Summer, Highland Falls

Today’s song is one of my favourite Billy Joel songs: Summer, Highland Falls. Written in 1977, according to Billy himself this song is about a certain stage reached in a relationship:

I lived, actually, in a town–upstate New York, right on the Hudson, just below West Point–and it’s called Highland Falls. And I lived there, and it was at a time when I was in a relationship where the bloom was off the rose, the honeymoon was over. And, you realize how disappointing it can be when you love somebody so much and then you’re mean to each other and you do hurtful things to each other. It’s all out of love, but it’s that first understanding that all is not right. You either accept it and say, ‘maybe we’re not as perfect as we thought we were’ – there’s a certain disappointment, but there’s also an acceptance. I was looking for one of those yin-yang kind of things.”

I think that it’s a beautiful song from a musical point of view: it’s a ballad, but the melody is underpinned by the fast semiquavers of the accompaniment, and the rise and fall of the melody line seems to mirror the rise and fall of the relationship. I hope you enjoy this one.

There are more Billy Joel songs in my Piano Man album and this year’s Billy Joel songs are here. If it’s your first time on the site, find out more about the 365 Songs project or see all of my April songs here.