A Look Back At Billy Joel’s 2001 Album “Fantasies And Delusions”

Sometimes A Fantasy Is All You Need…

A quick look into any Billy Joel interview or masterclass will give you an in depth look at his musical upbringing and classical background. So, it really was only a matter of time before he would take a dive from the rock world into the universe of great composers such as Chopin, Beethoven, and Rachmaninoff.

Throughout his expansive career, Billy Joel has given brief, but obvious, glimpses into his influences from piano sonata’s like “Nocturne” off his debut album Cold Spring Harbor to the songwriting inspirations of Bach or Mozart with “For The Longest Time“. So, with his love of thematic music and his knowledge of the piano, Joel went out to write the music that he grew up with and learned as a child for future generations to study and enjoy.

The title derives from Joel‘s own expedition with wanting to write compositions like the greats, but he himself not being a legendary composer. That’s where the fantasy aspect lies. The delusion part comes from the third movement of his Op. 8 Suite for piano “(Star-Crossed): Delusion” that maps the trials of love.

After writing the pieces, Joel was introduced to pianist Richard Hyung-ki Joo by his brother (conductor Alexander Joel). From there Joel hired Joo to perform the pieces as he believed Joo could play them the way they were meant to be.

To date, this is Joel‘s most recent album. However, after almost 10 years, it is still full of life and beautifully showcases another side of his songwriting talents. Upon hearing the album, it is possible to forget that these are not standards that aspiring pianists have been learning for generations. With compositions like “Invention In C Minor“, “Waltz # 1 (Nunley’s Carousel)“, and “Air (Dublinesque)“, he perfectly encompasses, along with the help of Joo, his journey’s through life while paying homage to those that came before.

I hope Joel releases more albums like this in the future especially with him performing. This is a record that also deserves more attention among classical music lovers or for anyone that appreciates the piano music. Take a chance and try something new if you don’t really listen to classical music, you won’t regret it!