20 Best Billy Joel Songs of All Time (Greatest Hits)

20 Best Billy Joel Songs of All Time

When it comes to the realm of classic rock and pop music, few artists can claim a legacy as enduring and beloved as Billy Joel. With a career spanning over five decades, this singer-songwriter has crafted timeless tunes that have become the soundtrack of our lives. In this list, we’ll explore the 20 best Billy Joel songs of all time, each one accompanied by a brief description that captures the essence of the song.

“Piano Man”

This iconic song, often considered Billy Joel’s signature tune, weaves a poignant narrative about life in a bar, where patrons come together to momentarily escape their troubles. With its memorable melody and evocative lyrics, “Piano Man” is a timeless classic.

“Uptown Girl”

Uptown Girl” is an infectious, upbeat anthem that reflects Joel’s ability to craft radio-friendly pop hits. The song’s catchy chorus and lively rhythm have made it a fan favorite for decades.

“We Didn’t Start the Fire”

In this history-packed song, Joel takes us on a whirlwind tour of historical events and pop culture references. It’s a lyrical marvel that challenges the listener’s knowledge and memory.

“New York State of Mind”

A love letter to New York City, this song captures the city’s essence through Joel’s heartfelt vocals and jazzy piano. It’s a soulful ballad that resonates with anyone who’s felt the magnetic pull of the Big Apple.

“Just the Way You Are”

Known for its romantic sentiment, this Grammy-winning ballad is a testament to the depth of Joel’s songwriting. Its simple yet profound lyrics celebrate the beauty of unconditional love.

“Scenes from an Italian Restaurant”

A musical journey in itself, this song consists of three distinct parts that tell the story of Brenda and Eddie. It’s a masterful piece that showcases Joel’s storytelling prowess.

“The River of Dreams”

This bluesy, gospel-infused track carries a spiritual undertone, and its catchy melody and dreamy lyrics make it a standout in Joel’s repertoire.

“My Life”

With its upbeat tempo and lyrics that exude a sense of independence, “My Life” is an empowering anthem that encourages listeners to embrace their individuality.


A beautiful piano-driven ballad, “Vienna” imparts a valuable life lesson – that it’s okay to slow down and savor the moment. Joel’s tender vocals and introspective lyrics make this a song of profound wisdom.

“An Innocent Man”

Paying homage to the doo-wop and R&B sound of the 1950s and 60s, this song showcases Joel’s versatility and his ability to evoke nostalgia.

“Only the Good Die Young”

Controversial upon its release, this rock-infused track remains a classic. It’s a spirited, irreverent anthem that invites listeners to live life to the fullest.

“She’s Always a Woman”

A tender and honest portrayal of a complex woman, this song captures the intricacies of love and relationships with Joel’s heartfelt lyrics and melody.

“Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)”

This high-energy track is a working-class anthem that highlights the struggles and aspirations of everyday people. Its frenetic tempo and relatable lyrics make it a fan favorite.

“Goodnight Saigon”

Joel pays tribute to the veterans of the Vietnam War in this moving and haunting song. Its vivid imagery and emotional resonance make it a powerful piece.

“Don’t Ask Me Why”

With its folk-rock feel, this song exudes a sense of nostalgia and simplicity. Joel’s evocative lyrics and memorable melody make it a hidden gem in his catalog.

“Tell Her About It”

This upbeat, Motown-inspired track is a feel-good song that encourages open communication in relationships. Its catchy chorus and danceable rhythm make it a crowd-pleaser.

“You May Be Right”

A rock ‘n’ roll anthem that oozes with rebellious spirit, “You May Be Right” is an embodiment of youthful exuberance and carefree attitude.


Addressing the decline of industrial America, this song tells a powerful story of blue-collar workers and their struggles. Its thought-provoking lyrics and memorable melody have made it a fan favorite.


A piano ballad that explores the theme of vulnerability and truth in relationships, “Honesty” showcases Joel’s emotive vocals and skillful songwriting.

“Captain Jack”

This song captures the essence of suburban youth and drug addiction in the 1970s. It’s a gritty, raw track that stands out for its candid portrayal of a generation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is “Piano Man” considered the best Billy Joel song of all time?

While “Piano Man” is undeniably one of Billy Joel’s most iconic and beloved songs, the ranking of the best song is subjective and can vary from person to person. It holds a special place in Joel’s discography, but there are many other tracks that are also highly regarded.

What is the significance of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” in Billy Joel’s career?

“We Didn’t Start the Fire” is a unique song in Billy Joel’s catalog, as it’s a rapid-fire list of historical events and cultural references. Its significance lies in its ambitious lyrical composition, challenging both Joel’s songwriting skills and listeners’ knowledge of history.

Why is “New York State of Mind” often considered one of Billy Joel’s best songs?

“New York State of Mind” is often hailed as one of Billy Joel’s best songs due to its emotional connection to the city of New York. The song’s soulful melody and heartfelt lyrics capture the essence of the city, making it a timeless tribute to the Big Apple.

What makes “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” stand out among Joel’s songs?

“Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” is a standout track due to its unique structure, comprising three distinct parts that tell a compelling narrative. It showcases Joel’s storytelling ability and musical versatility, cementing its status as one of his best works.

Why is “Captain Jack” regarded as a significant song in Billy Joel’s discography?

“Captain Jack” is significant for its raw and candid portrayal of suburban youth and drug addiction in the 1970s. It stands out for its gritty and unfiltered storytelling, providing a unique perspective on a generation’s struggles.

How have these songs impacted Billy Joel’s legacy as an artist?

These songs have played a pivotal role in establishing Billy Joel’s legacy as a singer-songwriter. They have contributed to his enduring popularity and have solidified his status as one of the most iconic and influential figures in the world of music.

Billy Joel’s music has left an indelible mark on the world of music, and these 20 songs represent the pinnacle of his songwriting and musical prowess. Each track is a testament to his ability to connect with audiences on a deeply emotional level, and they continue to resonate with fans of all ages. Whether you’re a lifelong fan or new to his music, these songs are a perfect introduction to the genius of Billy Joel.

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