David Rosenthal, Billy’s keyboardist and Music Director, has carefully arranged all the tracks from Joel’s classic 1976 release to combine the piano parts and vocal melodies into playable arrangements while transcribing those classic piano parts that are integral to each song. This book features all eight classic songs: All You Wanna Do Is Dance • I’ve Loved These Days • James • Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway) • New York State of Mind • Prelude/Angry Young Man • Say Goodbye to Hollywood • Summer, Highland Falls. Includes a foreword by David Rosenthal.
Click to read David’s Foreword
Turnstiles was Billy’s third album on Columbia Records, his forth album as a solo artist. Released in May of 1976, Turnstiles was a transitional work that celebrated Billy’s move from California back to his home state New York. He said good-bye to Hollywood, and began the New York state of mind that would inspire him for years to come.
Having played keyboards in Billy Joel’s band since 1993, I have become very familiar with his music. In 2008, Billy asked that I review the sheet music to his entire catalog of songs. As I am also a pianist, he entrusted me with the task of correcting and re-transcribing each piece, to ensure that the printed music represent his songs exactly as they were written and recorded.
The challenge with each folio in Billy’s catalogue is to find musical ways that combine his piano parts and vocal melodies into playable piano arrangements. First, the signature piano parts were transcribed and notated exactly as Billy played them on the original album (i.e. the classic intros to New York State of Mind and Miami 2017, the majestic I’ve Loved These Days, and of course the fiery and energetic intro to Prelude/Angry Young Man, etc.). The vocal melodies were then transcribed and incorporated into the piano part in a way that preserves the original character of each song.
Many people ask how to play the famous opening to Prelude/Angry Young Man. The rapid 16ths on Middle C should be thought of like a drum roll (in fact the part was originally inspired by the drum solos in the song “Wipe Out”). This part should be played leading with the right hand thumb and alternating with the left hand index finger. I’ve notated this accordingly by dividing the middle C’s appropriately between the 2 staffs. The right hand then makes the jumps to play the ascending 3rds.
The intro and ending to Miami 2017 are exactly as Billy played them. Since the ending fades out on the original recording, I included an alternate ending which is exactly how we perform it live. The classic “New York State of Mind” has an optional shorter ending, and although the complete intro is written out, I also indicated where to start if you’d like to begin with a simpler 4-bar intro.
All of the arpeggiated piano parts in “Summer Highland Falls” are written out exactly as Billy played them, but in the verses, the part is modified to also include the vocal melody.
On “James”, the two simultaneous Rhodes piano parts you hear on the record have been combined into a single playable part, and the flourishes that Billy plays between the vocal phrases are all intact. Even the sax solo is integrated into the piano part.
All of the songs in this collection received the same astute attention to detail. The result is sheet music that is both accurate and enjoyable to play, and remains true to the original performances.
Billy and I are pleased to present the revised and now accurate sheet music to the album Turnstiles.