Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Everett, Walter. "The Learned vs. the Vernacular in the Songs of Billy Joel." Contemporary Music Review 18, no. 4 (2000): 105-129.

Due to his formal musical training and informal musical upbringing, Billy Joel was equally adept at incorporating both classical and popular styles in his songs depending on the expressive context of the lyrics. Many of his songs deliberately quote popular tunes, while others are either modeled after specific songs, especially by the Beatles, or are modeled after the general style of different popular artists (as shown in the appendix). Likewise, Joel was known to quote classical works in some of his songs, and many other songs exhibit a harmonic or contrapuntal language reminiscent either of classical style in general or of specific classical composers, especially Chopin. These learned and vernacular styles are exemplified particularly in two songs, James (1976) for the learned style and Laura (1983) for the vernacular style, and the personae of these two titular characters reflect the expressive correlations of their particular musical styles.

Works: Billy Joel: Storm Front (106), Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel) (106), Modern Woman (106), All You Wanna Do Is Dance (106), C'etait toi (You Were the One) (106), Laura (106, 122-24), The Great Suburban Showdown (106), Uptown Girl (106), Captain Jack (107), Scandinavian Skies (107), A Room of Our Own (107), Just the Way You Are (107), Attila (album) (107), Why Judy Why (107), If I Only Had the Words (To Tell You) (107), 52nd Street (album) (107), This Night (110), Leningrad (110), Souvenir (110), The Ballad of Billy the Kid (111), She's Got a Way (111), James (119-22).

Sources: Harold Arlen: Stormy Weather (106); Duke Ellington: Mood Indigo (106); Ethelbert Nevin: Mighty Lak' a Rose (106); John Lennon and Paul McCartney (songwriters), The Beatles (performers): Rubber Soul (album) (106), Here, There, and Everywhere (106), Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (107), I Am the Walrus (107), Glass Onion (107), I Will (107), Birthday (107), Her Majesty (107); George Harrison (songwriter), The Beatles (performers): Something (107); Beethoven: Piano Sonata in C Minor, Op. 13 (Pathétique) (110); Robert Schumann: Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54 (110); Chopin: Prelude in D-flat Major, Op. 28, No. 15 (110), Prelude in E Minor, Op. 28, No. 4 (111-12); Copland: Appalachian Spring (111).

Index Classifications: 1900s, Popular

Contributed by: Mark Chilla

Except where otherwise noted, this website is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
Creative Commons Attribution License