Billy Joel Celebrates "Christmas in Fallujah"
Anti-War Song Gets Massive Attention from Critics
Billy Joel puts a dark spin on the sentiments of John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” with his new “Christmas in Fallujah.” It’s only the second new pop song he’s written since his 1993 album, “River of Dreams.”
Released Tuesday as an iTunes-exclusive, the song features a lot of angry and forceful anti-war rhetoric.
What it doesn’t feature is Joel’s voice.
“Christmas in Fallujah” was written by Joel, but is performed by 21-year-old Long Island native Cass Dillon, who joined Joel for the song’s debut at Chicago’s Sears Centre on Saturday. Dillon, an unknown singer-songwriter, took the spotlight in front of some 10,000 people singing the Piano Man’s neo-grunge, “Kashmir”-tinged protest song.
Like Lennon’s “Happy Xmas,” “Christmas in Fallujah” arrives in the midst of an unpopular war. In a press release on his Web site, Joel says he was inspired to write the song by letters he received from U.S. soldiers in Iraq, but that he felt he was too old to sing it.
“I didn’t feel I was the person to sing this song,” said the 58-year-old. “I thought it should be somebody young, about a soldier’s age. I wanted to help somebody else’s career. I’ve had plenty of hits. I’ve had plenty of airplay. I’ve had my time in the sun. I think it’s time for somebody else, maybe, to benefit from my own experience.”
Joel found Dillon through Tommy Byrnes, a guitarist in his band, who discovered the college dropout and aspiring singer-songwriter performing at the tiny Drama Cafe in Baldwin, N.Y. After Byrnes introduced them, Joel knew Dillon was right for the song and eventually flew him out to San Francisco to record “Fallujah” on Veterans Day.
Putting his riches where his rhetoric is, Joel is donating proceeds from the song to Homes For Our Troops, a nonprofit organization that builds specially designed homes for soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with severe disabilities.
And proving that the troops are behind him on this, Joel and Dillon literally put the troops behind them for the debut performance. Lining the back of the stage, soldiers chanted “oo-ra” along with the chorus.
As a mother of a soldier, I understand what he is trying to do- as a Billy Joel fan, it’s a great song. I think it’s a little too hard for me to hear – ‘we ain’t ever coming home’ – but he is right. People have forgotten our soldiers over (especially in the blue states) and they need a reminder. Hoo-ah!
Awesome song … It hit home for me too … reminded me a lot of the bro’s from my unit.
Fantastic, absolutely fantastic!!!!! This needs to be talked about, the damn media is twisting the war, never forget the military when your cheering on the war as you stuff your fat ass face with food this holiday season.
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Original Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/entertainment/music/general/view.bg?articleid=1048794