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Billy Joel Made a Deal With Cthulhu

While this site exists as a platform for me to share trivial nonsense that suits my interests, I don't think I've ever found any trivial nonsense that suits my interests as perfectly as this. Last week Twitter user Captain Video realized that an old H.P. Lovecraft poem matches the meter of Billy Joel's Piano Man. And it is amazing!

H.P. Lovecraft is known for his macabre literature, including the now iconic Cthulhu. The grim horror of his literary career outlines a pantheon of primordial gods known as The Great Old Ones. For over a century his works have been dismissed as fantasy.

Billy Joel is widely regarded as one of the greatest song writers of all time. He's written and performed 33 songs that made it into the Top 40, but Piano Man was his first hit. Is it coincidence that the song that got Billy Joel noticed is in the meter of Nemesis? The poem introduces us to the elder masters of the Universe, just as Piano Man introduced us to Billy Joel.

There have been rumors and suspicions that various artists have made a deal with the devil for their fame. Most people were probably expecting the Christian devil, but there are so many more. Now at the twilight of Billy's career, the devil will soon seek his due. 45 years after the release of Piano Man, we realize this strange conjunction. Surely this heralds the coming of a time when men will tear out their own eyes to avoid seeing the horrors that will reign. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.

There have been a few attempts to set the poem to the tune. My favorite is the one by Julian Velard.

Video Description:

The internet made me do it. H.P Lovecraft's Nemesis mashed up with Billy Joel's Piano Man. Had to cut a couple lines to get it to fit. Sorry H.P.!

Lyrics:

Thro’ the ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber,
Past the wan-moon’d abysses of night,
I have liv’d o’er my lives without number,
I have sounded all things with my sight;
And I struggle and shriek ere the daybreak, being driven to madness with fright.

I have whirl’d with the earth at the dawning,
When the sky was a vaporous flame:
I have seen the dark universe yawning,
Where the black planets roll without aim;
Where they roll in their horror unheeded, without knowledge or lustre or name.

I had drifted o’er seas without ending,
Under sinister grey-clouded skies
That the many-fork’d lightning is rending,
That resound with hysterical cries;
With the moans of invisible daemons that out of the green waters rise.

I have plung’d like a deer thro’ the arches
Of the hoary primoridal grove,
Where the oaks feel the presence that marches
And stalks on where no spirit dares rove;

I have stumbled by cave-ridden mountains
That rise barren and bleak from the plain,
I have drunk of the fog-foetid fountains
That ooze down to the marsh and the main;And in hot cursed tarns I have seen things I care not to gaze on again.

I have scann’d the vast ivy-clad palace,
I have trod its untenanted hall,
Where the moon writhing up from the valleys
Shews the tapestried things on the wall;
Strange figures discordantly woven, which I cannot endure to recall.

I have peer’d from the casement in wonder
At the mouldering meadows around,
At the many-roof’d village laid under
The curse of a grave-girdled ground;

I have haunted the tombs of the ages,
I have flown on the pinions of fear
Where the smoke-belching Erebus rages,
Where the jokulls loom snow-clad and drear:
And in realms where the sun of the desert consumes what it never can cheer.

I was old when the Pharaohs first mounted
The jewel-deck’d throne by the Nile;
I was old in those epochs uncounted
When I, and I only, was vile;

Oh, great was the sin of my spirit,
And great is the reach of its doom;
Not the pity of Heaven can cheer it,
Nor can respite be found in the tomb:
Down the infinite aeons come beating the wings of unmerciful gloom.

Thro’ the ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber,
Past the wan-moon’d abysses of night,
I have liv’d o’er my lives without number,
I have sounded all things with my sight;
And I struggle and shriek ere the daybreak, being driven to madness with fright.

Reader Comments 7

Ahhhhhh internet... A way to find definitive proof that some people just have waaaaaaaayyyyyyyy too much time on their hands...

Too much time on my hands... Hmmm.. By Styx... River Styx.. Underworld... Deep ones...!!! ARRGGHHH!! It's all related!!!!
January 22, 2018  | person DrüMünkey
Well, this definitely made my day. It all makes sense now. We didn't start the fire. It's been always burning since the world was turning. No, we didn't light it but we tried to fight it... in vain. The fire is the will of Cthulhu. A fire that dates back to time immemorial. It will reduce us all to ashes and despair when the dark lord rises again..... How fun!

P.S. Seeing the language of the followers of Cthulhu reminds me of the time Tim posted a dub song by a person from Wales and commented that welsh written out looked like the Cthulhu script. Lol!
January 22, 2018  | person DulceVida
On January 22, 2018 - @DulceVida said:
P.S. Seeing the language of the followers of Cthulhu reminds me of the time Tim posted a dub song by a person from Wales and commented that welsh written out looked like the Cthulhu script. Lol!

LOL! I remember that!
Great song, but funny that billy Joel doesn’t know the lyrics exactly or the written lyrics are not right. There are a few inconsistances. One example is the second line, that repeats at the end, where it ends with “abysses of the night” and he says “abscesses of the night” in both places. I suppose it just sounds better to him or the rhyme is more important than the meaning of the words. I wonder how many people really care about the meaning of the lyrics. I don’t but I noticed because it is written here.
January 22, 2018  | person Perrypelican
Yeah, there were a few points like that. Same with "Epics" instead of "Epochs" ... I think the dude just doesn't know the words. ;)
Tim, do you have Cthulhu’s number? I need to make a deal. Thanks.
you think thats news? I learned this years ago from alex jones! But hey do have that number, after the holidays n all i sure could use a hit or two!
January 23, 2018  | person_outline Ian
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