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Articles Home » 1977 Articles » Joel, Billy - 1977 The Stranger
Joel, Billy - 1977 The Stranger

ARTIST: Joel, Billy
ALBUM: The Stranger
LABEL: Columbia
SERIAL: JC 34987
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: Reissue List


LINEUP: Personnel

TRACK LISTING: 01 Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) * 02 The Stranger * 03 Just The Way You Are * 04 Scenes From An Italian Restaurant * 05 Vienna * 06 Only The Good Die Young * 07 She's Always A Woman * 08 Get It Right The First Time * 09 Everybody Has A Dream


I had just started high school in 1977, and had recently discovered Boston. My world had forever changed.. Lol! My judgement was therefore clouded to anything else at the time, and I became (unwittingly I might add) a musical snob. That snobbish-ness consigned an album like Billy Joel's 'The Stranger' to the scrap-heap, even if all his songs were all over radio. What an idiot I was. It took many years to truly appreciate how good this album was. One look at the track-listing, and you can see the hit singles all over this platter. It was one of the biggest selling LP's of that year. Released in September 1977 and produced by Phil Ramone, 'The Stranger' would become Billy's breakthrough release, his fifth effort up to that point.

The Songs
As mentioned, the album is chock full of singles. The quirky 'Movin Out (Anthony's Song)' is a great scene-setter. I love the way Joel emphasises the scattergun vocal on the lyrics 'heart attack', 'cadillac' (yak yak yak) and 'crazy mama'. The title track 'The Stranger' combines wistful piano and a whistling section that completely identifies the subject of interest as an undercover lover figure. The highlight of the album for me is the beautiful 'Just The Way You Are', a pinnacle tune of the decade and one at the top of Joel's Greatest Hits selection. The other two notable tracks include the rocky anthem 'Only The Good Die Young' and the heartfelt piano ballad 'She's Always A Woman', both were released as singles.

In Summary
The timeless single 'Just The Way You Are' received two gongs at the 1978 Grammys, foe best record and best song. CBS released a 30th Anniversary edition in 2008 which includes a whole bunch of additional material, containing two special editions: a 2-CD Legacy Edition, and a Deluxe Limited Edition (which includes two CDs and a bonus DVD). If you don't have this record in your collection somewhere, do yourself a favour..

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#1 | Eric on March 17 2017 12:19:54
Very much a soundtrack to my High School years on Long island and every song with the exception of 'Everybody Has a Dream' was played extensively on Tri-State FM stations back then. There was no escaping it and all these years later 'Vienna' still gets to me.
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