Christmas In Fallujah
December 8, 2007
After listening to the newset song written by Billy Joel, I must say I’m very disappointed. While the song sounds good, the words instantly make it very clear that when Billy Joel wrote this song, he was allowing his personal politics to get in the way. Instead of writing a song honoring our Troops, in my point of view and that of others that I’ve spoken to, he instead insulted our Troops. The sentiment that is throughout the song, makes it obvious how Joel feels about our Troops presence in Iraq and from the Troops I’ve spoken with, which has been many over the years since the war in Iraq started, very few of them share that sentiment with him. After listening to the song, I can honestly say, it’s one that I won’t be purchasing. I’ll include a video of a recent performance of Christmas in Fallujah that was recently done in Chicago, and let you judge for yourself. My advice to Billy Joel, however is this… Please, please, do yourself and us a favor and go back into retirement. Our Troops don’t need people like yourself, attempting to represent (misrepresent) their thoughts and feelings. They’re quite capable of voicing their opinions on the war in Iraq, and most of them, by far, believe in the mission, can see the tangible results they’re getting and want to finish their mission.
The last time that Billy Joel released an album was his 1993 River of Dreams album. After the release of that album, he went into a self-imposed retirement. This past year however, Billy Joel has picked up a pen and written very little in the way of music. Recently, he penned a new single in honor of the Troops, a song which is far different from the signature songs we’ve heard from Billy Joel over the years. Christmas in Fallujah won’t have his signature piano in it, and you’ll barely hear any of Billy Joel’s voice either.
For what he says is the very first time, Billy Joel wrote a song for another singer, one who is relatively unknown, 21 year old Cass Dillon. According to Joel, the inspiration for his new song, Christmas in Fallujah, was inspired partly from the letters he has received from service members, but also from the realities of war. Joel said that the music came to him quickly, but he knoew that he wasn’t the right person to sing it.
“I thought someone with a young voice should be singing this, someone just starting out in life,” he said. “Plus, you know I’m 58 years old. My voice isn’t the voice I was thinking of when I was writing; I was thinking of a Soldier, someone of that age.”
Cass Dillon, the artist who was chosen to sing the new song, is a young man who worked under the wing of Tommy Byrnes, who has been Billy Joel’s musical director for many years. Two years ago, Dillon was attending college, when he left to pursue a career in music. The past two years, he’s played in numerous coffee-shops and bars. Byrnes has played some of Dillon’s music in the past for Billy Joel, so when it came time to decide who he wanted to sing Christmas in Fallujah, Cass Dillion just popped in to Joel’s head.
While Cass Dillion appears to be a talented performer, I feel that Billy Joel and his musical director exploited this young man, when they chose him to sing this song. The song is a travesty and an insult to the brave men and women who proudly serve our country in the battlefields of Iraq. Unfortunately Cass Dillon will become the brunt of people’s anger about this song. Sure, there will be some who will proclaim it to be a “great statement” but in all honesty, it doesn’t represent the majority of our Troops serving in Iraq. This song receives a BIG thumbs down from me.