Monday, November 23, 2020

Musical Monday - Tell Her About It by Billy Joel

#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: The week of September 24, 1983.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

In 1983, Billy Joel more or less took his career on a left turn, releasing the album An Innocent Man, which was a collection of music inspired by and paying tribute to the do-wop style of music of the late 1950s and early 1960s, a time frame that coincided with Joel's own teenage years. This video for Tell Her About It drives home the homage, imagining a 1963 appearance on the iconic Ed Sullivan Show. The video says that the appearance was supposedly on July 31, but that day in 1963 was a Wednesday, not a Sunday, so it could not actually have happened.

I think it is not an accident that the video chose a date in the summer of 1963 as the time for the fictitious Ed Sullivan appearance. This was, essentially, the closing phase of the dominance of do-wop music in American pop culture. Within the next six months, Beatlemania would sweep the country, pushing do-wop music out of the limelight. In February 1964, the Beatles would appear on the Ed Sullivan Show, marking a clear end to one era of music and the beginning of another.

This is not to say that Joel didn't appreciate the Beatles. I have seen interviews in which he talks about how much he loved the Beatles and how much they influenced his own music. They did, however, fundamentally change music and push aside a lot of the kind of music that Joel remembered fondly from his early teenage years. I suppose, by putting out this album and this video, Joel tried to rectify that by just a little bit.

Previous Musical Monday: Puttin' On the Ritz by Taco
Subsequent Musical Monday: Karma Chameleon by Culture Club

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Maniac by Michael Sembello
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Total Eclipse of the Hart by Bonnie Tyler

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

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