Archive for The Stranger

Review: “The Stranger: 30th Anniversary Edition,” Billy Joel

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2008 by 30daysout

In 1977, Billy Joel’s career was floundering. He had recorded four albums with no hits and Columbia Records was thinking of dropping him. So he decided to meet with the greatest producer of all time, George Martin (The Beatles. Enough said). Martin liked Joel’s material, but wanted to use studio musicians. Joel wanted to use his band, so it didn’t work out.

He then set up a meeting with Phil Ramone, who Joel said, produced a lot of records that he liked. He invited him to his concert at Carnegie Hall in early June, 1977, and as they say, the rest is history.

Joel and his band went into the studio in July and finished The Stranger in late August. Nobody knew it would be his breakthrough album, as Joel puts it, “we just liked what we had done.” The first single off the disc was “Just the Way You Are.”

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(Nearly) 30 Years Out: Billy Joel, Pittsburgh Civic Arena, 1979

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 14, 2008 by 30daysout


“We don’t have an album coming out until sometime next year, we just came to play” is how Billy Joel addressed the sold out crowd at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena in November, 1979. “However, we are going to try out a few new tunes on you tonight…this is called “All For Leyna.” Joel also debuted “Sometimes A Fantasy,” and “You May Be Right” on this night from what would turn out to be one of his biggest selling albums, Glasshouses, released three months later.

I became a Billy Joel fan after I heard The Stranger (I will have a review of the 30th anniversary edition next week) at a 7th grade party in 1978. When tickets went on sale, we stood in line (back when you had to do such things) and got four pretty good seats. I remember the arena workers going on strike a few weeks before the show and as it got closer, there was a chance it would have to be re-scheduled. But all’s well that ends well, an agreement was reached, and the show went on. (STYX had to cancel their show, but then again, who cares?).

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