March 01, 2017

The Piano Man and the Little Bastard

"Come on, baby, make it hurts so good"

I've been a John Mellencamp fan long enough to remember when they called him John Cougar. I first became a JM fan when I heard the song "Hurts So Good" after it had been a hit for several months. I was 10 or so. At the time I was also a fan of Billy Joel. These two recording artists entered my life at a young age — and I've stuck with them through all of these years.
Photo borrowed from MTV.COM. 

As has been written ad nauseam, Billy Joel hasn't recorded a new pop/rock album since 1993's RIVER OF DREAMS. You could tell by the lyrics and music on that LP that something was amiss in Joel's life and times. He concluded the recording with "Famous Last Words," which is actually quite a good tune. You didn't really wonder then, though, that those might actually be … famous last words. Joel has proven the rumor true, however, that artists make their cash from touring. Amazingly, it's been almost 25 years since he released a new disk, and he still sells out Madison Square Garden in New York City EVERY SINGLE MONTH.

It would be a dream come true if Billy would get the boys from the original band together again and record a new album, something along the lines of RETURN TO 52ND STREET. The album wouldn't even have to sound anything like that classic '78 platter ‚ except the musicians would be the same. It would be one of the best sellers in history. 25 years without a new album and suddenly get back with the Lords of 52nd Street and put out a new platter — a rocker if there ever was one! Even if Billy makes a ton from touring, he'd never have to tour again after releasing this "comeback" album with the boys in the original band, the follow-up tour, and the live album that would be released after every single show on the tour.

Similarly, if Mellencamp would get the rest of the original band back together (he still tours with a couple of the guys) and put out a monster LP called COUGAR or something crazy like that, he'd never have to work again. His rock band in the '80s might have been the best band going at the time. If not his, then Billy's original band that began to fade about 1986 or so, had to be. John Mellencamp had a celebrated falling out with his band after he game them each A MILLION DOLLARS. One of his band members was allegedly offended and said something to the extent of, "that's all!" The boys in the band kind of went their own way afterward.

Amazingly, both Joel and Mellencamp had incredible drummers who set the pace for their music. Joel had the incredible Liberty Devitto and Mellencamp had the phenomenal Kenny Aranoff. I always bought both artists LPs the day they arrived in stores — and still do. Well, not Joel, I suppose (but I would). As you can still tell, I love me some nostalgia. In all reality, these artists are not going to get back together with anyone. They love their craft and enjoy the work. JM has a new album coming out called SAD CLOWNS & HILLBILLIES and the songs that have been released already sound pretty good.

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