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An Appreciation of Billy Joel's song, THE DOWNEASTER 'ALEXA' (1 Viewer)

Dick

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Don't know if you own or have heard this song, from the album STORM FRONT (1989), but it has to be one of the most poignant and beautifully-written songs ever. It tells the sad (and unfortunately accurate, even more so since Joel wrote it) tale of a Long Island fisherman who is facing the now-universal dearth of fish. The lyrics, which you can find online, are simply great (and I do not throw the adjective "great" around blithely like too many people do). The melody and vocal performance are simply perfect. The entire CD is worth a purchase for this song alone, but there are other fine ones as well.
 
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Scott Merryfield

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Yes, that was a wonderful song on a terrific album. I've owned this album on CD since it was first released, and my wife and I also saw Joel's Storm Front tour when it came to The Palace of Auburn Hills -- we were newly married back in 1989. I've always been a big fan of Billy Joel's music.

Other favorite songs of mine from that album are Shameless (I think a country singer covered this a few years ago), Storm Front, And So It Goes, That's Not Her Style, and of course the most popular song from that album -- We Didn't Start The Fire. The song Leningrad is touching, too, as it's about his visit to perform in Russia.
 

Josh Steinberg

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This is a beautiful song, written to address hardship faced by Long Island fishermen. I grew up on Long Island and sadly, much of what Joel wrote and sang about came to pass, and the local industry doesn’t exist as it once did.

A little bit of trivia: on the album, the violin solo is credited to “World Famous Incognito Violinist” - it’s Itzhak Perlman. Due to a record company dispute, Perlman’s label would not allow him to record on Joel’s label, but they did it anyway. Perlman will occasionally make an appearance at a Joel concert to perform the song, and I hope to one day be at one of the shows when it happens.
 
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Scott Merryfield

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Always seemed like a response to the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald to me.



Not really. One was about the shipwreck of a large freighter, the other about the hardships of being a fisherman.

BTW, if any of you ever happen to be in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, check out the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point. They have the ship's bell from the Edmund Fitzgerald on display. There is also a restored lighthouse on the grounds which can be toured. It's a very cool place, not too far from Sault Ste. Marie, where the Soo Locks are located.
 

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