Big Shot

I must admit to having mixed feelings about Billy Joel.  On the one hand, I really enjoy his rocking music (far more so than his syrupy ballads) and indeed, my most recent earworm was Big Shot.

Which leads to why I find him less than desirable as a person.  You see, he has an annoying habit of acting exactly like what he accused then-wife Christie Brinkley of being in the above song (and yes, it was aimed at her):  a big shot / superstar who treated all around him like shit.

The brutal, uncaring and hurtful way he fired his brilliant drummer Lib DeVitto (after 30 years together!) seems to just about sum Joel up — a stark contrast to his nice-guy image.  (And if you haven’t seen the music video linked at the top, Lib just about steals the show with his background antics.)

So once again, we’re faced with a common showbiz issue:  brilliant entertainer for the public, horrible fuckup as a human being.


  1. There is a documentary, I think it’s called Hired Guns that is well worth watching for behind the scenes of the music industry. Is that the one you are referring to? It does not show Billy Joel in a positive light. I wouldn’t doubt that fame and fortune awakens nastiness in people. I’m surprised that Lib DeVitto would ever mention money to Joel since a previous band member did the same thing and Joel fired him or cut him out of future projects.


  2. My younger sis met him several times during her career (first as an A&R rep for Columbia/Sony, then as managing director for a large east coast performing venue). Her opinion of him was not great, but she says there are a lot of stars with less talent who are bigger assholes. He doesn’t speak to anyone he doesn’t have to, and he alone decides who he has to speak to. He also got ripped off by his BIL earlyish in his career and that probably jaded him as well. He’s a perfectionist and has a massive ego, along with a long history of mental health problems and substance abuse. I’ve found those combinations in neurosurgeons and fighter pilots, and they are generally not nice people either.

    On the other end of the spectrum, she reports, is Carlos Santana. According to her, sweetest guy on the planet and generous to a fault.

  3. Weird Al Yankovic has never done a Billy Joel parody. He nearly always asks permission first, and Billy Joel has always said “no” because he is (in his mind, anyway) An Serious Artiste whose works shouldn’t be subject to parody.

    The likely truth is that he’s just a cunt who takes himself far too seriously.

  4. The older I get, the more I find his songs condescending. Only the Good Die Young is a prime example.

  5. No idea whether Billy Joel is a &%$# or not, but “Big Shot” was recorded seven years before he married Christie Brinkley, and is almost certainly not referring to her. In later interviews Joel said the song was about Bianca Jagger. Apparently he had dinner with Mick and the Mrs one evening, and her behavior was as described in the lyrics.

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