Video Review: Billy Joel “The Longest Time”

Billy Joel whistles as he sits in a chair in his high school gym. Streamers line the ceiling. A banner reads “Welcome class of ’59.” Two rows of leftover food sit in the aisle. A janitor sweeps the floor of balloons and paper cups. The janitor asks him if he’s going to leave soon. Joel responds that he’s good and smokes his cigarette.

He stares at the posters of his best friends who were voted most popular and athletic during the class elections. From the steps, he hears finger snapping and harmonizing, he turns his head. Walking into the gym are his best friends.

Joel walks on the table while his old friends walk by him. They meet him at the end of the table. Joel walks down the hallway. His friends gather by the door. Joel and his friends spot their teenage selves in the hall. He walks into the music room. One of his friends puts his arm around him and sings into a microphone. They sing by the piano. Their teenage selves watch by the door.

Joel sits on the steps by himself as the janitor sweeps. His friends find him and tell him to join them. Joel follows them into the restroom.

The janitor listens by the door. Joel fixes his corsage in the mirror. The janitor pulls back as he watches their teenage selves exit. Joel shakes his hand. The janitor is amazed.

Rating: 5/5

At his 25th high school reunion, Billy Joel chatted with his next door neighbor and ate dinner at his ex-girlfriend’s table. Over roasted chicken and spaghetti, they remembered their favorite teachers and took a walk around the high school. His ex-girlfriend pointed out her former classes. His next door neighbor gazed at the trophy case. However, Joel was hoping his best friends would attend.

He says goodbye to his former classmates and exchanges phone numbers until he is the only one left in the gym. The janitor tells him he’s going to be closing up soon. Joel tells him he’s going to stay a little longer. Fifteen minutes later, he hears his best friends snap their fingers.

In their heyday, Joel and his friends were the premiere glee club. They had won a national competition and had their choice of girls in school. Since graduation, some of his friends have owned businesses and gone off to war. He had taken a job in the bank and worked himself up to manager. They all lost touch with one another.

One friend shows Joel pictures of his family. Another friend offers him a job at his business. A third friend invites him to his yacht. So much has changed in 25 years. For Joel, life had become stale. As he sings with them, it’s as though he didn’t ever grow up. For an hour and a half, he’s a teenager again.

Director: N/A Year: 1984

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Pam Avoledo Administrator
Pam Avoledo spends her time binge-watching classic teen dramas and stands firm in her pro-Leyton stance. She also received her journalism degree in 2006 from Oakland University. Her work has been published in the White Wall Review, Sledgehammer Lit , Greatest City Collective & 45 Magazine and forthcoming in Daily Drunk Mag\'s Kristofia anthology.

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