MasterClass Monday: Billy Joel Gives A MasterClass Performance Of Just The Way You Are

Now you see? This! This is music. Expressively live, beautifully paced and exquisitely presented. It does not get much better than this folks.

Listen to this voice. It never ages – it matures. Like a fine wine, it becomes more delicious over time, rich and full. The reason behind this is that Billy Joel’s roots are embedded in classical study, both in piano and in voice. If you listen to his earlier recordings he sings like a choir boy, very proper and refined.

However, over time , he has developed a more rock-infused singing style while keeping his classical training as a supportive foundation. And, by doing so, has ensured longevity in the music business. While younger artists are burning out and seeing voice specialists, Billy has managed to avoid all this chaos because of his technical and artistic work ethic.

While watching this video, I was so taken by the artistry of all the musicians – with, Billy, of course, at the helm. Loved the saxophone player. He was in the groove for sure. All the musicians were undeniably committed to the music, just giving their heart and soul to their audience.

And, you know that they have performed this song countless times – it was one of Billy Joel’s first hits. And yet, they managed to keep it fresh and new, with Billy adding some new melodic flourishes here and there.

Respect for his audience. This is at the core of every Billy Joel performance.

This is why people return over and over again to see Billy Joel live. He is a musical icon and his legacy will continue to be one of the best in the history of pop music. He writes his lyrics, music and arranges and performs his own songs and has produced hit, after hit after hit while doing so. This is one talented guy. Prodigious.

Enjoy the video everyone. I have watched it over and over again with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face. One of these days, Billy Joel, I will see you live and in colour but, for now, this will have to do.

PS: I wonder what brand of bottled water he drinks? And check out the humble little bow he takes at the end of this song. Adorable.

You can download Just The Way You Are on iTunes or stream it on Apple Music.

About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

4 Responses to “MasterClass Monday: Billy Joel Gives A MasterClass Performance Of Just The Way You Are”

  1. I’ve been a fan of Billy Joel for…forever, it feels like. Even before this song hit originally. What always struck me is that his phrasing is so conversational and his vocals so unstrained that his songs sound easy to sing–but lots of them need a really large range, and are anything BUT easy to sing! (Not to mention him doing all the parts for “For the Longest Time”… 😉 )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. He is a remarkable performer. As time goes on, I value his musical contributions over the years even more. No one can top him in my eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Billy,Billy. What a talent. I’ve followed his career since his very first record Songs in the Attic, much before his blockbuster The Stranger, that I played, and played etc. Rereader is right that most of his songs are performed as if he is having a conversation with the listener. My favourite song from The Stranger, was Scenes From An Italian Restaurant. Talk about a song telling a story set to music, love it! Masterclass Lady if you can ever see Billy live you must do so. I saw him in concert in 1989, just before he left North America to tour Russia. It was magnificent. The man is so talented, especially as a gifted musician, I’m so jealous at how well he plays piano. I’ve set my goal on keys to play Just The Way You Are perfectly. Needless to say it’s a work in progress, but I’m getting there. He is the consummate performer and he makes you feel as if you’re the only person in the whole place,, in my case an arena. I know he is performer in residence at MSG. He has said he will perform as long as people come to see him. He’s been at it for about 3 years now with no end in sight. You can see why!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Vocab – I was planning to go to MSG in NYC but plans fizzled. Such is life. I am hoping he will come to Toronto. It’s been 3 years since he has been here so I am anxiously waiting here. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant is my absolute favourite. I play it constantly when I go for my daily walk and am working on the piano and vocals as well. It is in a class of its own. I would write about Billy every week here if I could. So many great articles. Every day, something new surfaces. He is one class act. Thanks for your comments.


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