The Downeaster Alexa

The Downeaster Alexa
"The Downeaster 'Alexa'"
Single by Billy Joel
from the album Storm Front
B-side "And So It Goes"
Released 1990
Format CD single
Recorded The Hit Factory, Times Square Studio, New York, NY
Genre Rock
Length 3:44
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Billy Joel
Producer Billy Joel
Mick Jones
Billy Joel singles chronology
"I Go to Extremes"
"The Downeaster 'Alexa'"
"That's Not Her Style"

"The Downeaster 'Alexa'" is a song originally released in 1989 on Billy Joel's eleventh studio album Storm Front. The album itself went to number one while the fourth single "The Downeaster 'Alexa'" placed at #57 in the Billboard Hot 100. The song was included on Billy Joel's Greatest Hits Vol. 3 album in 1997.

The song is sung in the persona of an impoverished fisherman in the Outer Lands and the surrounding waters who, like many of his fellow men, is finding it increasingly hard to make ends meet and keep ownership of his boat.[1] The fisherman sings about the depletion of the fish stocks ("I know there's fish out there, but where God only knows") and the environmental regulations ("Since they told me I can't sell no stripers") which make it hard for men like him to survive, especially with the conversion of his home island into an expensive summer colony for the affluent ("There ain't no island left for islanders like me"). The lyrics reference Block Island Sound, Montauk, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and Gardiners Bay, amongst other locations.

Downeaster is a New England colloquialism generally referring to someone or something from the region called Down East, an area usually identified as a part of the state of Maine.

Alexa, the name of the fishing boat in the song, is the name of Billy Joel's daughter, Alexa Ray Joel. Joel does in fact own a downeaster lobster/swordfish hybrid boat by the name Alexa, built on a Maine lobster boat hull, which should not be confused with the pleasure craft built by the Downeaster company.[2] The Alexa, along with Joel's other boats, call Sag Harbor, Long Island, home.[citation needed]

The song is featured in the 2011 movie, The Hangover: Part II, during the point where the group flies to Thailand.



  • This song was covered (as "Downeaster Alexa") on The Corsairs' 2007 album 9 Live.
  • The English roots duo Show of Hands recorded a version on their album Covers.
  • The American rock band O.A.R. has covered the song since 2007[3]

Chart positions

Chart (1990) Peak
Canadian Singles Chart[4] 25
UK Singles Chart 76
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 57
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 18
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 33

External links


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