Greetings on Billy Joel’s 74th birthday.
I was excited to get a look last week at the cover of my new book, whose publication date is October 13. Thought I’d share it with you. Here’s the description from Amazon.com:
Born four months apart, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel both released their debut albums in the early 1970s, quickly becoming two of the most successful rock stars of their generation. While their critical receptions have been very different, surprising parallels emerge when we look at the arcs of their careers and the musical influences that have inspired them.
Bridge & Tunnel Boys compares the life and work of Long Islander Joel and Asbury Park, NJ native Springsteen, considering how each man forged a distinctive sound that derived from his unique position on the periphery of the Big Apple. Locating their music within a longer tradition of the New York metropolitan sound, dating back to the early 1900s, cultural historian Jim Cullen explores how each man drew from the city’s diverse racial and ethnic influences. His study explains how, despite frequently releasing songs that questioned the American dream, Springsteen and Joel were able to appeal to wide audiences during both the national uncertainty of the 1970s and the triumphalism of the Reagan era. By placing these two New York-area icons in a new context, Bridge & Tunnel Boys allows us to hear their most beloved songs with new appreciation.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of landmark events in both men’s lives. In January of 1973, Springsteen’s debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ, was released on Columbia Records. It was followed ten months later by Joel’s Piano Man, also on Columbia. Neither record did especially well, and in a different pop music environment, both would have faded into obscurity. As we know, that didn’t happen.
I’ll have more to say about this book as the fall approaches. Thanks for your interest in my work.
Congratulations once again. I look forward to yet another wonderful Cullen read.
Jim, did you include the fact that both men married models in 1985 with divorce as the result? Ray/Rae are middle names for their daughters, and both men share the rarity of co-written songs with the same title: “Code of Silence.” Happy Birthday to Billy! 🎸🗽🎹🎂🥳