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New Billy Joel Q&A – What Are The Origins Of Your Song ‘The Downeaster ‘Alexa’?’

During a Q&A at the University of Pennsylvania in 2001, Billy was asked about the song “The Downeaster ‘Alexa,'” just before some technical difficulties at the venue. Billy has always filled any disruptive downtime in his shows with an impromptu riff. In this one, he filled the void with a song that could be called “You Can Kiss My %&S,” or “Actually You Guys Clap Pretty Good.” You choose. No matter the title, it’s a riff that is completely unique to Billy’s onstage performance.

Getting back to the actual question, Billy’s answer describes the plight of his friends on the east end of Long Island, who fish for a living, and pays homage to their struggle in a diminished vocation with a live vocal and piano performance of this classic song from the Storm Front album.

Watch this and more videos from our Billy Joel “Questions & Answers” lecture series.