MTH-V: Billy Joel

Well, hello there. I mention that this weekly series has been going on for a year in my last post, then I drop off for a month. Oh well. October proved to be far busier than I could’ve anticipated for a variety of reasons. Working and playing kept me quite busy, but most of my time and resources have been focused on purchasing a house with my wife. Hence today’s selections from Billy Joel.

I should say right off the bat that in the ongoing Billy Joel vs. Elton John debate, I fully side with my man Reggie. I’ve seen both and listen to both, but Joel doesn’t hold a candle to John — that’s a whole separate discussion/entry. In short, Billy Joel had a few good albums and has largely been retired from songwriting for two decades, whereas Elton’s had a few good decades and continues to release new material. (Read my praise of 2010’s The Union here.)

Nonetheless, 1977’s The Stranger is an essential part of my album collection. I bought it blindly about four years ago, thinking I should give one of Joel’s studio albums a shot. And boy do I remain thankful – it was on repeat for the first few months and continues to be in regular rotation. (I have yet to find another Joel album as enjoyable.) The Stranger proved pivotal for a mid-20s me transitioning to a new stage in life, and I find myself returning to it (more than usual) now that my wife and I are preparing to move into our house.

First up is a 1978 performance of the album’s opening track “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song).” It’s from BBC2’s The Old Grey Whistle Test.

 

And here’s a rocking 1982 performance of “Scenes From An Italian Restaurant” from Nassau Coliseum. (And watch Mark Rivera get smooth.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxBjKa8KcW0

 

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