Billy Joel Classic Hit ‘It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me’ Hits No. 1 on This Day in 1980

by Joe Rutland

While everybody was talking about the new sound, Billy Joel was reminding listeners on this day in 1980 about rock and roll.

“It’s Still Rock and Roll” reached the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s charts. Twitter account RetroNewsNow celebrated the memory with a tweet on Monday.

Billy Joel put the song on his album “Glass Houses.” It stayed in the No. 1 spot for two weeks in 1980 and 11 weeks in Billboard Hot 100’s Top 10 songs. “It’s Still Rock and Roll” was Joel’s first Billboard No. 1 hit song in his career.

Billy Joel Song Reflected Changing Music Tastes Yet It Remained Rock and Roll At Core

What this song seems to emphasize is how one musician looks at all the changes taking on in the music scene. The musician views his own career as heading into the sunset, offering his thoughts on what’s taking place.

The musician seems to be saying through lyrics like “Hot funk, cool punk, even if it’s old junk, It’s still rock and roll to me” something like this. Whatever style comes along, call it what you will but, to this musician, it all still adds up to rock and roll music.

It’s quite a song from the Billy Joel songbook of memorable tunes. Joel first hit it big with “Piano Man,” followed by “Just The Way You Are” and “Only The Good Die Young.” Other songs from “Glass Houses” that fans might know include “You May Be Right” and “Don’t Ask Me Why.”

‘Glass Houses’ Reached No. 4 Spot On 1980 Billboard Year-End Album Chart

“Glass Houses” found itself at No. 4 on Billboard’s year-end albums chart. Joel collaborated with Phil Ramone on the album, marking their third record working together. The other two were “The Stranger” and “52nd Street.”

The album itself was a change in course from earlier Joel albums. It opened with the sound of glass shattering, then leads into the opening notes of “You May Be Right.” Remember this was back in 1980, a time when new wave and punk music were making inroads on the scene.

Maybe Billy Joel wanted to remind his fans that rock and roll remained around. His album provided a different beat from previous recordings. It was a popular record, though, with fans.

Joel’s fans even go into the world of country music. For instance, take Garth Brooks. He’s a huge Billy Joel fan, even getting on stage at Joel’s last concert at Shea Stadium in 2008 to perform “Shameless.”

Brooks, though, doesn’t mind singing Joel songs when he gets a chance. In December 2020, he appeared on “The Kelly Clarkson Show” and performed a cover version of “Piano Man.”