Billy Joel is a well-known name in the pop music scene for decades now. He has produced numerous hit songs throughout the ’70s and ’80s that are recognized as beloved classics today.
From pop to rock, Joel’s songs are rollercoasters of emotions and sentiment. It’s no wonder his tracks are popular picks at karaoke.
We have rounded up some of Joel’s best singles that would be great at your next karaoke party. Whether you’re familiar with them or not, we guarantee you’ll fall in love with these timeless masterpieces.
The Best Billy Joel Karaoke Songs
“Piano Man” is arguably the song that defined Joel’s career in the ’70s.
Joel wrote the song himself, taking inspiration from his real-life experience working as a lounge musician in LA.
An interesting fact about “Piano Man” is that all the characters in it are based off real-life people Joel had met.
Aside from being one of Joel’s best classics, it’s a slow-paced song that would be great for beginners too.
“Only the Good Die Young“
Perhaps Joel’s most controversial track, this upbeat rock track was based on his high school crush, Virginia Callahan.
The lyrics is about a young man who desires to have a relationship with a Catholic girl, but she keeps refusing him to preserve her chastity.
The censors wanted to keep it off radio stations back then, but that only made the song become more popular.
“New York State of Mind“
Released on his 1976 album Turnstiles, this jazzy track is somewhat of a love ballad to New York City.
Joel wrote this song after spending three years travelling before coming home.
The track has become a pop standard as many artists like Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, and Joanna Wang have covered it over the years.
The inspiration for “Vienna” came after Joel had visited the city with his father.
The song revolves around old age, youth, and burnout, themes that are relatable in these modern times.
That’s why it’s no surprise “Vienna” has grown in popularity over the years and stands as one of Joel’s most streamed tracks on Spotify.
“Scenes from an Italian Restaurant“
This bluesy track is one of Joel’s most celebrated pieces for its cinematic nature and compelling plot.
The song is about a conversation between two friends who’re at an Italian restaurant. It’s divided into three parts, with each part represented by a different style of music.
It’s a pretty long track, so it’s best sung with a bunch of friends.
“We Didn’t Start the Fire“
This song was inspired by a conversation Joel had with a friend of Sean Lennon.
In this 1989 tune, he lists down the major events and disasters that has happened since he was born, proving that any era is filled with extremes.
With an energetic tune, the song is a fun challenge that takes us through history.
“Captain Jack” was never released as a single, but the live performance of this song got Joel the attention of Columbia Records and a contract with them.
The song was based on an experience where Joel witnessed suburban teens buying heroin from the local drug dealer.
Being an anti-drug number, it has a depressive rhythm and gloomy lyrics that warn of the dangers of addiction.
“Summer, Highland Falls“
“Summer, Highland Falls” perfectly captured Joel’s emotional state in the late ’70s when his songs weren’t doing as well as he’d hoped.
With a wistful melody, the lyrics go introspective with Joel reflecting on a failing relationship, in which he recognizes his own faults.
A beautiful track, it’s often cited as one of Joel’s favorite pieces in interviews.
Released in the 1979 album 52nd Street, “Big Shot” is about a woman who spends her nights around town intoxicated.
A sassy composition, it was actually based on Mick Jagger’s relationship with his wife at the time.
The song has an upbeat tune and catchy vocals that would definitely put anyone in a good mood.
“Goodnight Saigon” was created after Joel had a gathering with his friends who had been drafted into the Vietnam War.
This rock-infused ballad revolves around a group of United States marines who begin their training on Parris Island and then get involved in warfare.
It’s a raw and mature song with anti-war sentiments and has become one of Joel’s concert staples.
“Somewhere along the Line“
Joel tackles another simple topic about life in this 1973 ballad.
With a catchy tune, the song talks about how making bad choices in life intentionally can lead to consequences at some point.
It’s a straightforward song, but we have to admit it’s great, and it has a valuable lesson to teach us all.
“Two Thousand Years“
“Two Thousand Years” was published in Joel’s 1993 album River of Dreams and explores themes of hope for the future.
This optimistic song was written by Joel to inspire us to look forward to the future.
With a cheerful tune and lyrics, this track encourages us to still have faith in humanity.
“I’ve Loved These Days“
This 1973 ballad is another one of Joel’s compositions that detail his life while he was trying to build a career in LA.
Though it has a happy tune, it’s really quite depressive and cynical as he wasn’t entirely happy in the city.
Featuring dramatic instrumentals and poetic lyrics, it’s a track that would touch anyone’s hearts with how relatable it is.
“A Matter of Trust“
This 1985 hard-rock number is for everyone who’s struggling with their relationships out there.
The song revolves around trust issues in relationships, and the lyrics really dig deep on how it can affect both partners.
Despite its serious tone, the track features an energetic, poppy rhythm that makes you want to dance instead. Overall, it’s a poignant song that gets to the core of human communication.
Like most of Joel’s singles, “Honesty” explores issues in today’s society, mainly the lack of shame and tendency to spread lies.
With tender instrumentals and melancholic lyrics, it’s a great introspective song that calls us to reflect on ourselves.
It’s a good thing Joel didn’t stick to just rock and pop, if not we wouldn’t have this lovely jazzy track.
“Zanzibar” takes place in a fictional sports bar where a man is trying to hook up with the waitress.
The dreamy instrumentals and Joel’s smooth vocals give the song an exquisite vibe, making it a great choice if you want something more laidback.
“The Ballad of Billy the Kid“
Instead of an autobiography, this 1974 track tells the story of a young man who went around committing crimes and finally dying on a hill alone.
Though there exists a real Billy the Kid, Joel based this song off a bartender from New York, which explains the historical inaccuracies in the ballad.
It’s a straightforward song, but it has a special charm that makes it compelling to sing during karaoke.
You might recognize this song from Westlife, but did you know it was originally created by Billy Joel?
Released in 1983, “Uptown Girl” is based on Joel’s relationship with two models, his ex-girlfriend Elle Macpherson and his wife Christie Brinkley.
This enduring classic is so catchy and memorable that it’ll be easy to get everyone to sing along with you.
Published on the 1982 album The Nylon Curtain, “Allentown” is about the frustration and aspirations of the American working class at that time.
The song takes place in Allentown, a real-life town in Pennsylvania, and the unemployment of workers as the steel industry declines.
Despite its upbeat melody, it tackles a mature topic that’s still pretty relevant today.
“The Entertainer” is a rather satirical look on the life of a musician and the public’s fickle tastes.
Even with its cynical message, it’s an entertaining listen with its catchy and cheerful melody.
Billy Joel is really good at creating songs that hit close to home, and this track is no different.
“Movin’ Out” is a criticism on overwork culture and shows the effects of it through several characters in the song.
Besides its introspective lyrics, the catchy instrumentals and energetic tune turn it into a straight-up banger.
This 1978 song strayed away from his usual piano ballads, but like most of Joel’s compositions, it still slaps hard.
“My Life” is about following your own path without caring about other people’s criticisms and opinions of you.
An uptempo track, it features an infectious guitar-backed tune that sets a sassy and confident tone, making it perfect for belting out on stage.
Joel tackles the strained and broken relationship he has with his mother Rosalind in this gritty 1982 track.
In the song, “Laura” is described as a manipulative person who never takes any responsibility for her actions.
It’s a track that you must sing with all your heart to get all that frustration, anger, and disappointment from the lyrics out into the open.