“Piano Man” is a classic song by Billy Joel, released in 1973 as the title track of his second studio album, “Piano Man.” The song has become one of Joel’s signature hits and remains an enduring favorite among his fans.
Chords Used (GCEA Tuning):
Ukulele Tutorial Video
The strumming pattern is relatively straightforward and consists of a rhythmic, flowing pattern that complements the song’s storytelling style. The song is played in 4/4 time, and the strumming pattern is based on downstrokes with some accents to match the rhythm.
Here’s a basic strumming pattern that you can use:
D D DUDU
Let’s break it down: D – Downstroke U – Upstroke
The pattern consists of four downstrokes followed by a series of down and upstrokes. You repeat this pattern throughout most of the song, adjusting the dynamics to match the energy and emotion of different parts of the song.
Official Music Video
Here are some interesting facts about “Piano Man”:
- Autobiographical Elements: “Piano Man” is partially autobiographical and draws inspiration from Billy Joel’s experiences as a lounge pianist early in his career. The song reflects the lives of various people he encountered while playing in a piano bar in Los Angeles.
- Lengthy Composition: The song is relatively long for a pop song, with a runtime of over five minutes. It features a slow build-up, with different characters introduced throughout the verses.
- Narrative Structure: “Piano Man” tells a compelling story through its lyrics, painting a vivid picture of the diverse patrons in the bar. The characters include a bartender, a waitress, a real estate novelist, a businesswoman, a Navy sailor, and a piano man (reflecting Joel’s own role in the bar).
- Catchy Chorus: The chorus of “Piano Man” is particularly catchy and memorable, with the line “Sing us a song, you’re the piano man” becoming a defining phrase of the song.
- Iconic Harmonica Solo: The song features an iconic harmonica solo played by Billy Joel himself. The harmonica solo adds a distinct and soulful element to the track.
- Commercial Success: “Piano Man” achieved moderate commercial success upon its initial release, reaching #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. However, it has since become one of Billy Joel’s most beloved and recognized songs.
- Cultural Impact: Over the years, “Piano Man” has become a cultural anthem and is frequently played at bars, parties, and sing-alongs. Its storytelling style and relatable characters have contributed to its enduring appeal.
- Signature Live Performance: “Piano Man” has been a staple of Billy Joel’s live performances throughout his career. It is often a highlight of his concerts, with the audience singing along enthusiastically.
- Legacy: In 2016, the Library of Congress selected “Piano Man” for preservation in the National Recording Registry for its cultural, historic, and artistic significance.
Text Version of Chords
[Intro] Dm Ddim7 C G/B F/A C/G F C/E D7 G C G/B F/A C/G F G C F/C C F/C C F/C C [Verse 1] F/C C G/B F/A C/G F C/E D7 It's nine o' clock on a Saturday, the regular crowd shuflles in. G7 C G/B F/A C/G F F/G C And there's an old man sitting next to me making love to his tonic and gin. [Bridge] C G/B F/A C/G F G7 C F/C [Post-Verse] C G/B F/A C/G He says, "Son, can you play me a memory? F C/E D7 G7 C G/B I'm not really sure how it goes, but it's sad and it's sweet, F/A C/G And I knew it complete, F G7 C When I wore a younger man's clothes. [Pre-Chorus] Am Am/G D7 F Am Am/G D7 G La, lala, lala laa. Lala, lalala, lala. G/F C/E G7/D [Chorus] C G/B F/A C/G F C/E D7 G7 Sing us a song, you're the piano man, sing us a song tonight. C G/B F/A C/G F G7 C Well, we're all in the mood for a melody, and you've got us feeling alright. [Bridge] C G/B F/A C/G F G7 C F/C C F/C C F/C C [Verse 2] F/C C G/B F/A C/G F C/E D7 G7 Now John at the bar is a friend of mine, he get's me my drinks for fee. C G/B F/A C/G F G7 And he's quick with a joke, or a light up your smoke, but there's someplace that he'd ra ther C be. F/C C G/B F/A C/G F C D7 G7 He says, "Bill, I believe this is killing me," as a smile ran away from his face. C G/B F/A C/G F G7 C "Well, I'm sure that I could be a movie star, if I could get out of this place [Pre-Chorus] Am Am/G D7 F Am Am/G D7 G Oh la, lala, lala laa. Lala, lalala, lala. [Verse 3] G/F C/E G7/D C G/B F/A C/G F C/E D7 G7 Now Paul is a real estate novelist, who never had time for a wife. C G/B F/A C/G F G7 C And he's talking with Davy, who's still in the Navy, and probably will be for life. [Bridge] C G/B F/A C/G F G7 C F/C [Post-Verse] C G/B F/A C/G F C D7 G7 And the waitress is practicing polotics as the business men slowly get stoned. C G/B F/A C/G F G7 C Yes, they're sharing a drink they call lonliness, but it's better than drinking alone [Piano Solo] Am Am/G D7 F Am Am/G D7 F Am Am/G D7 G G/F C/E G7/D [Chorus] C G/B F/A C/G F C/E D7 G7 Sing us a song, you're the piano man, sing us a song tonight. C G/B F/A C/G F G7 C Well, we're all in the mood for a melody, and you've got us feeling alright. [Bridge] C G/B F/A C/G F G7 C F/C C F/C C F/C C [Verse 4] F/C C G/B F/A C/G F C/E D7 G7 It's a pretty good crowd for a Saturday, and the manager gives me a smile, C G/B F/A C/G F G7 C 'Cause he knows that it's me they've been coming to see to forget about life for a while. F/C C G/B F/A C/G F C/E D7 G7 And the piano it sounds like a carnival, and the microphone smells like a beer. C G/B F/A C/G F G7 C And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar, and say, "Man, what are you doing here?" [Pre-Chorus] Am Am/G D7 F Am Am/G D7 G Oh la, lala, lala laa. Lala, lalala, lala. G/F C/E G7/D [Chorus] C G/B F/A C/G F C/E D7 G7 Sing us a song, you're the piano man, sing us a song tonight. C G/B F/A C/G F G7 C Well, we're all in the mood for a melody, and you've got us feeling alright. [Outro] C G/B F/A C/G F G7 C F/C C F/C C F/C C F/C C
Ukulele Chords for “Piano Man” by Billy Joel: Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the ukulele chords for “Piano Man” by Billy Joel?
- The primary ukulele chords for “Piano Man” are C, G, Am, F, and D7.
- Is “Piano Man” a popular song for ukulele players?
- Yes, “Piano Man” is a beloved song among ukulele enthusiasts due to its storytelling and sing-along quality.
- What is the strumming pattern typically used for “Piano Man” on the ukulele?
- A common strumming pattern is down, down, up, up, down, up, which suits the song’s 4/4 time signature.
- Who composed “Piano Man,” and when was it first released?
- “Piano Man” was composed and released by Billy Joel in 1973 on his album of the same name.
- Can “Piano Man” be played in different keys on the ukulele?
- Yes, you can transpose the song to different keys on the ukulele to match your vocal range or preference.
- What is the tempo of “Piano Man”?
- “Piano Man” is typically played at a moderate tempo, allowing for a storytelling and folksy performance.
- What is the significance of “Piano Man” in the music industry and popular culture?
- “Piano Man” is one of Billy Joel’s signature songs and has become an enduring classic.
- Are there alternative chord progressions or variations for “Piano Man” on the ukulele?
- While the basic chords are commonly used, you can experiment with fingerpicking patterns or embellishments to add your personal touch.
- Can “Piano Man” be played with a capo on the ukulele?
- Yes, using a capo on different frets can help you adjust the song’s key to your vocal range.
- What is the overall mood and style of “Piano Man” on the ukulele?
- “Piano Man” has a storytelling, folksy style with a nostalgic and contemplative mood.
- Is “Piano Man” often performed at gatherings or sing-along events on the ukulele?
- Yes, its sing-along quality makes it a popular choice for gatherings and campfires.
- What is the role of the harmonica in “Piano Man,” and how can it be adapted for ukulele performances?
- The harmonica adds a distinctive element to the song. On the ukulele, you can use instrumental breaks or vocal harmonies to recreate its effect.
- Can you recommend tutorials or resources for learning to play “Piano Man” on the ukulele?
- Many online tutorials, chord charts, and video lessons are available to help you learn to play “Piano Man” on the ukulele.
- Is “Piano Man” suitable for ukulele players of all skill levels, including beginners?
- The song’s chord progression and melody make it accessible for players of all levels, including beginners.
- What emotions and sentiments does “Piano Man” evoke when played on the ukulele?
- “Piano Man” often evokes nostalgia, camaraderie, and the bittersweet experiences of life, making it a heartfelt song for ukulele performances.
- Are there any notable ukulele cover versions of “Piano Man” that can serve as inspiration?
- You can find ukulele cover versions of “Piano Man” by various artists on platforms like YouTube, which can offer inspiration for your own rendition.
- Can “Piano Man” be adapted for a ukulele duet or ensemble performance?
- Yes, it can be adapted for duets or ensemble performances, allowing multiple ukuleles to harmonize and create a fuller sound.
- How does the ukulele’s unique timbre enhance the overall sound of “Piano Man”?
- The ukulele’s warm and melodic qualities complement the song’s folksy and intimate character.
- Can you provide guidance on using dynamics to convey the emotions in “Piano Man” on the ukulele?
- Varying strumming intensity, volume, and tempo can help you convey the song’s storytelling and emotional depth during your ukulele performance.
- Is “Piano Man” often used as a songwriting or cover song choice for ukulele players looking to engage audiences?
- Yes, it’s a popular choice for its storytelling and audience engagement, making it an excellent option for ukulele players.
- Can “Piano Man” be played on different types of ukuleles, such as soprano, concert, or tenor?
- Yes, “Piano Man” can be played on various ukulele sizes, with the same chord progressions and strumming patterns.
- What are some techniques or embellishments that ukulele players can use to add their unique style to “Piano Man”?
- Ukulele players can experiment with slides, fingerpicking patterns, or harmonies to personalize their performance of “Piano Man.”
- Is there any historical context or significance associated with “Piano Man” in Billy Joel’s career?
- “Piano Man” is considered one of Billy Joel’s breakthrough songs and marked the beginning of his successful career.
- Can “Piano Man” on the ukulele be used in therapeutic or emotional healing music settings?
- Yes, the song’s storytelling and emotional depth make it suitable for therapeutic or emotional healing music sessions on the ukulele.
- Are there any notable live performances or renditions of “Piano Man” by Billy Joel that have left a lasting impact?
- Billy Joel’s live performances of “Piano Man” are iconic and often involve audience participation, creating memorable moments for fans.
- What is the role of the ukulele in capturing the essence of “Piano Man”?
- The ukulele’s simplicity and authenticity can help convey the song’s storytelling and sense of nostalgia.
- Can “Piano Man” be adapted to different musical genres or styles on the ukulele while retaining its core melody?
- While the song is often played in its original folk-rock style, creative ukulele players can experiment with different genres and arrangements.
- What is the connection between the song’s lyrics and the universal experiences it reflects?
- “Piano Man” speaks to universal themes of longing, camaraderie, and the ups and downs of life, which resonate with many listeners.
- How does “Piano Man” resonate with audiences when played on the ukulele in an intimate, unplugged setting?
- The song’s storytelling and relatable themes are amplified in an intimate ukulele performance, allowing audiences to connect deeply with the music.
- What role has “Piano Man” played in Billy Joel’s musical legacy, and how has it endured as a beloved song through the years?
- “Piano Man” is considered one of Billy Joel’s signature songs and continues to be cherished by fans, securing its place as a timeless classic in his musical legacy.