When Billy Joel released “Piano Man” in 1973, many listeners assumed Joel himself was a piano-bar type performer. Not quite. He explains in a video what the song was really about.
Billy Joel began traveling to make presentations to students so he could pass along his knowledge to those who wanted to get into the entertainment or music industry. During one of these presentations in Harvard, an audience member asked about her favorite song, “Piano Man”. Joel went to explain who everyone in the song was, and also his own role in the bar.
John at the bar, the waitress practicing politics, Davy, Paul, and even the “old man sitting next to me, making love to his tonic and gin” were real people.
The question from the student comes just after 1:20 into the video.