Prophetic Songwriting

Billy Joel wrote a song back in the 1970s called “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway),” from the 1976-album Turnstiles. Key lyrical excerpts are:

I’ve seen the lights go out on Broadway / I saw the ruins at my feet…

I watched the mighty skyline fall…

They said the Queens could stay / They blew the Bronx away / And sank Manhattan out at sea

Joel considered this a science fiction song, never thinking anything resembling it would actually happen, but was as shocked as anyone by the events of September 11, 2001.

Then, in the early 80s he wrote a beautiful, sad song called “And So It Goes,” which appeared on his 1989-release, Storm Front. The song speaks to the imminent demise of all relationships. A couple of important lines are:

In every heart, there is a room / A sanctuary, safe and strong / To heal the wounds from lover’s past / Until a new one comes along

So I would choose to be with you / That’s if the choice were mine to make / But you can make decisions too / And you can have this heart to break

Considering the recent news of the end of Billy’s third marriage, his catalog continues to come to life.

Some doubt Billy’s songwriting; not sure I’ll ever understand that.

Either way, he spent 20 years releasing songs to the public who’s messages will continue to come true in all of our lives. Just spend some time listening through his albums*.

*He wrote music and lyrics to all but ONE song on all of them, and Cyndi Lauper co-wrote the lyrics on that one with him


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