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Billy Talks About His Songwriting Process

“I write the music first and then if I like the music I write lyrics. I think every piece of music has something apparent in it lyrically. For me it's like fate knocking on the door. Beethoven's symphonies were written when, if you look at the time period, there was some awesome stuff going on. And you think that's what he must have been writing about. But maybe it was something as banal as what's with the rent? It's like Michelangelo sculpting marble. Inside that marble is the sculpture, he's just got to find it. That's how I write lyrics. I write music and then ask, 'What does this music say to me?' I wrote a song called James, and the guy's name was not James. But had I said Fred it wouldn't have worked.”
– Billy Joel

“The Complete Albums Collection,” a limited edition box set with all of Billy Joel's albums, a bonus disc and two booklets, is available now!