Say Goodbye to Hollywood

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"Say Goodbye to Hollywood"
Say Goodbye to Hollywood.jpg
Cover art for the 1981 single version
Single by Billy Joel
from the album Turnstiles and Songs in the Attic
Released1976, 1981
Recorded1976 at Ultrasonic Recording Studios, Hempstead, NY
June 1980 at Milwaukee Arena, Milwaukee, WI
3:53 (Single version)
4:25 (Songs in the Attic version)
Songwriter(s)Billy Joel
Producer(s)Phil Ramone
Billy Joel singles chronology
"Sometimes a Fantasy"
"Say Goodbye to Hollywood"
"She's Got a Way
Alternative cover
Cover art for the 1976 single
Cover art for the 1976 single

"Say Goodbye to Hollywood" is a song written and performed by Billy Joel, first released in 1976 on his album Turnstiles. It was originally released as a single with "Stop in Nevada" as a B-side. However, the song achieved greater recognition in 1981 when a live version from Songs in the Attic was released as a single, with the live version of "Summer, Highland Falls" as a B-side. Joel wrote the song after moving back to New York City in 1975; he had previously relocated to Los Angeles in 1972 in an attempt to get out of an onerous record deal. The man who represents this song on the Turnstiles album is the man wearing sunglasses and holding a suitcase.

Production and influence

Joel has stated in his university lectures that he wrote the song with Ronnie Spector and The Ronettes song "Be My Baby" in mind.[1][2] Indeed, Joel notes that the two songs share a very similar beat, recycling the iconic drum intro of "Be My Baby".[3] The song's production was also specifically modeled on the "Wall of Sound" production method of her ex-husband Phil Spector, who produced the song in that manner. The song utilized a backing band throughout the track, with new instrumental layers appearing throughout the song, such as backup singers in the refrain and strings starting from the second verse. However, whether this effect had been achieved was in dispute, with biographer Mark Bego claiming it was successful in this regard, while music critic Stephen Holden disagreed.[4] Recognizing Joel's tribute, Ronnie Spector recorded her own cover version of "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" in 1977 with the E Street Band, soon after Joel released his first recording of the song on Turnstiles.



Chart (1976) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[6] 45
Chart (1981) Peak
Canadian Singles Chart[7] 27
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[8] 17
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary[9] 35
U.S. Billboard Top Tracks 11


  1. ^ "Say Goodbye To Hollywood by Billy Joel". Retrieved January 28, 2013.
  2. ^ Billy Joel University Lecture on Video on YouTube
  3. ^ "Songs with the 'Be My Baby' drum intro". Retrieved January 28, 2013.
  4. ^ Duchan, Joshua S. (2017). "2". Billy Joel: America's piano man. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 22–24. ISBN 978-1-4422-4205-0.
  5. ^ Nigel Olsson, "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" single release Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  6. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 156. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  7. ^ "Top Singles". RPM. November 7, 1981. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
  8. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2013). Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles, 14th Edition: 1955-2012. Record Research. p. 435.
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 127.