My Theme Song - James by Billy Joel

Mortgage and Lending with Cardinal Financial Company, Limited Partnership NMLS 365858

MtVI spent the first ten years of my life growing up around Seoul, Korea.  My father, a since retired US ARMY NCO, was stationed there until just before my 11th birthday.  Since this was infancy of cable, MTV had yet to make it's presence known in the Land of the Morning Calm or to any of our neighbors in the Far East.  However, as soon as we moved to our house in Fort Polk, LA during the summer of 1987, I soon began to "WANT MY MTV!" like every other adolescent in America.


80 musicOverseas, I knew about all the big time artists here stateside:  Culture Club, Michael Jackson, Madonna, George Michael, Bon Jovi, and so many more.  I fell in love with MTV and normally just listened to the music while the video played and I was busy doing my homework.  But then an amazing video caught my eye. 


Billy JoelIt was the fall of 1989, just before my 13th birthday.  The video was Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire".  For the lack of a better word, I was hypnotized.  After that song, I became one the Piano Man's biggest fans.  Then I uncovered something that really blew my mind!  He even had a song called "James"!  You know how sensitive a teenagers ego is at that early of an age, and to have a song with your name in it was just too cool.  To top it off, it was released around the time I was born!  How cool is that?  Granted, I never truly understood the meaning behind the song back then, but it didn't matter to me.  All that mattered was that every few moments in that song, Mr. Joel said my name and that made me feel cool!


DMZAs I got older I began to understand the words and the meanings behind it (or at least my interpretation of the song).  Most parents want the best for their kids, and always want their children to be more succesful and happier than they were.  Korean families take that a little further.  Since I could remember all my Korean friends and I were told we were to be doctors, lawyers, engineers, or scientists.  Pressure was high on us.  Many of our parents grew up in poor towns, due to the devastation of the Korean conflict.  Many prominent families lost thier land, family members and finances due to the aftermath of the war.  Homes were destroyed, belongings were stolen or lost, and families were divided now by a border that ripped across the middle of the peninsula that for thousands of years was home to one country.  Now it was two.  It was important for their children to better themselves and get a good job.  They lived in poverty.  They lived in one room houses.  They lived in conditions they never wanted their children to live in.

When I graduated High School in 1995, I headed to UT-Arlington, to study architecture and planned to become an architect.  13 years later, I'm no where near where I planned to be.  I never imagined my life would have involved sales, but for the past 12 years, that's all I've done in one shape or form.  I can't remember the last time I actually got a salary from a "real job".  I'm married and have two beautiful boys that are the light of my life.  I've owned 3 houses, 6 cars, and have met hundreds of wonderful people that have touched me spiritually and emotionally and even some that I can't stand that taught me a thing or to.  I tried to live my life based on my parents expectations.  Go to college, get a degree, get a job, get married, raise a family.  I realized that I finally had to live my life for me.  While I may not have taken the path they hoped I would take, I've accomplish a lot.  I've lived and learned, failed and succeeded, loved and lost, and so much more.  I still dream of finishing school, but not for my parents, or my wife, or my sons, but for me.  I've yet to write that masterpiece Billy, but I'll get to it one of these days.  Because I want to and for no other reason...

James By Billy Joel

My Theme Song



Comments (20)

Greg Hampton
Re/Max Around The Mountains - Blue Ridge, GA
North Georgia Mountain Property,Blue Rid

Really Cool Post! I couldn't sleep so I logged on and found something inspirational, not that short sales and foreclousures aren't inspiring.

May 19, 2008 07:00 PM
Liz Moras Migic
Chilliwack, BC
Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor

Absolutely loved your post......its so well written.........a cool sentimental journey could probably write your 'own' song with some of those insights......thanks for sharing..:-)

May 19, 2008 07:26 PM
Adam Waldman
Westcott Group Real Estate Company - Hauppauge, NY
Realtor - Long Island

JAMES - Great story, and the layout of this post was unique and eye-catching.  I have never heard this song, and I'm a big Billy Joel fan.  This was a great choice for a theme song.  Even though you connected to this song because of the title, the lyrics are actually quite poignant.  Thanks for sharing this.

May 19, 2008 09:09 PM
Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239
Real Estate One - Commerce, MI
Michigan homes for sale ~

Great story.  And a great way to let people know who you are.  Congratulations on being grounded 

May 19, 2008 10:33 PM
Amanda Evans
DFW Living - Fort Worth, TX
Real Estate Broker - Fort Worth Texas

Excellent post, James!  I too, am a big time Billy Joel fan and hadn't heard this one!  Thanks for sharing a little more of yourself and a fantastic tune.

May 20, 2008 12:32 AM
James Jeter
Cardinal Financial Company, Limited Partnership - Carrollton, TX
James Jeter

Greg - Thanks!  I hope that it didn't put you to sleep though!  HAHA!  Glad you liked it.

Liz - Thank you so much.  It brought back a lot of memories, that's for sure.

Adam - Thank you sir.  It was a really old song.  I was actually surprised I even found the video for it.  It's not one his most well known songs, like "Uptown Girl".  Most likely it got lost with all the Disco LP's that were prevalent in the 70's.  It took me a few years to grow up before I really understood the song.  You're right.  the lyrics are poignant and quite meaningful.

Russ - Thanks for sharing your thoughts Russ.  I like to believe that I am.

Amanda - Thank you Ms. Hall!  It's always nice to hear someone's earlier works and see the progression they've made over their career.  Glad you liked it!

May 20, 2008 02:08 AM
Justin Williams
Independent - Virginia Beach, VA
Loan Officer

James I really like this well thought out post, kudos.  I am half asian as well and it seems like within our culture our parents try to force us to a path of greatness which I admit, I am grateful for having them have high values with me, but like you mentioned its thier life they want for us and not ours.  My dad is a retired Command Mast Chief and wanted me to attend naval academy and become an officer, I was never too fond of strict structure and I always been in sales as well, but its my life and I love it.

May 20, 2008 11:42 AM
James Jeter
Cardinal Financial Company, Limited Partnership - Carrollton, TX
James Jeter

Justin - God bless parents.  I'm sure one day when my two little guys are thinking about college and pursuing their dreams I'll be saying the same thing I was told.  Bottomline, I want them to be happy, successful, and God-fearing men that make an impact on everyone.  Or at least a football player with a multi-million dollar contract so I can retire early.  Thanks for the comment!

May 21, 2008 02:07 AM
Matt Moxhay
Prudential Fox & Roach - Moorestown, NJ
Moorestown Real Estate

James- This was a well written and enjoyable post.  I too am a big fan of Billy Joel but have not heard this song before: at least not that I can remember!

May 21, 2008 02:27 PM
James Jeter
Cardinal Financial Company, Limited Partnership - Carrollton, TX
James Jeter

Matt - Thank you!  I'm beginning to realize not too many people know of this song.  It was on his 4th album, Turnstiles.  Released in 1976, it was his first album since leaving California and returning to New York (hence the title).  Had a lot of good songs on it.  Take a look at the album cover and see if it jogs any memories! 

May 22, 2008 02:28 AM
Petra Norris
Lakeland Real Estate Group, Inc. - Lakeland, FL
Realtor, Lakeland FL Homes for Sale

James - absolutely awesome post. Parents always want whats best for their children

May 22, 2008 05:43 AM
James Jeter
Cardinal Financial Company, Limited Partnership - Carrollton, TX
James Jeter

Thanks Petra - Trust me I know.  It's ghastly to me when I hear about parents that don't care about their kids.  Breaks my heart to see that there are people out there like that.  I have no idea how they can be that way considering I want the absolute best for my kids, and likewise how my folks wanted the best for me.

May 22, 2008 05:52 AM
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

James -- I hope that you are writing your masterpiece and enjoying your family and children.  It is a great song and I think the song so fits you.

May 31, 2008 01:44 PM
Liz Moras Migic
Chilliwack, BC
Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor

Congratulations James - you were my choice to - yours was the first one that I read and I loved it!  Great that you won the contest - the acknowledgement - and the points!

May 31, 2008 03:18 PM
Liz Carter
Liz Carter & Team Realty-Your Real Estate Resource For Life! - Katy, TX
Broker/Owner of Liz Carter & Team Realty, Katy TX (Houston)


Congratulations!  Great song, I had never heard it before either so thanks for a new song for me.  I really enjoyed doing this one, and will be back to put thoughts with songs.  See you next time :).  Liz


The Winner...James

May 31, 2008 04:23 PM
Susie Blackmon
Ocala, FL
Ocala, Horses, Western Wear, Horse Farms, Marketing

Congratulations on your win!  New song to me too, but I'm afraid I'm one of those Barry White fans...


May 31, 2008 08:48 PM
Michelle Pimentel
Empire Home Staging Solutions - Upland, CA
ASP, IAHSP Empire Home Staging



CONGRATULATIONS! Great post! I just love this Billy Joel song.  Actually I like mostly all of Billy Joels songs! As for the sensitive teenage ego thing, it was the Beatles, "Michelle" that did it for me!

Jun 02, 2008 03:27 AM
James Jeter
Cardinal Financial Company, Limited Partnership - Carrollton, TX
James Jeter

Joan - Thank you.  Still working on that masterpiece.  Will do!  Thanks for the kind words!

Liz - Thank you so much!  Glad you were rooting for me!  :)  I realize that a lot of people have never heard this song before.  Glad you enjoyed it.

Susie - Thanks for the kind words.  Glad I was able to share a new song as well.  Barry's great!  My best friend was a Barry White fan and grew to love him!

Michelle - Thank you!  LOL.  Well, if my name was Jude, this blog may have been a little different!  Billy Joel's an amazing songwriter and performer.  I was actually playing a trivia game this weekend and it was hilarious how quickly I fired out his song titles!  Thanks again!

Jun 02, 2008 05:43 AM
Amy Campbell
RE/MAX Sunset Realty - Sunriver, OR
Broker, Sunriver Real Estate

Congratulations on your win - Billy Joel has certainly put out some great music - this was a new one to me so thanks for bringing it to my attention.  Wonderful post and thanks for sharing your story.

Jun 02, 2008 07:49 AM
James Jeter
Cardinal Financial Company, Limited Partnership - Carrollton, TX
James Jeter

Thanks so much Amy.  Glad I could share with you and the other active rainers.  Thanks for enjoying the post and the terrific comments.

Jun 10, 2008 03:00 PM