Few things are as Long Island as the New York Islanders and Billy Joel. Is Joel to blame for the Islanders Fisherman Logo? We investigate.
In 1995, the New York Islanders rebranded with the Fisherman Logo. To this day, 25 years later, the logo is still just as controversial. Some fans have come around on the idea, liking the logo as an alternate, while others loathe the mere sight of the logo.
Anyway, the story behind the fisherman logo is an interesting one. As a team struggling financially in the mid-90’s they decided to change up their jerseys to increase sales and to create revenue for the franchise.
From a logic standpoint, you can see it but how they came up with the logo is rather intriguing. According to this New York Post article, the Islanders hired a Manhattan firm and attempted to answer “what is an ‘Islander’?”
Islanders ownership pointed to the Billy Joel song “The Downeaster ‘Alexa'”. In 1990, Joel released the song with the following music video.
The video prominently features a fisherman out at sea. Billy Joel and fisherman, to the Islanders ownership, that was what the Islanders represented. A designer quickly came up with the logo that we know today as the “fisherman” and the team promptly released it to the public.
The mistake was not testing it out on the public. Clearly, it didn’t go over well as the logo and rebrand just lasted a couple of years. The logo resembled the Gorton’s fisherman logo and many pointed to that as a reason for the failure of the rebrand.
So yes, in a weird roundabout way, Billy Joel is kind of responsible for the Fisherman logo. Trying to answer what an “Islander” is is a tricky thing to do, luckily the original crest tends to work pretty well.
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So the next time you hear that Billy Joel song, hopefully, you think of the Islanders’ short-lived logo. I know I will.