Billy Joel – Root Beer Rag Piano Cover by Pianotainment
A four-handed Root Beer Rag Piano Cover Version by Pianotainment, recorded in the bigBox Kempten, Germany. Accompanied by percussionist Magnus Dauner from Kempten, Germany (Pianistixx).
Root Beer Rag is a song from Billy Joel’s 1974 album Streetlife Serenade. An instrumental track in a very fast ragtime style, it was later released as the B-side of several singles from Joel’s 52nd Street album, including „Big Shot“ in the US, „Until the Night“ in the UK, and „Honesty“ in Japan and some European countries. A live version was included with the DVD that was part of the 30th anniversary re-release of The Stranger.
„Root Beer Rag“ is fast, rollicking, modern rag. Ragtime music enjoyed a short resurgence after the success of the movie „The Sting“ (1973) and its soundtrack featuring the ragtime music of Scott Joplin and others. Naturally, the piano man had to take a shot at writing his own ragtime piece. Ragtime originated in African American music in the late 19th century and descended from the jigs and march music played by African American bands, referred to as „jig piano“ or „piano thumping“. By the start of the 20th century, it became widely popular throughout North America and was listened and danced to, performed, and written by people of many different subcultures. A distinctly American musical style, ragtime may be considered a synthesis of African syncopation and European classical music, especially the marches made popular by John Philip Sousa.
„Root Beer Rag“ is an enjoyable, fun piece, allowing Billy to show off his formidable piano skills. It has broken the heart and spirit of aspiring pianists who have tried to emulate Billy Joel, just like the cascading piano solo in „Scenes From An Italian Restaurant.“
Despite the idiosyncratic nature of the song, it was a fan favorite in concerts during Billy’s early years and into the late 1970’s. It largely disappeared from his live set in the 1980’s until making a re-appearance in the late 2000’s.