Billy Joel performs at Tokyo Dome on Jan.24 in Tokyo. 

Billy Joel performs at Tokyo Dome on Jan.24 in Tokyo.  Credit: Getty Images / Taylor Hill

It was the “summer of ’75" on “Jeopardy!” Wednesday, as Billy Joel’s “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” was a clue on the long-running syndicated game show.

In this seventh quarterfinal round of Group 1 in its Winter 2024 Champions Wildcard tournament, the $800 clue in the regular “Jeopardy!” category “Our Song” read: “One of his ‘Scenes from an Italian Restaurant’ had “Brenda & Eddie … the popular steadies & the king & the queen of the prom.’ ”

Dillon Hupp, an associate director of development from Syracuse, correctly deduced, “Who is Billy Joel?” Hupp eventually came in third place in the episode, with zero dollars. Kelly Barry, a marketing communications manager from Seattle, finished as runner-up, with $1,800, and Lloyd Sy, a Yale University associate professor of American literature, originally from Rockford, Illinois, took the win with $24,399.

An album cut never released as a single, the sharp but poignant ballad “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” is the fourth track on Joel’s 1977 album “The Stranger.” It recounts the doomed romantic arc of high school stars Brenda and Eddie, with the narrator singing that in their heyday, “Nobody looked any finer / Or was more of a hit at the Parkway Diner” — a fictional place metaphoric of the many classic Long Island diners.

They “were still going steady in the summer of '75” and got married “at the end of July,” but their union was doubtful: “Brenda you know you're much too lazy / Eddie could never afford to live that kind of life.” They fought over money and divorced, parting amicably.

“Jeopardy!” does not give those named in the clues advance notice. Joel’s representative had no comment. The Rock & Roll Hall of Famer had performed at Japan's Tokyo Dome on Wednesday.

The Hicksville-raised Joel, who has homes in Centre Island and Sag Harbor, has been a “Jeopardy!” clue before. He was featured four months ago in the category “Bills, Billys and Williams” (“Billy Joel's time playing a lounge in L.A. led to this, Billy's first Top 40 hit; great tune, but 'tonic & gin' still sounds weird,” a clue for the song “Piano Man”). 

Eight months ago, the climactic "Final Jeopardy!" clue, in the category “Billboard No. 1 Hits,” was “Billy Joel said, ‘I think the one time I didn’t write the music’ before the lyrics was for this 1989 hit, 'and I think it shows.' ” The correct answer was “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” the music for which Joel has famously said sounds “like a mosquito buzzing around your head.”

Five-time Grammy Award winner and Grammy Legend recipient Joel, whose next Madison Square Garden residency concert is set for Feb. 9, on Monday announced that his first new song in nearly 17 years, “Turn the Lights Back On,” will drop on Feb. 1.

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