Friday, 1 March 2013

Billy Joel: Rock God

Today's slice of nonsense is a piece of ear shattering, head banging heavy metal from the rock god that is Billy Joel.

Yes, you read that right: Billy Joel.

For before Mr Joel began his career as a simpering, piano playing songsmith, before he married a model wrote an international smash about her and divorced her, before his attempted suicide by drinking furniture polish and before his box office-busting tours with Elton John, Billy Joel was a sub-Jon Lord-esque keyboard player in a heavy metal duo called Attila.

Formed from the ashes of his previous band the Hassles, Attila consisted of Joel on keyboards and vocals and drummer Jon Small. Small was Joel's best friend; it was he who rushed Joel to hospital after his attempted suicide and he who was repaid when Joel ran off with Small's wife. The pair seem to have patched things up though, and have collaborated on several projects since.

But back to Attila.

The duo released just one album, the self-titled Attila in 1970, and it’s just about the most ridiculous, bombastic piece of rock dross you’re ever likely to hear. Housed in a ridiculous sleeve, featuring the pair dressed as medieval soldiers surrounded by hanging animal carcasses like a brace of dark ages butchers, it was described by Joel himself as ‘psychedelic bullshit’. Pleasingly, the album features such inspired song titles as Amplifier Fire Part 1: Godzilla, Amplifier Fire Part 2: March of the Huns and Brain Invasion. Says Joel: “We had about a dozen gigs and nobody could stay in the room when we were playing. It was too loud. We drove people literally out of clubs.”

Called ‘the worst album released in the history of rock & roll’ by critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine, why not have a listen to a couple of tracks of this preposterous drivel and decide for yourself? Here, for your delectation, is Attila with Wonder Woman and Rollin’ Home.


  1. Fabulous.Thank you.

  2. "’s just about the most ridiculous, bombastic piece of rock dross you’re ever likely to hear."

    Doesn't that describe all heavy metal?

  3. This convinces me you know precisely jack shit about music or at least those too heavy for your comfort zone, and it comes off as incredibly naïve to stigmatize a gem like this simply because you can't handle the genre itself - somehow I expect the same reception would have been given to Uriah Heep, or Norman Haines, or Atomic Rooster, or Lucifer's Friend, or any number of organ-drenched protometallic acts.

    But then I suppose you were simply expecting your safe familiar Piano Man.

    1. Lol! I suspect 'Piano Man' might've gotten worse.


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