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What could be so funny about a flickering fluorescent sign? Well in the case of this Cadillac dealership, it is the way the sign is going out. The letters C-a-d-i-l-l are still fign. But the “ac” at the end is flickering. When a TikToker set a video of the sign to Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out,” a viral hit was born. See the video below, then find out what in the world Joel was singing about.

Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” is the first track on 1977’s The Stranger. He wrote it to both make fun of blue collar workers trying to keep up with the appearance of a upper middle class lifestyle, and also to warn about how futile it is to spend your money and time this way.

You could say “Movin’ Out” is a play on “Moving up.” Joel said “Anthony” represents “every Irish, Polish, and Italian kid trying to make a living in the U.S.” Of course Billy Joel has made it big and could live any lifestyle he wants. But he chooses to embrace a blue collar existence, even building custom motorcycles himself.

Musician Billy Joel sits on a red motorcycle, NYC visible in the background.
Billy Joel riding a custom motorcycle | Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images

So what about that unforgettable “ack” “ack” “ack” sound? Obviously Joel wrote the song with rhyming “ack” sounds. Lines end in “heart attack,” and “Hackensack” (which is an affluent town in New Jersey), and of course Cadillac.

During recording, Joel told producer Phil Ramone that he envisioned an echo of the last syllable after those lines. He imagined a sort of electronic echo produced in the studio. Ramone had a surprising counter. You can hear Joel’s side of the story in the video below:

I especially love this bit of trivia: the engine noise and peel out sound at the end isn’t a Cadillac. It is a recording of bass player Doug Stegmeyer’s 1960s Corvette. The image of Stegmeyer taking a tape recorder home, then hanging it off the back of his car during a series of launches is pure gold.

Decades after “Movin’ Out” peaked on Billboard’s Hot 100, a flickering Cadillac sign reminded TikToker “ClairlyWrong” of the song. The TikToker recorded a video, then set it to a snippet of the Billy Joel song. The result went absolutely viral, with 1.9 million views it is still cracking people up. It is also inspiring duets with a wide range of musicians.

Next, see the true route of the hitch hiker from Bob Dylan’s “Wagon Wheel,” or hear Movin’ Out in its entirety in the video below: