesser known stuff. Billy Joel haters are trolls and trollups who have their heads up their butts. They wouldn’t know talent if Motzart stood in front of them!

sheltiemom2007 says:

I am Jewish and have always loved Billy Joel’s music. Somehow I missed the part that he too was Jewish. It makes me smile to know that.

nickmeister says:

Why Jews need to constantly draw global attention to their unimportant group of 12 million religious zealots is disturbing. Is it really a mystery to you why most societies throughout history have exhibited prejudicial dislike against your race? Get over yourselves, you’re just not that important despite what you believe your invisible and non-existent deity told you in your silly book. #moveonalready

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Jewish Conversion: The Billy Joel Experiment

Part IV: The Grand Audio Finale!

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