A college lecture by Billy Joel turns into a performance to remember for Vanderbilt student and audience

I don’t often have cause to share music videos but this magnanimous moment by performer Billy Joel while speaking recently at Vanderbilt University is worth sharing:

50 comments Add your comment


March 14th, 2013
4:37 am

Dude is a class act. I always have and always will love Billy Joel.

Jack ®

March 14th, 2013
6:00 am

I never put any faith in anything that show business people have to say. There’s always an ulterior motive. Always.

Dog Island Gator

March 14th, 2013
6:37 am

What’s the conspiracy here Dr John Trotter?

heavy sigh

March 14th, 2013
7:04 am

@Jack – Did that include Reagan?


March 14th, 2013
8:11 am

Great stuff. Thanks for sharing.


March 14th, 2013
8:34 am

Nice way to start my day

mother of 2

March 14th, 2013
8:43 am

How wonderful! I liked the fact that Billy Joel complimented the student and told him to take a chance.


March 14th, 2013
8:53 am

I love it! The kid can play piano! I’ve always loved Billy Joel… brings back such memories — its great to see him working with the college set (but I miss him on tour).

My goodness...

March 14th, 2013
9:17 am

Saw this the other day. Way too cool!

I feel bad for people like Jack…that level of cynicism must be sad to live with.

Truth in Moderation

March 14th, 2013
9:34 am

What is this, Vandy’s Got Talent? LOL!
Nice job. I love Billy Joel. Please check him out in his younger days….
ht tp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4nQB3V10i8


March 14th, 2013
9:42 am

I appreciate the brass it took to ambush a Billy Joel mic. OMG. This kid will go far.

the good doctor

March 14th, 2013
9:54 am

It appears that no matter how positive something is someone will always be negative about it… somebody please give Jack a hug.

Private Citizen

March 14th, 2013
10:24 am

The conspiracy is an electronic as opposed to acoustic piano. Now I know that I would not attend Vanderbilt based on the fact that they don’t use acoustic pianos, plus I know a graduate (dr. so & so) of their education school that is a total thief. -That person wakes up in the morning to steal, like birds away to sing.

Something boyish, unique, about Billy Joel.

Private Citizen

March 14th, 2013
10:33 am

The passed law in Chattanooga prohibiting electronic pianos, they even had a police blockade set-up between the Wal-Mart and the university to make sure that none got through. I guess the reach of that law hasn’t made it to Nashville. One a more serious note, it is much ironic that in Nashville, home of the Grand Old Opry and country music, that Vanderbilt would now be using a plastic, vinyl, and fiberboard made-in-China electronic gadget for a piano. Maybe it all changed after the basement of Ryman Auditorium was flooded, the place where they kept the instruments.


March 14th, 2013
10:41 am

Not much of a driver, but the guy does everything else well. Love Billy Joel.

Private Citizen

March 14th, 2013
11:06 am

“New York state of mind” circa 2006 – take the biggest apartment complex in the city and sell it on-credit to super-greedy property developers, who turn it upside down, make everybody’s life a tedium of hell for four years, and then finally lose their scheme after four years. I guess this is how to “produce” from a “circa 2006 New York state of mind.” Produce hassle and misery. Sound familiar, anyone? Sounds like Race to the Top. Although, seriously, Tishman Speyer would do a better job of ….

New Poster

March 14th, 2013
11:22 am

Am waiting to see how Trotter will use the content today to plug his business.

home-tutoring parent

March 14th, 2013
11:34 am

Class act? BJ has been married and divorced three times. Not exactly a family-man role model.

His “Captain Jack”, used as Hillary’s 2008 campaign exit music, was about heroin.

I “inherited” his “Greatest Hits” CD from my oldest son. (He left it when he moved out.) “Second Wind” is a really good pop song.

Overall, as a 1940s born pop-music composer and performer, BJ is not even close to post-WWII-born Stevie Wonder or James Taylor. Brian Wilson. born during WWII, is the very best of the born-in-the-forties pop composers and performers, by a far margin..

Private Citizen

March 14th, 2013
11:38 am

Truth’s link to “young Billy Joel” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4nQB3V10i8

Private Citizen

March 14th, 2013
11:43 am

hey home tutoring parent, after the success of the Beach Boys and competing with The Beatles for best psychedelic album (many say the Beach Boys won)(”Good Vibrations” vs. “Sergeant Pepper’s”) , there is at least one Beach Boys Wilson brother who was absolutely hanging on to their sanity by a thread and had to have a keeper (assisting human) with them for basic things. Tragic, really.


March 14th, 2013
11:44 am

New Poster

March 14th, 2013
11:22 am
Am waiting to see how Trotter will use the content today to plug his business.


What’s wrong , did he stike a nerve? …


March 14th, 2013
11:49 am

Private Citizen

March 14th, 2013
11:51 am

Home tutoring parent, you realise that Lionel Ritchie and Kenny Rodgers are actually the same person?

Pride and Joy

March 14th, 2013
12:00 pm

Good News Goes unnoticed. I’m sruprised Get Schooled hasn’t published anything abut APS’ decision for a school calendar. After protests from parents, APS listened. Good News! The new calendar is traditional with improvements. All teacher work days, except one, are coupled with an existing holiday or other day off, which means, a taecher can go to her work day then afterward, enjoy the three day vacation. Parents will have a much easier time finding child care because they will have fewer times when they need to find someone to care for their children.
The year starts at the first of August (first week) and ends before Memorial day.
Kudos to parents for getting involved and kudos to APS for listening and taking action.
APS has decided to move all their schools from “balanced” to traditional because many parents weren’t enrolling their kids until August even if the school was supposed to start much earlier.
So now everybody wins.
Good news!

Sk8ing Momma

March 14th, 2013
12:02 pm

What an awesome and memorable performance! Kudos for the kid asking…He wouldn’t be any worse off if the answer had been, “No.” It’s always worth asking for what one wants!

Private Citizen

March 14th, 2013
12:04 pm

Today, Billy Joel would be one of those terrible statistics, not graduating from high school. Although, “In 1992, he submitted essays to the school board and was awarded his diploma at Hicksville High’s annual graduation ceremony, 25 years after he had left.”

“If I’m not going to Columbia University, I’m going to Columbia Records, and you don’t need a high school diploma over there’.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Joel


March 14th, 2013
12:37 pm

Got to give it to the student. Took a chance and delivered a solid performance.

Colonel Jack

March 14th, 2013
12:50 pm

Out-freaking-standing. Well played, Michael … and a ginormous thumbs-up to Mr. Joel for not only singing along, but recognizing and encouraging the young man’s talent! Feel-good story of the day. Thanks for sharing that, Maureen.

DeKalb County Grad

March 14th, 2013
12:59 pm

Love Billy Joel. Heard him play at the old music performance across the FOX bazillion years ago. He can take a classical song and rif into rhythm and blues. Creative and funny. He’s had a few problems and who hasn’t in this blog – then you can toss stones.

Mary Elizabeth

March 14th, 2013
1:19 pm

How gracious of Billy Joel to ask the young man’s name – Michael Pollock – and to say Pollock’s name twice to the audience and to the video camera to give the young man a generous plug. Billy Joel has natural qualities that make for a great teacher, i.e. wanting to see one under his influence succeed, being there in the moment with the student’s needs, not being afraid of spontaneous interaction with the student, having the generosity of spirit and the skill to bring out the best in the student, and encouraging the student to “take a chance and fly” on his own.

Btw, having spent nearly seven years of my 20s in NYC, while working and going to school there, I find that I often remain, even today, in a New York state of mind. This song has easily brought that awareness home to me.

Wonderful performance, Maureen. Thank you for sharing it.


March 14th, 2013
2:19 pm

Brilliant! Totally blown away!


March 14th, 2013
2:30 pm

Ok, let’s forget the quality of the PIANO and Billy Joel’s DIVORCES and DEKALB and talk about THE MOMENT, folks. A very generous thing to have done, and a boost from someone who has been there, to someone who wants to be there. So easy it would have been to say no! All of us in the older set, including us 60-and-older types still clinging to our jobs, need to find ways to make room for the the new generations. Just like in this moment. And those kids will absolutely hit the nail on the head, like this one did.


March 14th, 2013
2:40 pm

Wonderful! That young man is NEVER going to forget that evening, I’m sure!

What's Best for Kids?

March 14th, 2013
3:50 pm

How lovely.
We forget that we are here for the kids even if the money is good for the lecture circuit.

Slo Pony Dog Food Company

March 14th, 2013
4:19 pm

“Good News Goes unnoticed.”

Not with me it doesn’t !

Take a gander at THIS,educrats!!!!


I used to live in Alabama.The state government there has been led around by the nose by the AEA (teachers union) since…Oh,gee the stone age.Anyway,when I read that this has passed in…(gulp) Alabama (!) I just had to share the good news with all of you here on this board.

We’ll be raising a glass to the death of bad schools tonight here at “The Company”!


DeKalb Inside Out

March 14th, 2013
4:47 pm

Underhanded SPLOST
Fernbank was obviously given preferential treatment…

This data comes from “Proposed Organization (Dec 6, 2012 Version)”. It’s the current 2013 school year utilization and the projected 2017 school year utilization. Of the schools listed below, Fernbank is the only one getting relief. Nice to be at Fernbank. Sucks for the rest of you.

School Utilization
School……………….SY 2013…..SY 2017
Fernbank ES…………..117%………84%
Vanderlyn ES………….145%…….155%
Dresden ES……………126%…….125%
Ashford Park ES……..124%…….136%
Cary Reynolds ES……124%…….127%
Woodward ES…………124%…….127%
Dunwoody HS…………122%…….143%

On a side note: North DeKalb can thank Fran Millar for most of his schools being over 100% utilized in 2017. There will be a generation of children, not in Fernbank, that spend their educational lives in trailers. Alas, that is another story.



March 14th, 2013
4:52 pm

Well said Mary Elizabeth. Great clip.


March 14th, 2013
5:15 pm

Dekalb Inside Out….”There will be a generation of children, not in Fernbank, that spend their educational lives in trailers”

Who cares…… In the meanwhile we have Deal’s puppets looking out for more more goodies for you know who !!!!

Private Citizen

March 14th, 2013
5:22 pm

”There will be a generation of children, not in Fernbank, that spend their educational lives in trailers”

They need to get all of that straight so that fair is fair across the schools. This situation brings to the fore this weird system of unequal funding within a district. It is shameful. The whole idea of living in a metropolitan city and going to class in a trailer, it really says a lot about the ruling class (with the money) just turning their backs on the public.

Mary Elizabeth

March 14th, 2013
5:36 pm

@ Momcat, 4:52 pm

Thank you, Momcat. I became so “inspired” by the treat of Billy Joel and Michael Pollock performing together that I just had to wax on a bit! :-)


March 14th, 2013
6:07 pm

Lovely and fun, but there’s education stuff going on in Fulton? Would love to see some commentary on our superintendent’s latest proclamations?

home-tutoring parent

March 14th, 2013
6:16 pm

Private Citizen,

Brian Wilson got totally f/u’d on drugs. He hit the charts with “Surfin USA”. a total rip-off of Chuck Berry’ “Little Sweet Sixteen”. but new lyrics were great. But “Little Deuce Coup’ “I Get Around”, “All Summer Long,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” were Brian’s own. “Pet Sounds” and”Holland” were great albums. The falsettos and harmonies of the Beach Boys were awesome.

I saw the BB’s when Carl and Dennis Wilson were alive. Early 70s. Brian had left the band, but mysteriously showed up. Mike Love and Al Jardine were there.

The Original Beach Boys live. Pretty hard to find a better pop concert.

home-tutoring parent

March 14th, 2013
6:39 pm

I listen to lots of artists, riding my bike, runnig the iPod. Nat “King” Cole and his daughter Natalie. Najee is awesome.

home-tutoring parent

March 14th, 2013
6:57 pm

Maureen, you have to ask yourself some questions.

Would I be happier spending more time with my daughters? Yes or No, answer the question in your mind.

Do I think I could teach my daughters better than DeKalb schools? Yes or No, answer the question in your mind.

home-tutoring parent

March 14th, 2013
8:23 pm

With home-schooling my kids were admitted to Columbia, Dartmouth and Chicago.

Your best school, Emory, has an 85% 4-year from matriculation-to-degree graduation rate .After that, Georgia universities’ and colleges’ 4-year-degree-earned numbers are pathetic.

Public Citizen is a serial bore

March 14th, 2013
8:36 pm

Why do 2-3 seriously lonely people haunt this blog day & night? Why do they force us to have to scroll past their emotional baggage?

DeKalb Graduate

March 14th, 2013
8:37 pm

Wonderful! Great. BJ rocks. A 70’s and 80’s kind of guy! What a wonderful thing to witness!

Private Citizen

March 14th, 2013
10:24 pm

Looking forward to the new registration system 3…2…

PS Whoever you are, you do not have my permission to use my user name within your “handle.”

cautiously optimistic

March 15th, 2013
7:32 am

God Bless the Teacher!

March 16th, 2013
8:15 am

Great video! Great moment! Some bitter people responding to this post (and quite off topic). I can’t believe I’m actually saying this…I’m glad I don’t know Jack (r).