Top Dueling Piano Songs: #1 – “Piano Man” – Billy Joel

Top Dueling Piano Songs: #1 – “Piano Man” – Billy Joel


From the perspective of a Dueling Piano player…

It is nearly impossible to go to a piano bar without hearing Billy Joel’s “Piano Man. As a dueling piano performer, I realize I have probably played “Piano Man” more times that Billy Joel….

I have been performing professionally for 13 years, and average 4 shows per week, with at least one round of Piano Man… ?That’s 200 times a year. Billy Joel doesn’t even tour half that much anymore.

So many times I have gotten a request from audience members who have never seen dueling pianos, come up to me thinking they have really come up with a great idea. I think it’s going to be some advanced classical piece, or even a really fun B-side tune like Elton John’s “Funeral For a Friend” or the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life.” Instead, they “surprise” me with “Piano Man.”

Even Billy Joel says “Piano Man” is not one of his favorite songs. ?He says that as far as a lyric, it’s not that complicated; it’s basically just a limerick, and melodically, it is a waltz, not even a pop tune.

Still, adults from 25 to 75 sing this song in unison across the country at piano bars and dueling piano shows. It is always a hit.

So if you’re at a dueling piano show, you can’t go wrong requesting “Piano Man.” Just don’t be surprised if the piano players don’t play it right away — yours is probably not the first request (even of that particular night) for that song, and if you’re in a bar, they’re probably waiting for a generous tip on top of it.

If you’re at a private event, the players may be waiting for just the right moment (often the end of the show) to play the song and get the entire audience swaying and singing.

Just be sure that whenever you hear Piano Man, you sing all the words nice and loud!

In case you don’t know the words, here they are:

“Piano Man” – Billy Joel
It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday
The regular crowd shuffles in
There’s an old man sitting next to me
Making love to his tonic and gin
He says, “Son can you play me a memory
I’m not really sure how it goes
But it’s sad and it’s sweet
And I knew it complete
When I wore a younger man’s clothes.”
Sing us a song you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feeling alright
Now John at the bar is a friend of mine
He gets me my drinks for free
And he’s quick with a joke or to light up your smoke
But there’s someplace that he’d rather be
He says, “Bill, I believe this is killing me.”
As a smile ran away from his face
“Well, I’m sure that I could be a movie star
If I could get out of this place.”
Now Paul is a real estate novelist
Who never had time for a wife
And he’s talking with Davy, who’s still in the Navy
And probably will be for life
And the waitress is practicing politics
As the businessmen slowly get stoned
Yes they’re sharing a drink they call “Loneliness”
But it’s better than drinking alone
Sing us a song you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feeling alright
It’s a pretty good crowd for a Saturday
And the manager gives me a smile
‘Cause he knows that it’s me they’ve been coming to see
To forget about life for a while
And the piano it sounds like a carnival
And the microphone smells like a beer
And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
And say, “Man, what are you doing here?”
Sing us a song you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feeling alright

–Article written by Randy Keith, #YourPianoman and

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