I was a big fan of “Inside The Actor’s Studio” and watched every hour-long episode that aired on Bravo (it’s a shame the entire series isn’t available for streaming). But my favorite was a two-hour show in which host James Lipton interviewed Billy Joel in 1999.
This was a few years after Billy’s final studio album, “River Of Dreams,” which also marked the end of his rock songwriting — although he’s continued to tour on occasion and still performs regularly at Madison Square Garden.
What made his appearance so special was that there was a grand piano onstage, and Billy used the opportunity to get out of the guest chair, sit on the piano bench, and perform some of his songs to illustrate answers to Lipton’s questions. He went into detail on how he’d stitched together the disparate parts of “Scenes From An Italian Restaurant,” why he chose to write a song about Allentown, how he and his band worked in the studio, the contributions of producer Phil Ramone, and how his creative process worked.
I have tried to embed the full show — minus commercials — below, but it may not appear in all browsers. In that case, try this YouTube link.
Previously on Harris Online…