Craig Allen’s Fun Facts: “Movin’ Out” by Billy Joel
"Who needs a house out in Hackensack
Is that what you get with your money?"
Sounds familiar, right, New Jersey?
You know the Billy Joel story: Singer/songwriter from Hicksville, Long Island...multiple hit albums and singles since the 1970's...multiple marriages, including supermodel Christie Brinkley...monthly sell out concerts at Madison Square Garden.
And...Billy became a dad again in 2017, with the birth of Remy Anne Joel!!
If you're William Martin Joel, that's "what you get with your money."
And, WE get "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)" playing on the weekends on New Jersey 101.5.
This #17 chart hit from 1977 mentions Hackensack, and that gets our attention...but do you know what it's all about?
The lyrics refer to the New York immigrant (and by extension, New Jersey) middle class, work ethic: taking pride in working long hours to afford the outward signs of having "made it" in America.
It's called "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)," with Anthony wondering if owning a house in Hackensack (the suburbs) is worth it.
While Sargeant O'Leary is working two jobs in the hope of one day being able to move up to owning a Cadillac.
Bottom line: it's about buying stuff.
In a 2014 interview, Billy Joel said: "I've seen friends of mine who were pressured into taking a job to take care of the family, and then they never fulfill themselves." He continues: "Everybody's got...a talent. I see people wasting their lives, not putting their talent to that purpose, so they could have stuff. You get a Cadillac, and then you're fine."
About the "sound" of Movin' Out:
Billy Joel first wrote this hit-to-be to match a mystery soft ballad that he had running through his head. When he went to play the song as a demo for his band, they told him the name of the "mystery tune!"
Embarrassed that it was identical to "Laughter In The Rain," Billy made it a more rockin' tune.
I've told this "Fun Fact" on the air on New Jersey 101.5...
In 2009, Billy Joel talked about the car "peeling out" at the end of our spotlight song, saying: "That was (bassist) Doug Stegmeyer's car, who at the time had a 60's-era Corvette. He took his little tape machine in the car and hung the microphone out the rear end, and started burning rubber, screeching away from his house."
So, they took that tape into the studio, and started playing it at the end of the song..."we went on and on...having too much fun playing...we couldn't stop." Billy says that he'd look at producer Phil Ramone, and he'd say: "Ah, just keep going. Who knows how much of this we are going to use. Just go with it."
Everyone in Hackensack (ack, ack, ack)...
...and all over New Jersey says they got it...just right!