Several years ago, my mother told me one can hear Billy Joel throw up as the song ‘My Life’ is fading out. Apparently, Bill was feeling a little under the weather while recording the vocal track but it did not hinder his singing during what became the final cut. So after learning this, I popped in the greatest hits CD and listened for it and, sure enough, it sounds as if the ‘Piano Man’ upchuks his lunch in the outro. BTW, this can also be heard on both the original version of the song on 52nd Street as well as the shortened single version heard on the greatest hits collection (volume 2 I think).
My questions are:
Have any other dopers heard this? I told a friend about my mother’s comment and he thinks it’s all bogus.
Was my mother correct? Did BJ really throw up?
If yes, then why was that segment of the vocal track not edited out?
Internet searches have not yet helped me. So, I turn to my fellow Dopers to please satisfy my somewhat morbid curiosity.
I can’t substantiate but I have seen the old video of “My Life” back when they were known as Rock Clips.
At the end of the video which is clearly a lip-sync, Billy does lean over from his piano and sort of cough into his fist as the retching sound appears on the audio.
I’ve seen Joel in concert on two occasions but don’t recall if this was a regular part of the song’s rendition.
You can clearly hear it on the original track though.
52nd Street has a strong jazz influence (Freddie Hubbard does a trumpet solo on one track), and I think BJ must have thought that weird grunting, which he does a lot on that album, was key to getting down.
I like the album a lot, but I wonder whose idea it was to have BJ holding a trumpet on the cover, as if he had the first clue how to play the darn thing.
I’ve always wondered about that sound. It sounds goofy but I can’t tell if it’s intentional or not. I doubt that they’d have left it in if it were really BJ heaving. My guess is that it was something that happened accidentally but not really gross like if he got something caught in his throat or a get-down kind of sound went awry.