Quote It! Billy Joel

“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. billy-joelIt’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”

–Billy Joel, who so far has had 33 Top 40 hits in the United States, all of which he wrote himself, is also a six-time Grammy Award winner, a 23-time Grammy nominee, and has sold more than 150 million records worldwide.

As a writer, I’ve always felt a connection with music. It plays while I write, heck it plays while I’m not writing. There have been times in my life, when God has ministered to me through music.

And like Joel, I believe music has healing properties. I’ve seen how music has revitalized the elderly in nursing homes–how it has comforted those who are bereft. I’ve experienced being brought back from the edge by a favorite song, or a favorite memory my brain links to when that song plays.

Music routinely ushers me into the presence of God. “Revelation Song” by Jesus Culture, for instance. Both Coram Deo projects by Charlie Peacock, or the City On A Hill projects by Marc Byrd, Steve Hindalong, and Derri Daugherty, also do it for me.

But it’s not just music from the Christian genre: “Misty” by Johnny Mathis, “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers, and “Empire State of Mind” by Alicia Keys have gripped my heart and inspired me.

How has music affected your life? Do you listen while you write?

Michael Ehret, for Writing on the Fine Line

Michael Ehret loves to play with words and as editor of the ACFW Journal, he is enjoying his playground. He also plays with words as a freelance editor here at WritingOnTheFineLine.com, where he often takes a writer Into The Edit, pulling back the veil on the editing process. He has edited several nonfiction books, played with words as a corporate communicator, and reported for The Indianapolis Star.


15 thoughts on “Quote It! Billy Joel

  1. I agree. Music can change your mood. A song can make you smile, even in your grumpiest mood.

    I get a lot of inspiration for my writing from songs. In fact, my first release “Breathless” is inspired by the Toby Keith song “God Love Her”.

  2. I believe God speaks to me through some music and challenges me with other songs. I first heard I Can Only Imagine right after a good friend’s mother died. I always think of her when that song plays, and I always try to imagine what that day will be like.
    I enjoy different genres of music, and usually have the CD player on.
    Have a great weekend.

  3. I can’t read or play music, except for some mean drum solos on my desk with pencils, but music has impacted my life in many ways. I’ve written a few songs, and love the emotion that comes out when words are put to music. I have written a novel while people from Bob Dylan, to Johnny Cash, to Newsboys sang in the background.
    Thanks for the post.

  4. I’m with you all the way, Mike. I love music, but I find it hard to listen while I write. I’m too busy enjoying the music.

    My background is about as broad as it gets, from country and bluegrass (the only thing played around the house when I was a kid), to the great bands of the 60s (Beatles, Rolling Stone, Beach Boys, and goodness knows how many others), to the great classical writers both old and modern (Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Prokofiev, and oodles more).

    But I do have a couple of weak spots. You can have John Cage’s experiments with “noise”; and after about five minutes of rap, I’m ready to listen to Buddhist monks humming. Same goes for some Celtic music. They can get on a brief melody and wear it out.

    I’m writing about music in the modern church for a blog post on my new website (if I can EVER get it up!). There’s a tremendous amount of great, moving contemporary Christian music. But I do think it’s possible for the Praise Team to get in the way of praising God. More on that in the post.

    In the meantime, I think I’ll put on “Get Up, John, by Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder. I’m moving a little too slow this morning.

  5. I’m like Jim. I can’t write when there’s music playing because my mind will follow the music every time. However, between Christmas and New Years of 2007, I lay on the sofa battling a cold and listening to the Selah CDs Jon gave me for Christmas. Scenes began to play out in my head as I listened to the powerful songs. I sat down and wrote a play, incorporating the songs, over the next couple of days. Our church team performed the play for Easter of 08 and it was later published by Eldridge. Once More with Passion has been performed by at least a dozen groups around the continent to date.

    Lately, I’ve been blessed in a whole new way, playing old hymns on my saxophone. I’m not any good, but the lyrics that meant little to me as a child now ring true more each day and my practice sessions have become mini private worship times that lift my heart and renew my spirit.

  6. My most recent bit of self-revelation is I have music playing in my head all the time, along with my own thoughts. Evidently everyone else doesn’t. It appears to be rather crowded in my head. So I really don’t enjoy any more noise when I’m trying to write. So it’s work for me to write in a coffee shop. I want a quiet environment with no distractions. Also, I don’t much remember the artist or the name of the songs I like. So it really helped me when you listed the artists you like. I didn’t know that song was Revelation Song by Jesus Culture. I’m going to break down and buy their music.

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