Billy Joel song of the day: "Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)" (from 1976's "Turnstiles")
For 25 years, "Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)" was the science-fiction song Joel had envisioned -- a tale of the fall of New York City told from the safe confines of Florida.
Then the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, happened and suddenly the unthinkable seemed eerily possible and "Miami 2017" took on a completely different meaning.
"I thought it was going to be a science-fiction song -- I never thought it would happen," Joel said famously, during "The Concert for New York City" to benefit victims of 9/11. "But unlike the end of that song, we ain't going anywhere."
"Miami 2017" became a rallying cry -- to party in the face of destruction. Joel changed some of the lyrics in 2012 to chronicle the destruction caused by superstorm Sandy. However, the song's message remains the same regardless of the threats: We went right on with the show.
"I was living in L.A. at the time," Joel explained at one of his master classes in 2001. "New York City was on the verge of default, almost about to go bankrupt. New York City asked the federal government for a loan to help bail 'em out and basically the federal government said, 'No' ... I'm picturing the apocalypse occurring in New York ... I like the idea of writing a song that transcended time. It was supposed to be a science-fiction song, "Miami 2017" -- that's the place, that's the year, that's when I'm telling the story. I think it was inspired originally by the idea of what The Beatles did on 'Sgt. Pepper's' ['A Day in the Life'].
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