Once again, Billy Joel's “Miami 2017 ('Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)” is serving to both honor and strengthen New Yorkers — and all Americans — in a time of crisis. During Monday's (May 11th) Rise Up New York! virtual telethon, Billy stole the show with a home performance of his 1976 classic “Miami 2017 ('Seen The Lights Go Down On Broadway)” — with the Empire State Building pulsating in colors to the beat and the performance projected all over the jumbotrons in an all-but empty Times Square.
The song has served to empower and inspire before — during 2001's The Concert For New York City when he tore the roof off of Madison Square Garden — and once again at MSG, when he performed a re-written version at the 12-12-12: The Concert For Sandy Relief.
In 2001 at U Penn, during one of his legendary musical Q&A's, Billy Joel spoke about the inspiration for “Miami 2017”: “'Miami 2017' — I'm picturing the apocalypse occurring in New York; the skyline tumbling down. This is 1975, 1976. This horrendous conflagration happening in New York City, and the reason the song is called 'Miami 2017' is, because a lot of people in New York, once you get to retirement (adapts Yiddish accent), 'Eh, y'move down to Florida (laughter). Y'know, you get a condo. . . And I'm telling my grandchildren, in the year 2017, I'll tell ya what happened — I seen the lights go out on Broadway.'”