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Thread: Ranking Billy Joel's albums

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    From Epic Prog, duh The_Lurker's Avatar
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    Ranking Billy Joel's albums

    Hey everyone, sorry if this comes off as a bit of self-promotion but I thought some here might find it an interesting starting point for discussion if I shared my latest issue of Michael's Record Collection, in which I walk through Billy Joel's catalog and rank his studio albums (minus his classical compositions release).

    This is part 1 of 2. The second part will drop tomorrow and I'm happy to paste that here as well when it drops. Let me know what you think I got right/wrong. (As if PE folks need that invitation )

    TL;DR version:

    12. Cold Spring Harbor
    11. River of Dreams
    10. Piano Man
    9. Streetlife Serenade
    8. The Bridge
    7. Storm Front
    Publisher of Michael's Record Collection e-newsletter. Sign up for free at: https://michaellikestowrite.substack.com/

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    01 52nd Street
    02 Stranger
    03 Piano Man
    04 Turnstiles
    05 Streetlife Serenade

    after Glass Houses i was done!

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    IIRC - Code of Silence was the first and only Billy tune that has a co-writing credit (Lauper)

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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by MudShark22 View Post
    IIRC - Code of Silence was the first and only Billy tune that has a co-writing credit (Lauper)
    What about whichever song it was that where he co-opted Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata (the same melody, I believe, that Gene Simmons and/or Bob Ezrin co-opted on Great Expectations)? I thought he read he credited Ole Ludwig on that one.

    after Glass Houses i was done!
    Sorry to hear that. To be honest, I've never heard any of his albums all the way through, really. But The Nylon Curtain had Pressure (one of his best singles, in my opinion), the poignant Goodnight Saigon, and the very prog Scandinavian Skies. Oh yeah, and She's Right On Time was a pretty good tune too. So I'd rate rate that, by default, at number one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    What about whichever song it was that where he co-opted Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata (the same melody, I believe, that Gene Simmons and/or Bob Ezrin co-opted on Great Expectations)? I thought he read he credited Ole Ludwig on that one.
    Joel sings on the edgy “Code of Silence,” the last song he wrote for The Bridge. As Cyndi Lauper — who earned the first co-writing credit in Joel’s career for helping him through the composer’s block that gripped him when he started to write the tune
    The Bridge review:
    https://www.rollingstone.com/music/m...bridge-252814/


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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by MudShark22 View Post
    The Bridge review:
    https://www.rollingstone.com/music/m...bridge-252814/


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    Well, maybe not quite "co-writing" credit, but Joel did acknowledge where he liftged the chorus of This Night:

    https://img.discogs.com/Tjitvb-Wbvfu...12377.jpeg.jpg

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    zzzz.....


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    Well I'm living here-near-Allentown.....

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    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    I'm not much of a Billy Joel fan, Michael, but that was a good read anyway! It's a thoughtful piece of writing, as is the rest of the newsletter, so thanks for sharing it (I'm on the mailing list!).
    "Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart...not smart, but genius....and a very stable genius at that!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    I'm not much of a Billy Joel fan, Michael, but that was a good read anyway! It's a thoughtful piece of writing, as is the rest of the newsletter, so thanks for sharing it (I'm on the mailing list!).
    Thanks, I appreciate the feedback. And for signing up. I'm trying to coordinate schedules for interviews for some upcoming issues that might be more up your alley. With some venues starting to open up, many musicians are starting to scramble to finish working on studio projects since they'll be able to get out and do more live stuff soon.
    Publisher of Michael's Record Collection e-newsletter. Sign up for free at: https://michaellikestowrite.substack.com/

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    Here's Part 2 of my Billy Joel album rankings column as we look back at the top six of Billy's 12 studio albums.
    Publisher of Michael's Record Collection e-newsletter. Sign up for free at: https://michaellikestowrite.substack.com/

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    I would go:

    1. Turnstiles
    2. The Nylon Curtain
    3. The Stranger
    4. Storm Front
    5. Piano Man
    6. Glass Houses
    7. Streetlife Serenade
    8. 52nd Street
    9. An Innocent Man
    10. The Bridge
    11. Cold Spring Harbor

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    I enjoyed both parts and your rationale was well laid out.

    For these ears -

    Turnstiles
    52nd St
    Nylon Curtain

    And I really love Songs from the Attic.
    Friggin great.

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  14. #14
    I disagree about putting Cold Spring Harbor at the bottom, good early 70's singer-songwriter pop that would get more recognition if the original mix were available at correct speed. Aside from that, I think the run of 52nd Street, Glass Houses and Nylon Curtain was his best.

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    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Michael, you said Streetlife Serenade didn't really have hits, but is that the the album with the song with the line "Bottle of red, bottle of white.." or "Bottle of white, bottle of red?" Maybe I'm wrong, but whatever song that is, I used to hear it on the radio a lot!
    "Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart...not smart, but genius....and a very stable genius at that!"

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    That's The Stranger

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    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    Michael, you said Streetlife Serenade didn't really have hits, but is that the the album with the song with the line "Bottle of red, bottle of white.." or "Bottle of white, bottle of red?" Maybe I'm wrong, but whatever song that is, I used to hear it on the radio a lot!
    That's "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" from The Stranger. That was two albums after Streetlife Serenade.
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    I think the only really well known song from Streetlife Serenade was "the entertainer." Not sure if it was actually a hit but I've certainly heard it on the radio.

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    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    I don't own any of his albums, but for me

    1) Turnstiles
    2) Glass Houses
    3) The Nylon Curtain
    4) Streetlife Serenade

    Beyond that, I probably have little interest.
    Last edited by moecurlythanu; 04-04-2021 at 12:40 AM.
    I like the part where Icarus hijacks the Little Red Hen.

    http://www.discogs.com/user/moecurlythanu/collection

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    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    I'm not much of a Billy Joel fan, Michael, but that was a good read anyway! It's a thoughtful piece of writing,
    I have to concur. Well written and well thought out. Well done, sir.
    I like the part where Icarus hijacks the Little Red Hen.

    http://www.discogs.com/user/moecurlythanu/collection

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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Man View Post
    I think the only really well known song from Streetlife Serenade was "the entertainer." Not sure if it was actually a hit but I've certainly heard it on the radio.
    That song got some airplay in my area. I wouldn't say it was a big hit, but I heard it several times on AOR radio.

  22. #22
    "The Entertainer" made the lower half of the top 40 in 1975.

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    I'm surprised you didn't include this early classic in your lists!

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7s8PHnCTGI

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    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post
    I'm surprised you didn't include this early classic in your lists!

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7s8PHnCTGI
    Alright! Now we're talking the real BJ.

    Slot that self titled debut as number one on the all time list and take it to the bank. Unbelievable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moecurlythanu View Post
    I have to concur. Well written and well thought out. Well done, sir.
    Aw, shucks, guys. Thanks for the kind words.
    Publisher of Michael's Record Collection e-newsletter. Sign up for free at: https://michaellikestowrite.substack.com/

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