Sing Us a Wine Song, You’re the Piano Man

He has sold more than 100 million records.

He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (inducted by Ray Charles, no less).

He was married to Christie Brinkley.

Has Billy Joel had the perfect life, or what?

Well… almost perfect. The only thing that could have topped all of that would have been landing the No. 1 position on the Vinesse list of the Top 10 Wine Songs of All-Time.

But, hey, he got close. “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” a song from Joel’s 1977 album “The Stranger,” earns the No. 3 spot in our countdown.

And what a song it is, clocking in at 7 minutes, 37 seconds, and performed in three distinct parts: a piano ballad turned jazzy piece turned rock-and-roll tune.

A bottle of white, a bottle of red
Perhaps a bottle of rose instead
We’ll get a table near the street
In our old familiar place
You and I, face to face

A bottle of red, a bottle of white
It all depends upon your appetite
I’ll meet you any time you want
In our Italian restaurant

There are conflicting stories about the inspiration of the song. Some say it was the Fontana di Trevi restaurant in Manhattan. Joel once dedicated the song to another New York eatery, Christiano’s in Syosset. It also has been asserted that it’s about a number of different restaurants.

Whatever its origins, it is a fan favorite—a song you’re almost guaranteed to hear at a Billy Joel concert. Here’s a version we like from YouTube.

“Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” is a great song from a guy who was a struggling lounge pianist before hitting it big. Here’s to the “Piano Man”!


Posted in Editor's Journal
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