Billy Joel, and Cream, take me to the bridge

Billy Joel and the badge bridge  

Generally speaking, I am not a fan of the bridge in a rock song.  Maybe I should back up, since you don’t know what a bridge is.  It’s ok, you aren’t dumb,  most non-musicians don’t know the term.

Here is the proper definition if a bridge.  Here, more importantly, is my understand and perception of a song bridge.  It’s a weird piece of forced music that always happens 2/3rds of the way through the song. That is exactly where every bridge is, and I don’t known why.  It’s after the second verse, second chorus, and after the guitar solo.

Again, there is very possibly a unique and pertinent reason for songs to have bridge sections.  In rock, though, no one knows the reasons, so they always feel forced to me.  Before we go any further, a funny story about the bridge.  When Eric Clapton was working with George Harrison (my god, how much fun was that sentence to read?) they made that great, great, great song –Badge.  It’s a Cream song, technically… but it was Clapton and Harrison.  Harrison had written the song out, and even made a special note where the bridge of the song was.  He even wrote ‘bridge’ for his pal.  His pal mis-read the note, and thought it said ‘badge’.  That is how the song got the name, just a silly in joke between two of the greatest people in rock.

Side note, that song may have the best bridge ever written.  Fuck, it’s good.  We used to play this in my band, just because playing this bridge got me off.  In this studio version, the bridge comes in at exactly 1:05 into the song.  To me, that is very not Clapton.  I’ll bet your wife George Harrison wrote that, and I’ll also bet it’s all he wrote of the song.  One last distraction, I promise.  If you love Cream, like you pretend you do, dig this song.  I fucking LOVE it.  You will never hear it on the radio, and I don’t know why.  It seems super radio friendly to me.  Maybe I love the song because it is so stupid. I’ll bet you it is an inside joke between the band members.  Going to google it now, but just assume it is.

We are here to talk about Billy Joel, great bridges, and the song ‘Big Shot’.  This came on the radio the other day and I just LOVE the bridge.  That is super rare.  Believe it or not, I have been thinking about writing a piece on song bridges, and how much they vex me as a musician.  Big Shot’ comes out in 1978.  The song is straight out 4/4 rock.  Classic Billy Joel.  Then, the bridge comes it and it has nothing to do with the song, at all.  Not even a little.  It becomes a weird rag time throwback to ‘Scenes from an Italian Restaurant”

I love it because it Billy seems to get the fact that the bridge is unnecessary.  So, he stops the song and takes a hard left turn to New Orleans.  Tell me what you think.  The bridge hits at 2:07 pm.  At least, I think that’s a bridge.  It could be a weird ass solo thingy.  Tough to tell!


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