Billy Joel Frequently Asked Questions

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Michael Steele

Jul 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/21/98
Archive-name: music/billy-joel-faq
Posting-Frequency: biweekly
Last-modified: 8 Nov 1997

This is the Frequently Asked Questions List (FAQ) for the Usenet
Newsgroup This list was last updated 11/8/97.
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I. History of Billy Joel
1. What's he up to lately?
2. Fact Sheet
3. History of Early Years
4. Awards

II. Discography (arranged by year)
1. The Hassles
2. Attila
3. Billy Joel (solo career)
4. Singles
5. Videotapes
6. Other Stuff

III. History of the Band
1. Timeline of Band Members

IV. Billy Joel Resources
1. Books
2. Magazine Articles
3. Sheet Music
4. Net Resources
a. FTP Sites
b. WWW Sites
c. Mailing List --
5. Fan Clubs

V. Origins/Meanings of Songs, plus other Miscellaneous Questions
1. Captain Jack
2. Rosalinda's Eyes
3. Downeaster Alexa
4. The Bridge
5. Vienna
6. Big Shot
7. Root Beer Rag (newsletter)
8. Covers of Billy's Songs by Other Artists
9. "Souvenir" Album
10. Unreleased Songs
12. "An Innocent Man" Track Listing Discrepancy
13. Scandinavian Skies
14. Only the Good Die Young
15. Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
16. This Night
17. Lullabye
18. Root Beer Rag (the song)
19. Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)


1. What's he up to lately?
Billy's Greatest Hits Volume III was released in August. The album
includes a newly recorded cover of Bob Dylan's "To Make You Feel My
Love", which was also the first single. Billy is currently in the
middle of a solo tour, which will continue around the world until
at least the end of June, 1998. See for
up to date concert listings.

2. Fact Sheet
[Info is from 1994 edition of Who's Who in America]
Real Name: William Martin Joel
Birthday: May 9, 1949 (in the Bronx, NY)
Married To: Elizabeth Small (m. 1973, divorced 1982)
Christie Brinkley (m. March 23, 1985,
divorced Aug 25, 1994)
Children: Alexa Ray Joel (b. December 29, 1985)
Address: Maritime Music
280 Elm Street
Southampton, NY 11968

3. A Biography of Billy Joel's Early Years
[editor's note: Since I didn't write the following, I don't want
to change the body of the text. To clear up a lot of confusion,
Billy Joel was born in The Bronx, NY. He grew up in Levittown, NY,
and went to high school in the neighboring town of Hicksville, NY.]

Billy Joel
Before the Piano Man
A look into Billy Joel's early recordings
by Paul Maclauchlan (
Copyright 1991 by Paul Maclauchlan

William Joseph Martin (Billy) Joel, born May 9, 1949, in Levittown
Long Island, New York. He began piano lessons at age 4. As a young
teenager, Joel discovered the joys of reading books and decided to
become a history teacher. Billy divided his time between music,
street gangs and boxing. After 22 bouts he gave up the ring for
piano. "...when I came to a difficult passage I'd start knuckling
the keyboards." "I idolized The Beatles, especially Paul - nobody
could come up with the melodies he could".

His first band was a four piece beat band called "The Echoes". The
Echoes played cover versions of popular hits, including songs by The
Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Zombies and, of course, The Beatles.
In late 1964, Billy was pressed into service by producer Shadow
Morton, who was recording The Shangri-Las in a Levittown basement
studio. Billy played on "Leader Of The Pack", but was never paid,
since he wasn't a union member.

The Echoes became "The Lost Souls" in 1965 and "The Emerald Lords" in
1966. Billy and Emerald Lords bassist Howard Blauvelt left the
Emerald Lords to join "The Hassles" in 1967. The Hassles were signed
to United Artists (UA) Records in 1968. The Hassles featured: John
Dizek (vocals), Billy Joel (Keyboards), Jon Small (drums), Howie
Blauvelt (bass) and Richard McKenner (guitar). He occasionally billed
himself as: Billy Joe Joel!

The Hassles self-titled debut album contained original songs (by W.
Joel) and covers. Produced by Tony Michael and Vinnie Gorman.
United Artists 6631. [see discography below for track listings]
Two singles from the album flopped: Every Step I Take, Every Move I
Make b/w I Hear Voices and You've Got Me Hummin' b/w I'm Thinking.

Later the same year, 1968, The Hassles recorded and released their
second, and final, album: Hour Of The Wolf. Produced by Thomas Kay.
United Artists 6699. This album's songs were all originals by the
band. [see discography below for track listings] Singles from the
album were: 4 O'Clock In The Morning b/w Let Me Bring You To The
Sunshine and Night After Day b/w Country Boy.

The album was followed by a non-LP single, Great Balls Of Fire (Jack
Hammer-Otis Blackwell) [the Jerry Lee Lewis song] b/w Travellin' Band
(W.Joel) [not the CCR song]. Produced by The Hassles, that release
sunk without a trace, and The Hassles were disbanded.

Billy and Jon Small (The Hassles drummer) then formed Attila, and
recorded an album Billy later described as "psychedelic bullshit".
The album was released on Epic (E 30030) and produced by Irwin Mazur,
William Joel and Jonathan Small. All music and lyrics by William
Joel and Jonathan Small. [see discography below for track listings]
Billy eventually married Jon Small's wife, Elizabeth.

Billy reportedly still loves Jimi Hendrix, but hates the album that
was influenced by him. After Attila, Billy worked as a rock
journalist for Changes magazine and recorded a commercial for
Bachmann's Pretzels with Chubby Checker.

In 1971, he recorded his first "solo" album, "Cold Spring Harbor",
for Family Records. Billy was embarrassed by the record, which had
been mastered at the wrong speed. It was produced by Artie Ripp.
All songs were composed by Billy Joel. [see discography below for
track listings] Singles: Everybody Loves You Now b/w She's Got A
Way and Tomorrow Is Today b/w Everybody Loves You Now.

Discouraged by touring for six months to support the album, opening
for acts like J. Geils Band and Badfinger, Billy moved to California.
There he performed as Bill Martin at Corky's on Van Nuys Blvd and at
the Executive Lounge piano bar on Wilshire Blvd. The experience is
related in his first Columbia single: Piano Man.

Information from this article is from liner notes by Glenn A. Baker
and articles and books by Jeff Tamarkin and Peter Gabaccini. Also
from the records themselves.

4. Awards
[Info is from 1994 edition of Who's Who in America]
1978 Grammy Award for Record of the Year: The Stranger
1978 Grammy Award for Song of the Year: Just the Way You Are
1979 Grammy Nomination for Song of the Year: Honesty
1979 Grammy Award for Best Album: 52nd Street
1979 Grammy Award for Best Rock Male Vocal Performance
1980 Grammy Award for Best Rock Male Vocal Performance
1980 American Music Award for Album of the Year: Glass Houses
1982 Grammy Nomination for Album of the Year: The Nylon Curtain
1984 Grammy Nomination for Album of the Year: An Innocent Man
1989 Grammy Nomination for Record of the Year: Storm Front
1989 Grammy Nomination for Song of the Year: We Didn't Start the Fire
1989 Grammy Nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance
1990 Grammy Nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance
1990 Grammy Nomination for Producer of the Year
1990 Grammy Legend Award
1992 Inducted into Songwriters' Hall of Fame
1992 Country Music Association Awards Nomination for Songwriter of
the Year: Shameless
1994 Grammy Nomination for Album of the Year: River of Dreams
1994 Grammy Nomination for Record of the Year: River of Dreams
1994 Grammy Nomination for Song of the Year: River of Dreams
1994 Grammy Nomination for Best Male Pop Vocalist
1994 Billboard Century Music Award


1. The Hassles
[Thanks to Phil Hetherington ( and Paul Maclauchlan
( for this info]

The Hassles (1967, re-release '81) Hour of the Wolf (1968, re-release '81)
----------- ----------------
Warming Up Country Boy
Just Holding On Night After Day
A Taste Of Honey Hour of the Wolf
Every Step I Take (Every Move 4 O'Clock in the Morning
I Make) Cat
Coloured Rain Hotel St. George
I Hear Voices Land of Despair
I Can Tell Further Than Heaven
Giving Up (Version #2)
Fever (_Hour of the Wolf_ was released in
You've Got Me Hummin' Austria under the title _Night After
Day_ in 1992)

The Hassles (re-release '92)
[All of the above tracks plus:]
I'm Thinkin'
I'll Be Around
When I Get Home
It's Not Enough
Love Luck
Look And You Will Find
Blow My Mind
Giving Up (Version #1)

2. Attila
[Thanks to Paul Maclauchlan ( for this info]

Attila (1970) Rollin' Home (BJ w/Attila/Hassles)
------ ------------
(This album was released in California Flash
Italy as a Billy Joel album Wonder Woman
entitled "California Flash" on Revenge is Sweet
Lotus Records.) Amplifier Fire:
Wonder Woman Part I-Godzilla
California Flash Part II-March of the Huns
Revenge is Sweet Rollin' Home
Amplifier Fire Tear This Castle Down
Part I-Godzilla Holy Moses
Part II-March of the Huns Brain Invasion
Rollin' Home E.A.R.
Tear This Castle Down Rabbitt
Holy Moses * The Tough Boy
Brain Invasion Enough is Enough
Extra Extra
* (Holy Moses did not appear on Crossing the Door
the "California Flash" Release)

3. Billy's Solo Career
[Thanks to Kevin Harter ( for this info]

Cold Spring Harbor (1971) Piano Man (1973)
------------------ ---------
She's Got a Way Travelin' Prayer
You can Make me Free Piano Man
Everybody Loves You Now Ain't No Crime
Why Judy Why You're My Home
Falling of the Rain The Ballad of Billy the Kid
Turn Around Worse Comes to Worst
You Look so Good to Me Stop In Nevada
Tomorrow is Today If I Only Had the Words (To Tell You)
Nocturne Somewhere Along the Line
Got to Begin Again Captain Jack

Streetlife Serenade (1974) Turnstiles (1976)
------------------- ----------
Streetlife Serenade Say Goodbye to Hollywood
Los Angelenos Summer, Highland Falls
The Great Suburban Showdown All You Wanna Do is Dance
Root Beer Rag New York State of Mind
Roberta James
The Entertainer Prelude/Angry Young Man
Last of the Big Time Spenders I've Loved These Days
Weekend Song Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights
Souvenir go out on Broadway)
The Mexican Connection

The Stranger (1977) 52nd Street (1978)
------------ -----------
Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) Big Shot
The Stranger Honesty
Just the Way You Are My Life
Scenes from an Italian Restaurant Zanzibar
Vienna Stiletto
Only the Good Die Young Rosalinda's Eyes
She's Always A Woman Half a Mile Away
Get it Right the First Time Until the Night
Everybody Has a Dream 52nd Street

Glass Houses (1980) Songs In The Attic (1981)
------------ ------------------
You May be Right Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights
Sometimes A Fantasy go out on Broadway)
Don't Ask Me Why Summer, Highland Falls
It's Still Rock and Roll to Me Streetlife Serenader
All for Leyna Los Angelenos
I Don't Want to be Alone She's Got A Way
Sleeping with the Television On Everybody Loves You Now
C'Etait Toi (You Were the One) Say Goodbye to Hollywood
Close to the Borderline Captain Jack
Through the Long Night You're my Home
The Ballad of Billy the Kid
I've Loved These Days

The Nylon Curtain (1982) An Innocent Man (1983)
----------------- ---------------
Allentown Easy Money
Laura An Innocent Man
Pressure Uptown Girl
Goodnight Siagon This Night
She's Right on Time Tell Her About It
A Room of Our Own The Longest Time
Surprises Careless Talk
Scandinavian Skies Christie Lee
Where's the Orchestra? Leave a Tender Moment Alone
Keeping the Faith

Greatest Hits Volume I & Volume II (Double CD Set - 1985)
Greatest Hits Volume I 1973-1977 Greatest Hits Volume II 1978-1985
-------------------------------- ---------------------------------
Piano Man My Life
Captain Jack * Big Shot
The Entertainer * You May be Right
Say Goodbye to Hollywood It's Still Rock and Roll to Me
New York State of Mind Don't Ask Me Why +
The Stranger She's Got A Way *
Scenes from an Italian Restaurant * Pressure
Just the Way You Are Allentown
Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) Goodnight Saigon
Only the Good Die Young Tell Her About It
She's Always a Woman Uptown Girl
The Longest Time
(* Songs which only appear on CD You're Only Human (Second Wind)
version, not LP or Cassette) The Night is Still Young
(+ Song which did not appear on
the Australian release) Honesty appeared on the Australian
release of Gr. Hits Vol. II

The Bridge (1986) KOHUEPT (1987)
---------- -------
Running On Ice Odoya
This is the Time Angry Young Man
A Matter of Trust Honesty
Modern Woman Goodnight Saigon
Baby Grand Stiletto
Big Man on Mulberry Street Big Man on Mulberry Street
Temptation Baby Grand
Code of Silence An Innocent Man
Getting Closer Allentown
A Matter of Trust
Only the Good Die Young
Sometimes a Fantasy
Uptown Girl
Big Shot
Back in the U.S.S.R.
The Times They Are a Changin'

Storm Front (1989) River of Dreams (1993)
----------- ---------------
That's Not Her Style No Man's Land
We Didn't Start the Fire The Great Wall of China
The Downeaster "Alexa" Blonde Over Blue
I Go to Extremes A Minor Variation
Shameless Shades of Grey
Storm Front All About Soul
Leningrad Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)
State of Grace The River of Dreams
When in Rome Two Thousand Years
And So it Goes Famous Last Words

Greatest Hits Vol. III (1997)
Keeping the Faith
An Innocent Man
A Matter of Trust
Baby Grand
This is the Time
We Didn't Start the Fire
I Go To Extremes
And So It Goes
The Downeaster Alexa
All About Soul
River of Dreams
To Make You Feel My Love
Hey Girl
Light As The Breeze

4. Singles
Everybody Loves You Now / She's Got A Way (1973)
Tomorrow is Today / Everybody Loves You Now (1973)
Piano Man / You're My Home (1973)
Worse Comes to Worst / Somewhere Along the Line (1974)
Travelin' Prayer / Worse Comes to Worst (1974)
The Entertainer / The Mexican Connection (1974)
James / Summer, Highland Falls (1976)
I've Loved These Days / Say Goodbye to Hollywood (1976)
Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) / She's Always a Woman (1977)
Just the Way You Are / Get It Right the First Time (1977)
Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) / Everybody Has a Dream (1978)
Only the Good Die Young / Get It Right the First Time (1978)
She's Always a Woman / Vienna (1978)
My Life / 52nd Street (1978)
Big Shot / Root Beer Rag (1979)
Honesty / The Mexican Connection (1979)
Souvenir / All For Leyna (1980)
You May Be Right / Close To the Borderline (1980)
It's Still Rock and Roll to Me / Through the Long Night (1980)
Don't Ask Me Why / C'etait toi (record, 1980)
Sometimes a Fantasy / All For Leyna (1980)
Say Goodbye to Hollywood / Summer Highland Falls (1981)
She's Got A Way / Ballad of Billy the Kid (1981)
Pressure / Laura (1982)
Allentown (one sided budget release, 1982)
Allentown / Elvis Presley Blvd. (record, 1982)
An Innocent Man / I'll Cry Instead (live; cover of the Beatles) (record, 1983)
Goodnight Saigon / A Room of Our Own (1983)
Tell Her About It / Easy Money (1983)
Tell Her About It / Easy Money / You Got Me Hummin' (live; The Hassles)
(12-inch record, 1983)
Uptown Girl / Careless Talk (1983)
Leave a Tender Moment Alone / This Night (1984)
The Longest Time / Christy Lee (1984)
Keeping The Faith / She's Right On Time (1985)
Suprises / You're Only Human (second wind) (1985)
A Matter of Trust / Getting Closer (1986)
Modern Woman / Sleeping With the Television On (1986)
This is the Time / Code of Silence (1986)
Baby Grand / Big Man on Mulberry St. (1987)
Back in the USSR / Big Shot (1987)
The Times They Are A Changin' / Back in the USSR (1987)
We Didn't Start the Fire / House of Blue Light (cassette, 1989)
I Go to Extremes / When In Rome (1989)
The Downeaster Alexa / And So It Goes (1989)
That's Not Her Style / And So It Goes (1989)
And So It Goes / ???? (1989)
Shameless / Storm Front (live) (1991)
All Shook Up / Wear My Ring Around Your Neck (by Ricky Van Shelton)
(cassette, 1992)
River of Dreams / No Man's Land (CD, 1993)
No Man's Land / No Man's Land, Shades of Grey (live--London, May, 1993)
(CD, import from England)
No Man's Land / We Didn't Start the Fire, Allentown, Matter of Trust (CD,
import from England)
All About Soul / You Picked A Real Bad Time (1993)
Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel) / Two Thousand Years (1994)
A Hard Day's Night / Piano Man (live--import from Australia)
To Make You Feel My Love / To Make You Feel My Love (Barebones version)
/ Goodbye Yellow Brick Road / Hard Day's Night (CD, 1997)

5. Videotapes
A Matter of Trust (1991)
Billy Joel From the River of Dreams (Frankfurt, Germany, 6/18/94)
Billy Joel Tonight (Univ. of Connecticut, 12/5/76)
Eye of the Storm
Live at London (6/8/94)
Live from Long Island (Nassau Coliseum, 12/29/82)
Live from Lenningrad, USSR
Live from Tokyo, Japan (1/3/91)
Live from Yankee Stadium (6/20-21/90)
The Russia Collection
Shades of Grey (1993)
The Video Album (two volumes, 1986)

6. Other Stuff & Rare Stuff
Boxed sets available in other contries, special editions, and albums by
other artists that Billy has appeared on.

"All Shook Up", "Heartbreak Hotel" -- Soundtrack from "Honeymoon in Vegas".
Australian Souvenir CD Set -- Includes Greatest Hits Vol 1 & 2, Storm
Front, an Interview CD, and a live CD from a concert at Yankee
Bachman Pretzels Commercial -- Billy Joel plays the Hammond organ with
Chubby Checker singing "The Twist" in this short TV advertisement
(not seen, only heard)
"Be Crool To Your Scuel" -- Billy Joel played piano on this Twisted
Sister song from the album _Come Out And Play_. Atlantic
Records (1985)
"Big Shot" -- Soundtrack from "Star 80" ("Stiletto" is also in the movie,
but not listed in the credits)
"Billy Joel Interview Album" -- Interview with Billy Joel by Denis McNamara
featuring 6 songs from _Songs in the Attic_. CBS Records (1981)
"Deco Dance" -- Billy Joel plays piano on two songs on this Ellito Murphy album
"Down in the Bondocks" -- Billy Joel does some vocals on two songs on
this very rare D.L. Byron album
"Earl Scruggs Anniversary Revue" -- Billy Joel plays piano on four songs
"Easy Money" -- Soundtrack from "Easy Money"
"I Get No Sleep" -- Billy Joel played piano on this Richard Marx song from
the album _Rush Street_
"In a Sentimental Mood" -- Soundtrack from "A League of Their Own". (1992)
Journey to the River of Dreams -- 1995 Australian 2 CD set with one CD of
live music and one interview CD (same as "River of Dreams" 3 CD set
below, only without _River of Dreams_)
"Just The Way You Are" -- Soundtrack from "FM" (this is a different version
from any other release of the song)
"Light as the Breeze" -- _Tower of Song_ (Leonard Cohen tribute album) (1995)
"Maybe He'll Know" -- Billy sang backup on this Cyndi Lauper song from the
album "True Colors"
"Modern Woman" -- Soundtrack from "Ruthless People"
"My Life" -- Theme Song from _Bosom Buddies_, an early 80's American
sitcom starring Tom Hanks (premiered in Fall 1979 on ABC)
"Nobody Knows But Me" -- Sesame Street's _In Harmony 2_ album (1981)
Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen & Friends Homeless Children's Medical
Benefit Concert -- 2 CD set of benefit concert. Includes
Billy Joel singing on several songs.
"River of Dreams" 3 CD set -- Triple CD set released in Germany including
"River of Dreams", a CD with live recordings from the River of
Dreams tour (6 songs, including "Hard Day's Night" and "Goodbye
Yellow Brick Road"), and "An Evening of Questions and Answers
With Billy Joel at Princeton in Spring Semester & Perhaps a Few Songs"
Souvenir -- Promotional album released by Columbia in 1977. (see section
5.10 for more info)
_Time Out of Mind_ -- Approximately 6 out of 10 songs on this Grover
Washington Jr. album have "Arrangement and Accompaniment by
Billy Joel" in the credits
"We Are the World" -- Billy sang one line for this song.
"We Didn't Start The Fire" -- _Grammy's Greatest Moments Volume II_ (1994)
Live recording from the 1990 Grammy Awards show
"When You Wish Upon A Star" -- Disney's _Simply Mad About the Mouse... A
Musical Celebration of Imagination_ (1991) (he also did a video
for this song)
"Why Should I Worry" -- Soundtrack from Disney's "Oliver & Company". Billy
also did the voice of the dog (Dodger) in the movie

Additionally, a digitally remastered version of "52nd Street" was released.

[Thanks to Claire Caterer ( for this info]

The Hassles:
Billy Joel (vocals, Hammond organ)
John Dizek (vocals, percussion)
Howie Blauvelt (bass guitar)
Richie McKenner (lead guitar)
Jon Small (drums)

Billy Joel (vocals, keyboards)
Jon Small (drums)

Billy Joel's Band Through His Solo Career:
[Abbreviations: CSH = Cold Spring Harbor; PM = Piano Man;
SS = Streetlife Serenade; TS = Turnstiles; S = Stranger;
52 = 52nd Street; GH = Glass Houses; SITA = Songs in the Attic;
NC = Nylon Curtain; IM = Innocent Man; GHITS = Greatest
Hits Vol. I & II (original songs); B = The Bridge;
K = KOHUEPT; SF = Storm Front; RD = River of Dreams]

The Mainstays:
David Brown (guitar on GH, SITA, NC, IM, GHITS, B, S, SF)
Richard Cannata (tenor and soprano saxophone, clarinet, flute, organ
on TS, S, 52, GH, SITA, RD)
Liberty DeVitto (drums on TS, S, 52, GH, SITA, IM, GHITS, B, K, SF, RD)
Russell Javors (guitar, acoustic guitar, rhythm guitar on TS, GH, SITA,
NC, IM, B, K)
Billy Joel (vocals, keyboards, moogs, organ, piano, harmonica,
synthesizers, hammond organ, hammond B-3, melodica,
acoustic guitar, clavinet, harpsicord)
Mark Rivera (alto sax, tenor sax, percussion, background vocals,
syntharmonica on IM, GHITS, B, K)
Doug Stegmeyer (bass, background vocals on TS, S, 52, GH, SITA, NC,

The Famous Folks:
Peter Cetera (background vocals on 52: "My Life")
Ray Charles (piano, vocals on B: "Baby Grand")
Color Me Badd (background vocals on RD: "All About Soul")
Cyndi Lauper (background vocals on B: "Code of Silence")
Richard Marx (background vocals on SF: "That's Not Her Style",
"Storm Front")
Itzhak Perlman (fiddle on SF: "Downeaster Alexa")
David Sanborn (alto sax on IM)
Steve Winwood (hammond B-3 on B: "Getting Closer")

The Rest (by instrument):
Jeff Bova (B), Al Campbell (CSH), L.D. Dixon (CSH), Jeff Jacobs
(SF, RD), Dave Lebolt (GHITS, K), John Mahonet (SF), Rob Mounsey
(B), Leon Pendarvis (NC), Richard Tee (S, IM)

Zachary Alford (RD), Jimmy Bralower (GHITS, B), Vinnie Calaiuta (B),
Rhys Clark (CSH, PM), David Friedman (52), Steve Jordan (RD), Andy
"Funky Drummer" Kravitz (RD), Mingo Lewis (TS), Ralph MacDonald
(S, 52, IM), Mike McGee (CSH), Sammy Merendino (SF), Jim Saporito
(RD), Danny Siewell (CSH), Crystal Taliefero (SF), Ron Tutt (PM, SS)

Guitar/Acoustic Guitar:
Richard Bennett (PM, SS), Hiram Bullock (S), Tommy Byrnes (RD),
Larry Carlton (CSH), Gary Dalton (SS), Mike Deasy (SS), Kevin
Dukes (K), Howie Emerson (TS), Don Evans (CSH, SS), Eric Gale
(52, IM), Al Hertzberg (SS), Joey Hunting (SF), Mick Jones (SF),
Steve Kahn (S, 52), "Sneaky" Pete Kleinow (CSH), Dan Kortchmar
(RD), John McCurry (GHITS, B), Ary Munson (SS), Dean Parks (PM, B),
Roj Rathor (SS), Michael Stewart (SS), Sal De Troia (CSH), Mike
Tyler (RD), Leslie West (RD)

Acoustic Guitar:
Steve Burgh (S), Howie Emerson (TS), Steve Kahn (S, 52), Hugh
McCracken (S, 52), James Smith (TS), David Spinozza (52)

Ron Carter (B), Schuyler Deale (SF, RD), Wilton Felder (PM, SS),
Emory Gordy (PM, SS), Lonnie Hillyer (RD), Jeff Lee Johnson (RD),
Larry Knechtel (CSH, SS), Joe Osborn (CSH), T.M. Stevens (RD),
Neil Stubenhaus (B), Chuck Treece (RD)

Dominic Cortese (S, NC, SF), Michael Omartian (PM)

Fred Heilbrun (PM), Eric Weissberg (PM), Tom Whitehorse (SS)

Dave Bargeron (trombone on B), Michael Brecker (horns, tenor sax
on 52, IM, B), Randy Brecker (horns on 52), Ronnie Cuber (baritone
sax on IM, GHITS, B), Eddie Daniels (sax, clarinet on NC, B),
Laurence Etkin (trumpet on RD), Jon Faddis (trumpet on IM, 52),
John Gatchell (trumpet on IM), Arno Hecht (baritone saxophone on
RD), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet on 52), Osvaldo Melindez (trombone on
RD), "The Memphis Horns" (Andrew Love, Wayne Jackson) (horns on SF),
Lenny Pickett (saxophone on SF), Alan Rubin (trumpet on B), Joe
Shepley (trumpet on IM), Marvin Stamm (trumpet on B), Phil Woods
(alto sax on S)

Don Brooks (B, SF), Ronnie Cuber (IM, GHITS, B), Jon Faddis (GHITS),
"Toots" Thielemans (IM)

Billy Armstrong (fiddle on PM), Joe Clayton (conga on SS),
David Friedman (orchestral chimes on 52), The Georgian Singers
"Zhournalist" (vocals on K), George Marge (sopranino recorder on
52), Mike Mainieri (vibes, marimba on 52), Charles McCraken
(cello on NC), William Smith (organ on SS)

Background Vocals:
Mike Alexander (IM), Chuck Arnold (SF), Pattie Austin (S), Tom
Bahler (IM), Phillip Ballou (RD), Katreese Barnes (RD), Dennis
Collins (RD), The Creamers/Susan Steward & Co. (PM), Donnie
Dacus (52), Patti Darcy (SF), Rory Dodd (IM), Will Downing (RD),
Frank Floyd (52, IM, SF, RD), Babi Floyd (52), Wrecia Ford (RD),
Diane Garisto (RD), Milt Grayson (52), Lani Groves (S, IM),
Gwen Guthrie (S), Peter Hewlett (GHITS, B, K), Hicksville High
School Chorus (SF), Jeff Jacobs (SF, RD), Stephanie James (RD),
Devora Johnson (RD), Mick Jones (SF), Curtis King (SF), Ian
Lloyd (SF), Ullanda McCullough (IM), Brian Ruggles (SF), Zack
Sanders (52), Marlon Saunders (RD), Frank Simms (GHITS, RD),
George Simms (K, RD), Ray Simpson (52), Phoebe Snow (S),
Corliss Stafford (RD), Crystal Taliefero (SF, RD), Ron Taylor (IM),
Terry Textor (IM), Eric Troyer (IM), Joe Lynn Turner (SF), Brenda
White-King (SF, RD), B. David Whitworth (RD)


1. Books
[Thanks to Claire Caterer ( for this info]

BILLY JOEL by Peter Gambaccini; Jove Publications: 1979
BILLY JOEL by M. Howard Gelfand; Creative Education: 1983
BILLY JOEL by Michael McKenzie; Ballantine: 1984
BILLY JOEL by Debbie Geller & Tom Hibbert; McGraw-Hill: 1985
HEADLINERS: BILLY JOEL by Donald Meyers; Ace Books: 1981
BILLY JOEL by Jurgen Seibold; VIP Paul Zsolnay Verlag, Vienna: 1993
BILLY JOEL by Jeff Tamarkin; Cherry Lane Books: 1984
ROCK STARS by Timothy White; Stewart, Tabori, & Chiang: 1984

2. Magazine Articles
[Thanks to Michael Kidd ( for the
majority of this info]

"Billy Joel Tricks the Phillies." Rolling Stone. Jun. 20, 1974
"Billy Joel: The Miracle of 52nd Street." Rolling Stone.
Dec. 14, 1978, pp. 70ff.
"Rock Punk." Penthouse. May 1979
"Hailed in Hicksville - How Billy Joel Became a Rock Troubador."
Hit Parader. May 1979, pp. 29.
"Billy Joel is Angry." Rolling Stone. Sep. 4, 1980, pp. 37ff.
"Billy Joel." Playboy. May, 1982
"Billy Joel: Not as Bad as You Think." Rolling Stone. Oct. 28, 1982
"He Sang of Their Troubles, but Grateful Citizens Say Thank You
Anyway To Billy Joel." People. Jan. 10, 1983
"Former Boxer who has now achieved..." Record Collector. June 1985,
pp. 13-16.
"Billy Joel." Penthouse. Dec. 1985
"New Billy Joel LP A Star-Studded Affair." Rolling Stone.
Jun. 9, 1986
"Billy Joel." Rolling Stone. Nov. 6, 1986, pp. 46ff.
"Billy Joel." Life. Sep. 1987
"Billy Joel's Russian Roadshow." Rolling Stone. Sep. 24, 1987
"Billy Joel: Doing the Kremlin Rag." Life. Oct. 1987
"A Matter of Trust: Billy Joel in the USSR." Variety. Jun. 29, 1988
"Billy Joel Rides the Tide of Success into his 40's." Billboard.
Nov. 4, 1989
"Billy Joel Starts a Fire..." Rolling Stone. Nov. 16, 1989
"Billy Joel." Keyboard. Jan., 1990, pp. 50
"Talent in Action: Billy Joel." Billboard. Jan. 6, 1990
"The Rolling Stone Interview: Billy Joel." Rolling Stone.
Jan. 25, 1990, pp. 34ff.
"The Lessons of Rock and Roll: Billy Joel Presents History, the
Album (We Didn't Start the Fire)." Newsweek. Jan. 29, 1990
"Hometown Hero: Billy Joel." Rolling Stone. Aug. 9, 1990
"Classic Songs: Billy Joel's Top Ten Beatles Songs." Rolling Stone.
Aug. 23, 1990
"A Matter of Trust: Billy Joel Suing Former Lawyers." Billboard.
Oct. 3, 1992
"Billy Joel." Rolling Stone. Oct. 15, 1992
"Billy Joel: Of time and the 'River'." Billboard. Jun. 5, 1993
"The Last Songwriter--River of Dreams by Billy Joel." Time.
Aug. 30, 1993
"Little Billy (Kinda) Happy At Last." Entertainment Weekly. Sep.
10, 1993, pp. 38.
"Picks & Pans--River of Dreams by Billy Joel." People. Sep. 20, 1993
"Billy Joel's New Legal Firestorm." Rolling Stone. Sep. 30, 1993
"Just the Way He Is." People. Oct. 25, 1993
"Billy Joel Agrees to Drop Suit against Grubman." Billboard.
Nov. 6, 1993
"Backstage with ... Billy Joel." People Weekly. Dec. 13, 1993,
"Billy Joel." Rolling Stone. Dec. 23, 1993
"The Year in Recordings." Rolling Stone. Dec. 23, 1993
"Keeping the Faith." Goldmine. Jan. 7, 1994
"Split Decisions." People. Apr. 25, 1994, pp. 53.

3. Sheet Music
Sheet music for all of Billy Joel's songs is available. You
should be able to find it at your favorite local music store.

Billy Joel Complete Volume 1 (ISBN:0-7935-2070-3) [contains
first 6 albums: Cold Spring Harbor, Piano Man,
Streetlife Serenade, Turnstiles, The Stranger, and
52nd Street] 304 pages. US$27.95
Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation
7777 West Bluemound Road
PO Box 13819
Milwaukee, WI 53213

Billy Joel Complete Volume 1 (ISBN:0-88188-775-7) [same as
above, but does not include Cold Spring Harbor] 256 pages.
Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation
960 East Mark Street
Winona, MN 55987

Billy Joel Complete Volume 2 (ISBN:0-88188-776-5) [contains
Glass Houses, Songs in the Attic, The Nylon Curtain,
An Innocent Man, and The Bridge]
Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation
960 East Mark Street
Winona, MN 55987

Billy Joel Complete Volume 2 (ISBN:0-79351-524-6) [same as the
book above, but also contains Storm Front]

The Billy Joel Keyboard Book (ISBN:0-7935-1442-8)
[ Contains: Allentown, And So It Goes, Captain Jack, Honesty,
Just The Way You Are, Movin' Out, My Life, New York State
Of Mind, Piano Man, Pressure, Scenes From An Italian
Restaurant, She's Always A Woman, She's Got A Way, The
Stranger, Streetlife Serenade.] 150 pages. US$17.95
Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation
7777 West Bluemound Road
PO Box 13819 Milwaukee, WI 53213

Glass Houses (ISBN: ????)
April-Blackwood Publications
Distributed by Bradley Publications
43 West 61st Street
New York, NY 10023

Greatest Hits (ISBN: ????)
SBK Entertainment World
Distributed by Hal Leonard Publishing Company (see above
for address)

The Bridge (ISBN: 0-89898-485-8)
Columbia Pictures Publications
15800 N.W. 48th Avenue
Miami, FL 33014

River of Dreams (ISBN: 0-7935-2733-3)
Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation (see above for address)

4. Streetlife Serenade Newsletter
Streetlife Serenade is a new newsletter put out independently
from Billy's record company. To obtain a free sample issue
(this is subject to change) and specifics on subscribing
(including current subscription cost), write to:

Suzan Wells
c/o Wells Ink
P.O. Box 2075
Garden City, NY 11531

5. Net Resources
There are hundreds of fan created web sites... just do a web
search on "Billy Joel". Here's a few good starting points.
Official Sites
(has MOV, MPEG, and AVI format animations)
Fan Created Sites (one of the most complete fan
sites around)
(an index of links to other Billy Joel pages)
(Lyrics to "We Didn't Start the Fire")
(a site on the Billy Joel/Elton John tour)


The Billy Joel Mailing List
[Thanks to Chael Hall for this info]

This mailing list is for fans of Billy Joel and his music. Its
intention is to provide a forum for intelligent discussion of Billy
Joel, his music, concert dates, tour information, trivia, and other
related topics.

To subscribe, send mail to In the
body of the message, include one of the following commands
(in the left column):

SUB JOEL -- Subscribe to mailing list
SUB JOEL-DIGEST -- Subscribe to digest version
INFO JOEL -- Receive complete info on list

For more complete information about the mailing list, go to and select "Links", then select
"Billy Joel Mailing List"

Prodigy Billy Joel Fan Club: For users of the Prodigy On-Line
---------------------------- service. How to get there:
"Jump" "Music BB". Select "Music 1 BB" from the menu. Select
"Rock Music A-K" from the next menu. Type "Billy" in the
"to go to" space and press return. In order to join the fan
club, send inquiries to Beverly Baridon (
You will be asked to fill out a questionnaire. The club's
newsletter, "All About Joel", is published bi-monthly.

V. Origins/Meanings of Songs, plus Other Misc. Questions
Bear in mind that many of these songs can have other meanings. These
are just Billy's intended meanings. Feel free to interpret any of these
songs any way you like.

1. Who/What is Captain Jack?
According to Billy Joel, Captain Jack was the neighborhood
drug dealer in his neighborhood when he was growing up.

2. Who is Rosalinda in "Rosalinda's Eyes"?
Billy's Mom.

3. Who is the "Famous Violinist Incognito" who plays on "Downeaster Alexa"?
Itzhak Perlman. They couldn't use his real name due to legal
complications about Perlman appearing on a different record label.

4. What is the significance of the record title "The Bridge"?
[From an interview in the back of the piano sheet music book for
The Bridge]

"I came up with the title THE BRIDGE about two-thirds of the way
through the album ... I I didn't really know why when I first said
it. Then when I thought about it, I realized there's been a lot of
connections made on this record. There's a duet with Ray Charles,
and Ray Charles is somebody I admired for years and years. That was
a connection made, so there's a bridge. There's a song that was done
with Steve Winwood playing the Hammond organ, and I've always
admired Steve--for years and years. So there's another bridge. The
album is probably more like an older Billy Joel album, harkening
back to 52ND STREET and THE STRANGER, in that it's not a concept
album. The songs are not necessarily related to one another, but
they were written in the same [time] period. And for that reason,
because there's a connection to the older stuff, there's another
bridge. I also see it as a direction into a future type of writing."

5. What's the significance behind "Vienna"?
Billy's Dad lives in Vienna. He wrote the song after going there
to visit him once. At one of his campus lectures, Billy was
asked about the significance of Vienna, and replied (paraphrased
by Ann M. Leonhardt (

He told us that he was very impressed at the respect given to
elders in Europe. One day he saw an old woman sweeping a public
street with great pride, and it made an impression. He wanted
people to realize that there is time in life to accomplish
our goals and everything doesn't have to be at a break-neack
speed. Instead of fearing old age as we do here, it should be
anticipated and valued. So, insead of rushing to accomplish
everything in youth you should remember, "Vienna waits for you."

Another possible deeper meaning comes from M. Coulter

Since the early Classical period, composers understood that
Vienna was the place to be for links to orchestras, chamber
groups, commissions, and the nobility to appreciate such
things. The young Mozart hated working for a single patron, so
he headed for Vienna to try to make it on his own. I think the
reference here is to a place where a musician goes to be truly
tested (as the song talks about the need to be patient with
oneself) sort of like Tin Pan Alley to songwriters here in the
20's, or Los Angeles or New York City these days. I have no
knowledge of whether Billy may have actually mentioned the
Vienna reference or not. But I suspect, in the absence of any
other information, that telling someone that "Vienna waits for
you" is telling then to be patient.

6. What (or who) was the inspiration for "Big Shot"?
A very bad date with Bianca Jagger. Billy has also said that he
wanted to write a hangover song to convey how it feels to look
in the mirror the next day and mutter to yourself.

7. What ever happened to the "Root Beer Rag" newsletter?
This newsletter was produced by Billy's former management
agency. When Billy broke up with his former manager, Frank
Weber, the newsletter ceased to be published.

8. Which of Billy's songs have other artists covered?
-- Seekers (_This is the Seekers_)
"Ballad of Billy The Kid"
-- Michael Martin Murphey (_Cowboy Songs III_)
"Just the Way You Are"
-- Acker Bilk (_In A Mellow Mood_)
-- Captain & Tennille (_20 Years of Romance_)
-- Caravan Cool Water (_HTD_)
-- Richard Clayderman (_16 Love Songs_)
-- Rosemary Clooney (_With Love_, 1980)
-- Francisco Garcia (_Romantic Guitar Hits_)
-- Hi-Los (_Two Originals_, 1979,81)
-- John Holt (_16 Songs for Soulful Lovers_)
-- Horst Jankowski (_Pop Goes Swing_)
-- Jose Jose (in Spanish)
-- Morgana King (_Everything Must Change_, 1978)
-- Mornington Lockett (_Late Night Sax_, 1996)
-- Johnny Mathis (_That's What Friends Are For_, 1978;
_Greatist Hits_)
-- Paul Mauriat (_Gold Concert_, 1991)
-- Joe Pass (_Virtuoso Live!_, 1991)
-- Johnny Pearson (_Sleepy Shores_)
-- Plansee Big Band (_Simply in the Mood_, 1996)
-- David Qualey (_Handmade_, 1991)
-- Kenny Rogers with Dottie West (_Love Songs_, 1990)
-- Shadows (_Themes & Dreams_, 1991)
-- William Shakesspeare (_Can't Stop Myself From Loving You_, 1974)
-- Frank Sinatra (_Trilogy: Past, Present, and Future_)
-- Strangeloves (_I Want Candy--The Best of_)
-- Vogues (_Greatest Hits_)
-- Sylvia Vrethammar (_Something My Heart Might Say_, 1995)
-- Barry White (_All Time Greatest Hits_)
-- Gheorge Zamfir (_Pan Romance_)
"Miami 2017"
-- Richard Marx (1993)
"New York State of Mind"
-- Oleta Adams (_Evolution_, 1993)
-- Shirley Bassey (_Superstar_; _All By Myself_)
-- Carol Kaye (_The First Lady on Bass_, 1994)
-- Kasia Kowalska (of Poland!)
-- Manhattan Jazz Quintet (_My Funny Valentine_, 1986)
-- Jon Mark (_The Last & Live Line_, 1981)
-- Susannah McCorkle
-- Carmen McRae (_I'm Coming Home Again_, 1978)
-- Rolf from the Muppets (_Old Brown Ears is Back_)
-- Diane Schuur (_Deedles_, 1984)
-- Barbra Streisand (_Streisand Superman_, 1977; _Love Songs_;
-- Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem (_The Muppet Show_)
-- Mel Torme (_Mel Torme and Friends at Marty's_; _Live at the
Fujitsu-Concord Jazz Festival_, 1990)
-- Leslie West (_Dodgin' the Dirt_, 1993)
"Piano Man"
-- Thelma Houston (_The Best Of_)
"Say Goodbye to Hollywood"
-- Peter Hoffman (_Rock Classics_, 1982)
-- Bette Midler (_Broken Blossom_, 1977)
-- Nigel Olsson (_Nigel_, 1979)
-- Saga (_Steel Umbrellas_, 1994)
-- Ronnie Spector (_Dangerous_)
-- Garth Brooks (_Ropin' the Wind_)
"Summer, Highland Falls"
-- Peter, Paul, and Mary (_Reunion_)
"The Longest Time"
-- 6-Zylinder (_Vokal_, 1990)
"Uptown Girl"
-- Alvin & The Chipmunks (_Here's Looking at Me_, 1993)
-- Black Uhuru (_Brutal_, 1986)
-- Shadows (_Reflection_, 1989)
-- Soulsister (_Swinging Like Big Dogs_, 1994)
"You May Be Right"
-- Alvin & The Chipmunks (_Chipmunk Punk_)
-- Garth Brooks (_This is Garth Brooks--Live_)
-- Southside Johnny (Theme Music for CBS's "Dave's World")
"You're My Home"
-- Helen Reddy

9. What was the "Souvenir" album?
[Thanks to Carl Woodin ( for this info.]

Souvenir was released by Columbia in 1977. It was released as
a half live, half greatest hits album. It was distributed mainly
to DJs, clubs, and fan clubs. A VERY limited picture disc version
was also released.

Side 1 (live) - Ballad of Billy the Kid
Summer, Highland Falls
New York State of Mind
(This live side was recorded on 12/5-6/1976 at the Palmer
Auditorium, Connecticut College, New London. It was recorded
during the taping of the Billy Joel tonight video.)

Side 2 - Entertainer
I've Loved these Days
Captain Jack
Los Angelenos
Say Goodbye to Hollywood

10. What songs has Billy written that were never released?
[Songs with years in parentheses are listed in the Library of
Congress's List of Copyrights under Billy Joel's Name. Thanks
to Knut Meyer ( for this info.]

These are songs which were either performed by Billy early in his
career or songs that he copyrighted but never used on an album.
No, they're not available anywhere (if they were, they wouldn't
be "unreleased", now would they?).

"Alexa's Theme" (1988)
"Attitude Road" (1992)
"Bye Bye" (Cold Spring Harbor/Piano Man days)
"December Song" (Cold Spring Harbor/Piano Man days)
"Every Time (Falling In Love)" (1982)
"Great Ships, Great Oceans" (Cold Spring Harbor/Piano Man days)
"Handball" (1979) (though he performed it in concert as early as 1977)
"Indian Love Ball" (1981)
"It's All Right" (1982)
"It's Not Easy" (written for Cold Spring Harbor)
"Josephine" (written between Cold Spring Harbor and Piano Man)
"Long, Long Time" (written between Cold Spring Harbor and Piano Man)
"Money or Love" (1989)
"My Journey's End" (1964)
"New Thing in C" (1989)
"Numbers" (1982)
"Only a Man" (Cold Spring Harbor/Piano Man days)
"Oyster Bay" (Cold Spring Harbor/Piano Man days)
"Prime of Your Life" (1981)
"Rosalinda" (written between Cold Spring Harbor and Piano Man)
"Song for Alexa" (1989 -- possibly became "Lullabye"?)
"Tell Them You're In Love" (1985)
"The Moment at Hand" (1988)
"The Purple Heart" (1982 -- possibly became "Goodnight Saigon"?)
"Until You Come to Me" (written for Cold Spring Harbor)
"We All Have Our Cross to Bear" (written for Piano Man)
"Wide Awake" (1982)
"Where is My Lady" (written for Cold Spring Harbor)
"Where's the Revolution" (written for Piano Man)
"You Got Your Reasons" (1989)

11. How do you pronounce "KOHUEPT"?
"KOHUEPT" is the Russian word for "Concert," and it is
pronounced roughly like the English version of the word
(approximately "cone-tsyert"). "KOHUEPT" is about the best
approximation of the cryllic letters that I can do.

12. Do I have a rare, misprinted "An Innocent Man" CD cover?
When they printed the CD version of the "An Innocent Man" album,
they switched the order of those two tracks from their original
order on the LP release. However, they merely copied the
old album cover over without correcting the swapped tracks.
The listing on the disc itself and the order of the lyrics
in the liner notes should be correct. In short, no, you don't
have a rare misprinted item.

People have also reported seeing copies of the Streetlife
Serenade cassette and Turnstiles CD with incorrect listings
on the CD cover.

13. What is being said at the beginning of "Scandinavian Skies"?
[Thanks to for this info.]

It is an announcement in Dutch at Schiphol (Amsterdam) Airport:

Attentie, Attentie, Passagiers voor vlucht 33 met bestemming Oslo,
Stockholm en Kopenhagen kunnen zich naar Gate A12 begeven.


Attention, Attention, Passengers for flight 33 with destinations
Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen can go to Gate A12

14. Who was "Virginia" in "Only the Good Die Young"?
According to a TV interview with Billy, Virginia was a girl
he knew in school when he was 12. He showed her yearbook
photo on TV.

15. What's the significance of "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant"?
Back in his younger days, Billy used to do a lot of gigs in
restaurants. One of his popular songs among the dining crowds,
especially at Italian restaurants, was a song called "The
Ballad of Brenda & Eddie," which we all know as the middle
section to "Scenes...." The song was so well-liked that Billy
decided to record it. He added on the beginning & end as sort
of an ode to the restaurants that made the song popular.

16. Isn't that Beethoven music in "This Night"?
[Thanks to numerous people for this info, including Grant
Anderson ( and Bradley Kelly

Yes, the chorus to "This Night" (on the album _An Innocent
Man_) is essentially the same music as composed by Beethoven in
the "Adagio cantabile" (second movement) of his "Sonata No. 8 in
C Minor, Op. 13" AKA the sonata "Pathetique." Beethoven is
listed in the credits at the end of the album notes as "L. V.

17. What's the story behind Lullabye?
According to a TV interview, Billy wrote this song for his
daughter Alexa as an answer to her questions about dying.

18. How did a song like Root Beer Rag come to be?
[Thanks to Zach Pendleton ( for
this info.]

Billy had recently purchased a new keyboard, and was indulging
himself by seeing what it could do when he wrote Root Beer Rag.

19. Who is the "Anthony" in Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)?
[Thanks to Zach Pendleton ( for
this info.]

Anthony isn't a person from real life. According to Billy,
Anthony is every Irish, Polish, and Mexican kid trying to make
a living in the U.S.

20. What about... ?
If you know of something else that should be included here, let me

A big Thank You to all the contributors to this Frequently Asked Questions
List! God knows I wouldn't have wanted to write all this myself...

Feel free to quote from this document as long as proper credit is given
to the editor and (if specified) the contributor of the information.
If you intend to reprint or redistrubute the entire FAQ or quote large
chunks of it, please contact the editor for permission.
Copyright 1997 by Michael Steele ( except for "Billy
Joel, A look into Billy Joel's early recordings," which is copyright
1991 by Paul Maclauchlan (
| Mike Steele | Maintainer of the Fruit-of-the-Day |
| | Mailing List. Info at: |
| | |

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