Has it ever been cool to like Billy Joel? For me, being a fan has meant being on the defensive for thirty years, and occasionally, to my shame, hiding my love away.

My mind goes back to the fall of 1978, when 52nd Street was released. I’d just turned sixteen. After school, I was at a friend’s house, listening to albums. Picture the scene: A bedroom lit by red bulbs and black lights, the walls covered with posters – those pyramids from Dark Side Of The Moon, Jethro Tull, ELP, The Dead, and a florescent Captain Zig-Zag. Incense burning from the belly of a little gold-plated Buddha. Sony turntable with the frosted hood. Marantz receiver with the brushed steel knobs. Into this den of prog rock cool, I introduced an interloper.

“Hey, have you heard Billy Joel’s new album?”