What does Billy Joel’s song “This Night” have to do with the Beethoven’s classical piece Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Opus 13 commonly known as Sonata Pathétique ?
Interestingly, the chorus of Billy Joel’s song which was released in 1983 as part of the An Innocent Man album is based on the second movement of Beethoven’s classical piece which was written in 1798 and published in 1799. In fact, Beethoven is credited as one of the song’s writers on the sleeve of the album as “L.V. Beethoven”. 1, 2
Billy Joel combined the rhythm and blues/soul/doo-wop style that was popular during his teen years with the enchanting second movement of one of Beethoven’s most celebrated compositions. The result is a masterful blend of awesome that only two geniuses collaborating two centuries apart can come up with.
Compare the Billy Joel chorus here:
and the second movement of Sonata Pathétique Second Movement Adagio cantabile (4:58)
Billy Joel’s performance of this song at the Wembley Stadium in 1984 can be viewed here
The full video of Ukranian-American classical pianist Valentina Lisitsa’s performance of the Beethoven sonata can be viewed here