Hot Funk, Cool Punk, Even If It’s Old Junk, It’s Still Billy Joel to Me

8.31 Billy Joel today

From late-1977 through 1985, Billy Joel was all over radio. Sure, some of his songs were getting play on FM radio before 1977’s The Stranger album with the mega-hit “Just the Way You Are” were released. I mean, everyone in the free world knows “Piano Man,” Joel’s first actual hit song. But, The Stranger was an important album for Joel. It was make or break time for the “Piano Man.” Joel even skipped his high school reunion in early 1978 to play two cuts from The Stranger on Saturday Night Live, the very night Chevy Chase made his first return to host the show after leaving at the beginning of the previous season. After Joel’s memorable performance, he became the first rock artist to experience a huge boost in record sales after performing on SNL. After that night, established artists were no longer reticent to be seen on the late-night weekend show.

8.31 Billy Joel 1970s

Once Joel’s career got that bump to overcome his career’s inertia, he became a consistent multi-platinum rock star. And, the hits got bigger and bigger, with albums such as 52nd Street, Glass Houses and An Innocent Man either hitting number one or spawning songs that became hits unto themselves. Joel was winning Grammys and finally getting some critical acclaim. As his hot streak began to slow down in 1985, the songwriting became more and more difficult for Joel. From 1977 through 1986, Joel released an album a year, though on 1986’s The Bridge, one could hear the cracks in Joel’s armor forming. He released Storm Front in 1989 and River of Dreams in 1993, but the magic seemed to be leaving him. Subsequently, the pop album releases dried up, as he has yet to release a formal followup to that 1993 hit River of Dreams.

8.31 Billy Joel 1980s

Still, Joel’s reputation remains intact as America’s own piano man, something of this country’s version of Elton John. He now resides in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and is currently giving monthly performances at Madison Square Garden for the next couple of years. So, I would like to present a little refresher course in Billy Joel’s songs with My 30 Favorite Billy Joel Songs.

8.31 30.The Entertainer

30. “The Entertainer” (1974)

29. “Honesty” (1978)

28. “My Life” (1978)

27. “All About Soul” (1993)

26. “Big Shot” (1978)

8.31 25.GoodnightSaigon

25. “Goodnight Saigon” (1982)

24. “She’s Always a Woman” (1977)

23. “A Matter of Trust” (1986)

22. “Say Goodbye to Hollywood (live)” (1981)

21. “Modern Woman” (1986)

8.31 20.Allentown_Billy_Joel

20. “Allentown” (1982)

19. “We Didn’t Start the Fire” (1989)

18. “Pressure” (1982)

17. “She’s Got a Way (live)” (1981)

16. “Uptown Girl” (1983)

8.31 york state of mind

15. “New York State of Mind” (1976)

14. “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” (1977)

13. “Tell Her About It” (1983)

8.31 10.I Go to Extremes

12. “I Go to Extremes” (1989)

11. “Just the Way You Are” (1977)

10. “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” (1977)

9. “You May Be Right” (1980)

8. “Piano Man” (1973)

7. “Only the Good Die Young” (1977)

6. “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Went Out on Broadway)” (1976)

8.31 5.its-still-rock-and-roll-to-me-sing_4_orig

5. “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” (1980)

4. “Captain Jack” (1973)

3. “Leave a Tender Moment Alone” (1983)

2. “The Stranger” (1977)

8.31 1.Sometimes a Fantasy

1. “Sometimes a Fantasy” (1980)

It’s Labor Day Weekend here in the States! So, I hope everyone has a safe three-day break from the doldrums of the working week. It’s also a weekend in which to many of us we have forgotten the meaning behind the holiday. It was established as a way to honor the union workers in manufacturing jobs back in the industrial era. These workers found that they actually outnumbered the ruling class, banded together and subsequently led the United States through its glory era, much of which has been adapted by countries throughout the world, many of whom have passed by us in important economic measures such as salary discrepancy, worker satisfaction, healthcare cost and coverage, and overall mental health. Simply remember what we actually learned in our high school economic, government and history classes in high school and hold on dearly to the real truth and don’t believe the hype. Peace!


Author: ifmyalbumscouldtalk

I am just a long-time music fan who used to be a high school science teacher and a varsity coach of several high school athletic teams. Before that, I worked as a medical technologist at three hospitals in their labs, mainly as a microbiologist. I am retired/disabled (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome), and this is my attempt to remain a human. Additionally, I am a serious vinyl aficionado, with a CD addiction and a love of reading about rock history. Finally, I am a fan of Prince, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Hall & Oates, Springsteen, Paul Weller & his bands and Power Pop music.

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