Billy Joel lyrics through a Long Island lens

Presentation at West Islip Library


From hanging out at Levittown’s Village Green to cruising Manhasset’s luxe Miracle Mile shopping district, references to Long Island are sprinkled throughout Billy Joel’s lyrics.

A multimedia presentation by longtime journalist and St. Joseph’s University adjunct journalism professor, Clive Young, explores the creative process behind some of Joel’s best-known songs, and the Long Island and New York City locales that played an important part in Joel’s life and lyrics.

Young brings his multimedia presentation to the West Islip Public Library on Thursday, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m.
“Billy Joel’s New York” had its roots in a presentation Young started doing about five years ago, about Long Island and New York City locations that show up in famous rock songs.

“People liked it. But the part they really paid attention to was the 10 minutes about Billy Joel,” said Young, 55, a Rockville Centre resident.

“I wondered if I could make a program that was Billy Joel-centric,” said Young, a mainstay of the Long Island library speaker circuit, who has developed lectures on topics as diverse as Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky” movies and TV show theme songs.

Young has given his Billy Joel presentation at five libraries so far, and it’s been a hit with his audiences, mostly folks in their 50s and older, for whom Joel’s music was a big part of their young adulthood.

They know the lyrics and want to know, for example, which restaurant Joel is talking about in his “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.” 

“Everybody has a story about how they met him or went to high school with him,” said Young, who grew up in Westchester as a Billy Joel fan and came to Long Island to attend Hofstra University.

Young, editor in chief of Mix and Pro Sound magazines, two trade publications for the recording industry, has done extensive research in putting together his presentation, which runs about 70 minutes.

His research includes visiting numerous sites on Long Island and in New York City that show up in Joel’s music videos and on his album covers, such as the stairs leading to a building in SoHo on which Joel sits on the cover of his 1983 album “An Innocent Man.”

If you go...

What: Clive Young’s presentation “Billy Joel’s New York”

When: Thursday, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m.

Where: West Islip Public Library, 3 Higbie Lane, West Islip

Admission: Free. The presentation is in person. Register on the library website,