In a flurry of questions, recorded at Mount Holyoke College in March 1996, Billy was asked if he remembered doing an impression of Walter Brennan, star of ABC TV series The Real McCoys, during a show sometime in 1972 when he opened for Taj Mahal on several dates of the “Cold Spring Harbor Tour.” That tour would begin Billy’s solo career on November 9th 1971 with the release of the “Cold Spring Harbor” album and ended with little fanfare at The Schaefer Music Festival in New York City, in June 1972.** Billy and the band would crisscross the country for 7 months as an opening act.
**Thanks to a comment from Larry Russell, original tour bass player on Billy’s Cold Spring Harbor Tour, the last date was not The Schaefer Music Festival, but rather, The Performance Arts Center, Saratoga, New York on June 28th, 1972. Thanks Larry for the correction, and hats off for nice work on the WMMR broadcast. Much appreciated.
In this clip, Billy recalls his days as an opening act and describes his use of impressions to stir the anxious crowd who came to see the headliner. If you know the exact date of Billy’s performance with Taj Mahal in Springfield 1972, please leave us a comment.
Check out more videos from our Billy Joel “Questions & Answers” lecture series!