Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)
Writer(s): Billy Joel (see lyrics here)
Released: November 1, 1977
First Charted: March 18, 1978
Peak: 17 US, 14 CB, 13 GR, 19 HR, 15 RR, 40 AC, 7 CL, 35 UK, 11 CN, 99 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): 1.0 US
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 24.7 video, -- streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
Billy Joel became a superstar with his 1977 album The Stranger. In four previous albums, he’d landed two top-40 hits with “Piano Man” (#25) and “The Entertainer” (#34). The Stranger generated four top-25 hits – “Just the Way You Are” (#3), “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” (#17), “Only the Good Die Young” (#24), and “She’s Always a Woman” (#17).
Joel wrote “Movin’ Out,” the album’s second single, as an attack on the “New York working-class immigrant masculine ethos.” SF He said he saw friends who wasted their talents in favor of working long hours at unfulfilling jobs to afford the appearance of success. In the song, he cites characters such as Sergeant O’Leary who works two jobs so he can trade in his Chevy for a Cadillac.
Joel said Anthony isn’t a real person but a representation of “every Irish, Polish, and Italian kid trying to make a living in the U.S.” WK He is also stuck in the pursuit of the American dream, pondering if it is worth the effort to own a home in the suburbs of Hackensack, New Jersey.
Billboard described “Movin’ Out” as an “upbeat narrative that is…a commentary on upward mobility.” WK Cashbox said the “growling cellos and a pulsating rhythm section set the mood for Joel’s threatening indictment of middle-class values..” WK It also said the song had “one of the best choruses he has written in some time, combined with unusual effects, a yapping horn section, and a melodic guitar finale that wraps it up nicely.” WK
First posted 12/28/2022.
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