Billy Joel - It's Still Rock and Roll to Me

Billy Joel - It's Still Rock and Roll to Me

‘It's Still Rock and Roll to Me’ is a song written and performed by Billy Joel, from the hit album Glass Houses. Released in 1980, the song peaked at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks, from July 19 through August 1, 1980. The song spent 11 weeks in the top 10 and was the 7th biggest hit of 1980 according to American Top 40. The single eventually reached platinum status from the RIAA for sales of over 1 million copies in the United States.

The song conveys Joel's criticisms of the music industry and press, commenting on new musical styles of the time such as new wave being mere rehashes of older musical styles. It also addresses changing trends and attitudes of the era. Joel wrote the song in response to critics who often described his music as adult contemporary, middle-of-the-road pop. He felt that new styles of music were not unlike older styles of music (regardless of marketing). He especially viewed new wave as akin to older genres such as power pop and rock and roll, commenting in an interview with Rolling Stone that "new wave songs, it seems, can only be about two and a half minutes long... only a certain number of instruments can be played on the record - usually a very few... only a certain amount of production is allowed or can be heard... the sound has to be limited to what you can hear in a garage... a return to that sound is all that’s going on now."

In a review made a week later after single release, Billboard editors noticed the laconicism of backing support and Joel's vocal that made the song sparkling. Tom Breihan of Stereogum, in a retrospective review, was mixed, referring to it as "a sharp, well-written song" but commenting that it "never takes off". Cash Box said that Joel "throws a few slyly humorous the present new wave fad" and that the song includes "a torrid sax break." Record World said that "Joel surveys the current rock scene with sharp vocal phrasing & a pulsating rhythm, driving home his pointed lyrical observations."

"Sometimes the press gave me a hard time, and liked giving them a hard time back," Joel told Howard Stern in 2014. "In my neighborhood, somebody hits you, you hit them right back." "Miracle Mile," as mentioned in the line "Should I get a set of white wall tires? Are you gonna cruise a miracle mile?" is a stretch of road (about a mile long) full of various stores in Manhasset, Long Island near where Joel grew up.

Label – Columbia
Songwriter – Billy Joel
Producer – Phil Ramone


[Verse 1]
What's the matter with the clothes I'm wearing?
Can't you tell that your tie's too wide?
Maybe I should buy some old tab collars?
Welcome back to the age of jive
Where have you been hidin' out lately, honey?
You can't dress trashy 'til you spend a lot of money
Everybody's talkin' 'bout the new sound
Funny, but it's still rock and roll to me
[Verse 2]
What's the matter with the car I'm driving?
Can't you tell that it's out of style?
Should I get a set of whitewall tires?
Are you gonna cruise the miracle mile?
Nowadays you can't be too sentimental
Your best bet's a true baby blue Continental
Hot funk, cool punk, even if it's old junk
It's still rock and roll to me
Oh, it doesn't matter what they say in the papers
Cause it's always been the same old scene
There's a new band in town but you can't get the sound
From a story in a magazine
Aimed at your average teen
[Verse 3]
How about a pair of pink sidewinders
And a bright orange pair of pants?
You could really be a Beau Brummel baby
If you just give it half a chance
Don't waste your money on a new set of speakers
You get more mileage from a cheap pair of sneakers
Next phase, new wave, dance craze, anyways
It's still rock and roll to me
Alright Richie!
[Saxophone Solo]
[Verse 4]
What's the matter with the crowd I'm seeing?
Don't you know that they're out of touch?
Should I try to be a straight 'A' student?
If you are then you think too much
Don't you know about the new fashion, honey?
All you need are looks and a whole lotta money
It's the next phase, new wave
Dance craze, anyways
It's still rock and roll to me
Everybody's talkin' 'bout the new sound
Funny, but it's still rock and roll to me
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