August 5, 2012 by David K. Sutton
Insomniac Edition: Billy Joel – Miami 2017 (Seen the lights go out on Broadway) – Live
Billy Joel – Miami 2017 (Seen the lights go out on Broadway) – Live (2011)
The release of Turnstiles followed Billy Joel’s return to his hometown of New York from a brief foray in Los Angeles which resulted in the albums Piano Man and Streetlife Serenade. Several of the songs are linked to this transition, including “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” and “New York State of Mind.”
Speaking at the University of Pennsylvania in 2001, Joel explained that he wrote the song while living in Los Angeles in 1975, when New York City was on the verge of default. Joel stated that people in Los Angeles, including former New Yorkers, were deriding New York for its troubles. Joel says he thought, “If New York’s going to go down the tubes, I’m going to go back to New York.” He explains that the song depicts the apocalypse occurring in New York, “the skyline tumbling down, this horrendous conflagration happening in New York City.” Joel stated that the song is titled “Miami 2017” because many New Yorkers retire to Miami and the narrator is telling his grandchildren in the year 2017 about what he saw in the destruction of New York.
Joel has described it as a “science fiction song” about an apocalypse occurring in New York as a result of discussions that the city was failing in the 1970s. New York was bordering on bankruptcy, and after asking the Federal Government for help, they were denied assistance. This resulted in the famous headline on the New York Daily News, stating “Ford to City: Drop Dead”. – Wikipedia