What does it mean to go viral on the internet? It means many things. Some say you need to do something that’s never been done before. My guess is that Shirl and You will never go viral,
but wouldn’t that be fun? Viral comes from the word “virus”, and its been explained as something that “infects” people. Actually this is not a sickness, but it happens when people are so impressed or amused by something, they see or read, that a they “share” it. Generally, it is a video. You’ve seen them of children and pets doing some of the most unusual things. It’s not always a video, it may be a photo, article, quote, a tweet, etc., that appeals enough to the masses that hundreds, even thousands of people share it. It gets so much attention that oftentimes the originators are invited to appear on TV .
It happened to nineteen year old, Michael Pollack. He’s a pianist, singer-songwriter who
grew up on the North Shore of Long Island, New York. His musical talent has been recognized ever since he began performing on the piano at the age of seven. But it wasn’t until last January, when he asked to accompany Billy Joel, that a video of the event went viral.
It took place at Vanderbilt University, where Michael attends, and where Billy Joel was conducting a Question and Answer session. What was Michael’s question? Being a longtime fan of Billy Joel, he asked if he could accompany him. As I watched the performance, I wondered if this had been set-up ahead of time, but this didn’t appear to be so. The audience was amazed to hear Billy agree to his request. Michael suggested the song, “New York State Of Mind” And the performance was amazing.
Here’s how most people responded to the happening. They thought Billy was a gentleman, and a real person to do as he did. “Billy inspired me to be more compassionate and caring” said another. “He openly showed his human side,” was another comment. Everyone offered congratulations to Michael believing his talent would be enhanced ten fold. The confidence he showed in asking to perform with his favorite musician, paid off. The video of his epic performance went viral and he appeared on a number of TV shows.
I can’t say that Billy Joel has been a favorite musician of mine, but then very few secular
artists, make my list of favorites. Billy Joel, though, has made his way into the musical world since 1967, when he left High School. He is quoted as having said that he was not going to Columbia University, but to Columbia Records. Twenty five years later he was awarded his high school diploma, by then, he had made it “big” in the entertainment field.
His first big release in 1973, was a song he wrote, called, “Piano Man.” This jazzy piano solo is a favorite of piano students. It is a drinking song and the lyrics depict Joel’s experience as a piano/lounge singer, which he was for six months. Many of you will remember these words which were repeatedly sung: “Sing us a song, you’re the piano man, Sing us a song tonight.” It became Billy Joel’s signature song. I have a friend, Nita, who cleverly rewrote the lyrics so they wouldn’t be offensive to those opposed to drinking alcohol, those whose families have been devastated by the results.
Billy’s father, Howard Joel, a classical pianist, was born in Germany and was the son of a Jewish merchant and manufacturer. The family immigrated to the United States to escape
the Nazi regime. At his mother’s insistence, he began piano lessons at an early age. And so the story goes…….coming from a musical family, he became an accomplished musician. He was married four times. One of his wives was Christie Brinkley, super model, one of the richest models in the world. She, too, was married four times. Obviously, he believed in the institution of marriage, but it is common knowledge that it is very difficult for marriages to last in the entertainment world.
We’ve covered a lot of ground in this Shirl and You and none of the info falls into the viral category. However, it will be interesting to follow Michael Pollack’s career. His performance with Billy Joel certainly did give him a great boast in his career.
I hope to hear many of your comments to this Shirl and You. It’s simple to do. Just click on the heading of this post, scroll down to the bottom and you’ll find the form where you may type your comments. And, keep “sharing!” In doing so, you may cause the spread of a virus on the internet