Song of the Week – Deco Dance, Elliott Murphy

Billy Joel has been all over the news in recent months.  In February he dropped his first new song in over 20 years, called “Turn the Lights Back On,” and performed it to an ecstatic audience at the 2024 Grammys that same month.  In April he gave the 100th performance of his concert residency at New York’s Madison Square Garden.  The show was broadcast on CBS on April 14th.  On the personal side, it was recently disclosed that he purchased a 5-acre property in East Hampton, complete with a horse farm, pool, and lily pond, making him a neighbor to Alec Baldwin.

But this being the SotW, you know there’s a curveball coming.  Instead of making the obvious choice of some Billy Joel obscurity, today’s SotW is “Deco Dance,” by Elliott Murphy.

You’re probably thinking “How did Tom get from Billy Joel to Elliott Murphy?”  Let’s talk!

In 1975, Murphy released a particularly good album called Night Lights.  At the time, Murphy was vying for some of the same turf Bruce Springsteen was claiming.  That may seem quaint with the benefit of hindsight, but it’s true.

Anyway, one of the best songs on Night Lights was “Deco Dance.”  Billy Joel played piano on the campy cut.  It’s blatantly evident on the opening piano intro.  Joel’s style is unmistakable.

The track also takes advantage of the stellar horn section of Michael Brecker (too many credits to list!), Howard Johnson (The Band, John Lennon), Lou Marini (Frank Zappa, J Geils, Blues Brothers), Lew Soloff (B,S&T) and Tom Malone (B,S&T, Blues Brothers).

Night Lights is of its time, but still satisfies today.  Besides “Deco Dance,” Murphy’s rant about the fleeting satisfaction of celebrity culture and fame, it has another song called “Lady Stilletto (sic),” written as an homage to Patti Smith.

Enjoy… until next week.