Sunday, March 25, 2012

guitar vs. piano

A while ago I posted something about songwriting lessons I have learned. I made a point about soft rhymes -- the fact that rhymes in lyrics don't have to always exactly rhyme. In doing so I used the Billy Joel song, "You May Be Right" as an illustrative example, and included the video. I mentioned the post to a coworker who is a big Billy Joel fan.

I was surprised by his reaction to it. He noted that "You May Be Right" is not one of his favorite Billy Joel songs (this surprised me because it is one of mine). And he particularly didn't care for the video, in which Joel is standing, and singing into the microphone instead of sitting at a piano. I din't remember his exact words, but it was something to the point that the video showed Joel doing a Mick Jagger impression, and he prefers Billy Joel, the piano man. That, by the way, meshes nicely with my colleague's interest in Elton John as well. He likes piano-based rock and roll. I note for the record that I don't know if his preference explains his liking of Billy Joel and Elton John, or if it is a result of his exposure to Joel and John and forming his taste around them.

As my taste goes, piano is fine and all, but I really prefer the guitar as the driving instrument in rock. That goes for early rock -- I've always preferred Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins over Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. And in the realm of the more modern, my favorite performers and bands have sounds that are built around guitars.. All guitar based. And even with Billy Joel, who is a pianist, I prefer the tracks where the piano is downplayed -- "You May Be Right" (as noted above), and "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me."

Just for the hell of it, here are a couple of videos.
"Heat Treatment" by Graham Parker and the Rumour
"Semaphore Signals" by Wreckless Eric
''נתתי לה חיי'' by כוורת

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