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The Stranger
List Price: $11.98

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Product Description

This, pop superstar Joel's breakout LP, came years after he first hit the charts with the novelty-ish "Piano Man." In the meantime, the New York-based songwriter released two lackluster and stylistically confused platters that blunted interesting songs with a sound that was neither Elton mellow nor Elton attitude. Produced by Phil Ramone, The Stranger took those who had written Joel off as a one-hit wonder by surprise ("Just the Way You Are" was among the biggest hits of 1977) and it remains a solid introduction to Joel's restless muse at a crucial point in his career. It invited a few comparisons to Bruce Springsteen, with its prominent sax breaks, hard-edged rebel-rockers ("Only the Good Die Young"), and slice-of-life dramatics ("Scenes From an Italian Restaurant"), recounting life in a lower middle-class (Eastern Urban) setting; but Joel's chameleonic, formalist approach to pop wasn't to be so easily pigeonholed (Glass Houses, The Nylon Curtain, An Innocent Man...). --Don Harrison

Customer Reviews:

  • Billy Joel's Crowning Achievement
    Dangerously close to becoming a one hit wonder; i.e. "that guy who made "Piano Man,'" Joel escapes from the shadows of "Piano Man" with a near perfect album. Featuring single after single, the two surprises here are the title cut, and "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant." I've always had a weakness for those seven minute plus "story-telling" songs, but "Scenes" is a cut above the rest because of the instrumental breaks. All in all, a must have disc....more info
  • It all somehow fits...
    I remember when this album came out and what a departure it was. I was sitting in my apartment staring at the streetlights and listening to an FM station play it straight through without a break. When it was over, I felt as if I'd been there, met these people and had a drink with them. That's what artful storytelling can do. There are plenty of great tunes and hooks, but, like most people, in the end, you'll recognize Brenda and Eddie, too....more info
  • Great songs with better to come
    Released in 1977, an album that became familiar to me, through my brothers repetitive playing of it. Great album with a load of good tracks, but kind of gave it the three and a half star limit, as my life was going through some strange turns at the time of release.

    The album starts off with the catchy sounds of "Moving out (Anthony's song), which was about making that sea-change from the city. "The stranger" comes across well with it's moderate paced light rock rhythms, but this albums main highlight was "Just the way you are", which was the main reason I bought this CD. "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" has a great lively middle section, but seems to be bogged down by some kind of sax interlude, which could of somewhat been omitted. "Vienna" gives a late night feel, with a light dusting of a french meladome, but now we come to the best part of the album, "Only the good die young". The piano hook, followed by that enthusiastically jumping percussion kicks this song right along. "She's always a woman to me" is o'kay. Originally an excellent track, but worn thin a bit through these damn "Hits and Memories" radio stations. "Get it right the first time" hits off with a great rhythm section, and carries through with the "la la la la" sentiment. The album finishes off with the warm ambience of "everybody has a dream", somewhat with the vague feel of Leonard Cohen's backing group.

    If this album came out five years later, I may have given it the five star rating....more info

  • The Everyman Experience from a very special artist!
    This is indeed one of rare albums that is a must have for any serious collector of today's music! Joel's brilliance and talent shines throughout the entire CD. He has a very talented band, too! Not only are these great songs with entertaining lyrics and melodies, Joel uses these songs to portray common life experiences for people in today's world: Anger, disillusionment, the struggle to be truly vulnerable with a lover, despair, love for another, the temptation of drugs, raw sexuality and hope for the future. (In "Movin' Out," "The Stranger," "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant," "Just The Way You Are," "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant," "Only The Good Die Young," and "Everybody Has A Dream," respectively.) It is Joel's treatment of these natural human emotions and experiences coupled with great music and lyrics that makes this a stellar album.

    Billy Joel gained much status as a result of this album-deservedly so! I recommend this for ANYBODY who wants an excellent instant classic addition to their collection! A BUY! GRIN...more info

  • Billy Joel's finest...
    Mostly, people had dismissed Billy Joel as a one hit-wonder after "Piano Man", but this was the album that earned him superstar status, and if you've ever heard even opne of the songs on it, you can see why.

    First off, "Movin' Out" is an awesome song, a great rocker with lyrics that tell a story and actually make some sense.

    "The Stranger" is my favorite song on the album, and quite possibly my vote for the best Billy Joel song, a great tune with some kinda dark lyrics that are ultimately true. I especially like the whistling part and the great rock sound in the middle.

    "Just The Way You Are" is one of his most famous and well-loved hits, and deservedly so. It's a great romantic song that comes off as a little bit humorous. It might be overplayed, but I always stop to listen to it.

    The over seven minutes of "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant" features suites that tell the story of Brenda and Eddie, basically the truth about a lot of couples, actually. A good song, and it alone would make the album worth having.

    "Vienna" is one of the slower songs on the album, probably the weakest track if you ask me, and maybe you shouldn't ask me. It's still better filler than most other artists can hope for.

    "Only The Good Die Young" is a cool song with a great title line, and it's one of the least overplayed on the entire album. It's a nifty rocker.

    I love the next one, since "She's Always A Woman" reminds me of many girls I have known over the years, and the rhythm on this song is excellent. This is one of those overplayed songs, maybe, though I never get tired of it.

    "Get It Right The First Time" is another great song, and once again, the lyrics are the truth.

    The last song, "Everybody Has A Dream" is great, though I think it's a cover. I might be wrong...

    Either way, this is his best album, with at least 5 awesome songs on it, and I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of piano-based rock music....more info
  • Billy Joel is Near His Peak Here
    After a long absence, Billy Joel came out with this gem. If you are a fan of his, you absolutely MUST grab this CD.

    Billy Joel continues his musical adventures with his familiar rolling piano lines, using the entire range of the keyboard and complementing it with adventuresome melodies and heartfelt, clever lyrics. Yet Billy Joel is none too content to merely fit in with a trend. Here he has a band that is very complementary to his many melodic changes, his whimsical harmonics, and his utterly creative way of combining lyricism with melody.

    The album is intended to be conceptual, and the LP opens with the thematic Stranger- a slow introduction with a soft piano line, then it breaks into the song itself, with jazzy, assertive sax/brass/lead guitar accompaniments.
    Then the whimsical, jazzy, humorous Anthony's song with it's line "Trading in a Chevy for a Cad-i-lac-yac-yac-yac-yac, You oughta know by now". OK, so he does sing with a thick Long Island accent, but that's a part of his color. The beautiful hit "Just the Way You Are" is here, with its heartfelt lyricism and gentle electronic melodic piano- a Joel classic! The long "Italian Restaurant" is a scenic, moody, nostalgic piece with Joel's trademark rolling melodic piano lines- be patient and let yourself be drawn into this pop masterpiece. "She's Always a Woman" is an attractive heartfelt song, even if it seems a filler compared to the other material. It did become another hit for Billy Joel. The only imperfect song in this collection is "Everybody Has a Dream"- for some reason, Joel has an alternate vocalization that is grating to my ears. It's still an above average song.

    Billy Joel is a unique pop talent who must have appealed to millions of listeners, as his record sales attest to. Once in a while, an exceptionally talented perfomer makes it big in entertainment. And few deserved to more than Billy Joel....more info
  • Masterpiece
    Billy Joel has been criticized over the years by rock critics who have pigeonholed him as a formalist hack. How they came to that conclusion after listening to such an accomplished body of work is dumbfounding. For all it takes is one spin of this pop-rock masterpiece to realize how gifted Joel is with concise melodies and subversive lyrics. In fact, the title track itself demonstrates his talent marvelously. Its prelude seduces the listener into what ultimately is revealed to be web of deceit between two lovers. "She's Always a Woman", arguably Joel's finest love song, showcases a gorgeous melody that masks lyrics detailing the darker facets of a relationship.

    Cynicism permeates through most of the record. Joel's characters either are hopelessly naive ("Vienna"), favor lust over love ("Only the Good Die Young"), peaked too early ("Scenes From An Italian Restaurant") or face a desperate need to escape("Movin' Out"). And while there are displays of optimism and hope ("Just the Way You Are", "Everybody Has a Dream"), they are dampened by stories of lost opportunities ("Get it Right the First Time"). Joel's point is an existential one: for while we might aim high to try and change things, there are intangibles in both people and life that will ultimately prevent this. Which is why The Stranger remains both relevant today and holds a place among the finest albums ever recorded....more info

  • Not just a love album
    I've heard a lot of people refer to The Stranger as the difinitive Billy Joel love album, and it does have that, but it's also a great jazzy album. It's not rocky like River of Dreams, but very euphoric like one of my favorites, Glass Houses. In fact, I like every song on this album. I especially like how a lot of the songs start out slow, and then get faster, like The Stranger (a kind of lonely ballad) and Italian Restaurant.
    Moving Out, Only the Good Die Young, and Get It Right the First Time are rapid pieces while Just the Way You Are, Vienna, and She's Always A Woman are slow and relaxing.
    The bottom line is that this album is full of sophisticated songs with thoughtful lyrics and great music, and no collection would be complete without it....more info
  • The album that introduced Billy Joel
    The is the album (or I should say CD) that defined Billy Joel as a pop music force. It is truly some of his best work. While he was already recognized by "Piano Man" and a few other songs that got FM airplay, he had not produced any big selling albums before this one came out in 1977.

    The songs "Movin Out" and "Just the Way you Are", along with "She's Always a Woman" and "Only the Good Die Young" were, and still are, hugely popular.

    If you haven't heard the whole album, you have to give a listen to "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" and "The Stranger".

    I listened to this for the first time in years, and was reminded what a talented and prolific songwriter Billy Joel is....more info
  • Don't underestimate the depth of Billy Joel
    And don't hate him because he gets his point across effectively with infectious pop/rock beats. Just because his songs are catchy doesn't make them (or him) hollow and pointless. Alot of people my age would just brush him off because of his fame and age, but let me say that I think he really speaks to me. I grew up listening to music like this, and it puts me a special place in my life. I purchased this album because this is the definitive album, and while I know most of these songs from growing up, I am glad that I have the chance to hear the other, less radio-friendly songs, like "The Stranger," "Get it Right the First Time," and "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant." I am proud to own this album and would defend it anytime, regardless of what my cynical "indie" friends may think....more info
  • New York style
    Billy Joel's Albujms weren't always consisten but they usually always has some stunning material on them. This one is no exception. From the Late Night Jazzy mood peice of the Stranger intro to the popular 'Just the way you are' tothe quite literally brilliant 'Scenes from an Italian restaurant' It reamina a kind of classic in my eyes...more info
  • The Stranger
    This is yet another album that earns my respest. It dose'nt have but one of my favorite Billy Joel tracks but it's my favorite album by Billy Boy. It is a true masterpiece in which Joel weaves his audiance nine Godly tracks of beauty. The album has a depressing comical feel to it. It interchanges between them. The album starts with the story of Anthony. A song about people living in teniment who move to the contry and Anthony dosen't want to so he leaves insisting "If thats moving up, then I'm moving out". It has a catchy beat to it. It's about as Rock like as Joel got. "The Stranger" had a depressing sound about it and was an attack on hypocrosy. It started slow and went more upbeat as it unraveled. "Just the Way You Are" was a sad song about some girl who wanted to become exactly what her husband wanted and he tells her not to. More hypocrosy. "Scenes from an Italian Resturaunt" was a song about a stupid young pair who fell in love, went broke, and divorsed... then they meet afterwards in the same place they first met,a little like a sequal to Meat Loaf's "Paridise By the Dashboard Light", not very good at first but true to form the song speeds up as the plot unravels. "Vienna" was a pathetic song about a girl who goes to fast in a relationship. The true masterpiece is "Only the Good Die Young" which a very good song about a dude who falls in love with a nun..a real masterpiece...prequel to Billy Boy's smash hit "Uptown Girl". Funny in a bizare way. Next comes "Always a Woman" by now I'm sick of Boy-meets-Girl scenarios by now so I think Joel's too repetetive. The song sucks. "Get it Right the First Time" is about first impressions, very good.
    "Everyone has a Dream" is a song about searching for inspiration to art or a song or something...good lyrics bad beat. The album gets repetetive but manages to find a place in my little black hole of a heart....more info
  • billy joel stranger
    I loved this cd. It is pretty short, but the songs it has on it are great. I bought it beacause there were a couple of songs on it that I knew I loved, and I ended up hearing more that I loved. I didn't even realize untill I herad them that I had heard and enjoyed most of the songs on the cd before I got the cd. Before I got the cd my favorite song by him was "Vienna". I still love that song, but there are some other great ones, like the title track "stranger", that are also alot of fun. If you like Billy Joel you should get this, and if you aren't familiar with him, you might want to check it out....more info
  • Superb, but not quite the equal of 52nd Street
    This could have been my favorite Billy Joel album, but I heard 52nd Street long before I ever heard The Stranger. I didn't get around to listening to The Stranger until about 1981, but heard 52nd Street back when it came out in 1978 (my sister had the 52nd Street album and actually saw Billy's tour of that album). I had heard the big hits of The Stranger, but just didn't hear the album in it's entirety until 1981. "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant" alone is worth buying the album for. That pretty much seals the deal about who was the finest pop songwriter in the 70's. I always respected the hell out of Billy because he always wrote about every song he ever played. Billy really plays the hell out of the song "Scenes". It just gives me goosebumps whenever I hear it, just a good song story. "She's Always a Woman" and "Just The Way You Are" were huge hits and deservedly so, but I still prefer "Moving Out" and "Only The Good Die Young" a little bit more. I do honestly believe that his 52nd Street album was a slight improvement, but really it's debateable which one's really better. I really believe after the GLASS HOUSES album, the songs just weren't very good anymore. He just made some incredible albums in the 70's and that's when he really shined. If you're a youngster and you're thinking about buying this album "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant" will just blow you away, and you'll want to delve into all of his albums from at least the 1970's. ENJOY!!!...more info
  • Melodically interesting
    Of course Joel will be known as one of the best melody-creators of our time. One can always hum a Joel melody effortlessly. Everyone knows Joel's famous tracks on this album, but I like "Get it Right...." because of the inherent truth to the title. It's a good song.

    Still wondering if I should use "Just the Way You Are" at my wedding (like everyone else)....more info
  • Used goods sold as new
    I bought this product and the last track was scratched. Strange for a new CD right. I am still awaiting a refund. ...more info
  • Still One Of Billy Joel's Best
    "The Stranger" was Billy Joel's first album to receive substantial critical and popular acclaim, and remains to this day one of his best. It's a pop masterpiece filled with lyrical, cynical songs about missed opportunities in love and, in general, life; all of which are well-crafted tunes in the finest traditions of Tin Pan Alley. Joel shows how fine a song composer he is by successfully fusing together the best of jazz and Broadway. Undoubtedly "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant" is the album's best tune, yet he also has his finest love song "She's Always A Woman". Probably the most popular tune is "Anthony's Song (Movin' Out)". Joel's memorable lyrics and melodies sound fresh and quite relevant today. Along with "52nd Street", this is undoubtedly Joel's finest album from the 1970's....more info
  • An undeniable classic
    Without question, this album must be counted among the best of modern popular music. Billy Joel brings a remarkable combination of musicality, diverse styles, poignancy, romanticism and energy to these recordings. "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" alone would make this a classic, but in fact every track is memorable....more info
  • Billy Joel at his very best.
    This album brings back memories of childhood in a good way. The whole album is incredible. I learned about Billy Joel before I started getting into Elton. From the beginning to the end has songs you've heard on the radio all those years ago from his famous Anthony song Moving Out, Stranger always been a good listening track, Just The Way You Are, good love making track. Love the saxaphone and Billy playing on that piano on the Scene of an Italian Resturant, Only The Good Die Young, never gets old. She's Always a Woman, boy doesn't this explain it to the tee. Oh yeh if you wait a few seconds after Everybody Has A Dream, by the way a good Ray Charles impersonation there, but even better you get a reprise on the Stranger instrumental version of it. I would recommend this to anyone who likes Elton John's contributions to the music world. Go out and get this great 1977 set of Billy Joel's Stranger....more info
  • 4 and a half stars
    I'm one of the VERY few people who'd like 'Storm front' more than they liek 'The Stranger'. I have an old vinyl copy and the first side is perfection. 'Anthony's song' is just perfect, the haunting intro to the title track is replaced with a more relaxed pop sound, giving the contrast of the personalities of the person and their real self they don't show anyone else, i.e. 'The Stranger' and the albums title concept. Then Just the way you are is a lovely ballad and 'Scenes from an Italian restaurant' is fantastic anyway. The second side didn't set me on fire as much. 'Vienna' seems very depressing but I don't find it interesting and I didn't remember the song being anything special. Except for the accordion. Everybody has a dream is an excellent slice of R&B harkening back to his second album. 'She's always a woman to me' is just a beautiful, typical Joel Ballad. Get it right the first time is sought of a precursor to 'All for Leyna' but not as good. It's the closest thing the album has to a rock song. The other track, 'Only the good die young' is not a osng I like lyrically but the music is top notch....more info
  • classic
    Very diverse, catchy, well-written, -arranged & -performed. I would put this up there with "Born to Run" by the Boss, "London Calling" by the Clash, "My Aim is True" by Costello, "Look Sharp" by Joe Jackson, "Howlin' Wind" by Graham Parker, "Highway 61" or "Infidels" by Dylan. Yes, they're somewhat different styles, but I'm referring to the various influences and genres played here....more info
  • An enduring classic
    Billy Joel is many things: an expressive, virtuoso pianist; a soulful, versatile vocalist, an imaginative arranger; a tireless, exciting performer. But, above all, he is a songwriter of the highest order; an old-school tunesmith worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Lennon-McCartney, Cole Porter, Rogers-Hart, and, yes, Bob Dylan.

    He is a peerless storyteller who's knack for compelling, memorable melodies have made him one of the most successful singer-songwriters of the past 30 years. THE STRANGER remains, in many ways, his defining was the album when he really broke out into multi-platinum success and into the public's permanent consciousness.

    Much of the breakout is due to his timeless love ballad, "Just the Way You Are," which became (and remains) an absolute standard. But there's a lot more to THE STRANGER than that one brilliant song. Take for instance the fantastic title track, a noir-ish parable of betrayal and heartache; a pastiche of lonely atmospheric whistling and searing funk. It tells a lot of truth without being too preachy. Perhaps even better is the Italiano "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)," a jaunty anti-materilistic tale told with Joel's trademark cynical wit and spot-on observations. It hit #17 on the BILLBOARD Pop charts, and it remains a much-beloved classic in the Joel canon.

    "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" is the centerpiece of the album, the all-too-familiar story of Brenda and Eddie, the popular steadies, who were King and Queen of the Prom--destined for love, marriage, heartache, divorce, and a life of wistfully longing and wondering what could have been. Musically, it's expressed in a sprawling suite ranging from balladry to bombast, all done to great effect.

    The lovely "Vienna" features a perfect accordian break and a nice metaphor. "She's Always a Woman" is another slightly cynical lovesong; a man who has been burned, but can't stop loving a cruel woman. The melody for this one is among Joel's finest ever, and the song was a minor pop hit. "Get it Right the First Time" is solid, if not as spectacular as some of its counterparts. "Everybody Has a Dream" is almost like a Gospel song, complete with soaring background vocals.

    Only the very popular "Only the Good Die Young" misses the mark on this set. Musically, it's one of the best uptempo songs that Joel has ever done; but the lyrics are filled with mean-spirited, borderline bigoted religious put-downs. It charted on the pop singles chart and continues to receive airplay today. The best thing about it (and many other Billy Joel songs) is the wailing sax of Liberty DeVito.

    All in-all, this is a brilliant pop album. The only thing that kept it from hitting #1 was the SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER phenomenon. But the music herein has, for the most part, aged better than many of the FEVER songs, remaining fresh and thought-provoking all these years later....more info
  • the best of Billy Joel's albums? certainly!
    Luis Mejia (son)- This album is the first big hit album done by Billy Joel. when a person thinks about Billy Joel, 3 or 4 tracks of this album come to your mind. I can easily say that Billy Joel's greatest era were the seventies, and I say it because of masterpieces like Turnstiles, Piano Man, Streetlife Serenade and, of course, The Stranger. Well, lets talk abuot the album. Being released in 1977, is the fifth Joel's album. It's notable that the album great success is in part because of the collaboration with producer Phil Ramone. Also, in honor to Joel, a Broadway musical was named after the first track Movin' Out. Now I'll briefly describe the tracks:

    1. Movin' Out (Anthony's song): a fast, greatly composed five stars song. Joel describes in this track the empty aspirations of the middle class and low class in New York.

    2. The Stranger: the tittle track that starts and ends with a soft, street-sound musical piece characterized by a catchy whistle. The song is written based on a strange, non-seen before feeling of a given situation that Joel recites as "the stranger".

    3. Just The Way You Are: a grammy award-winner song (record of the year), certainly one of my favorites because it's soft, melodic, catchy and nice for hearing in any moment.

    4. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant: my favorite Joel's song ever. It's a seven minute long song that has everything; soft pieces, tempo adjusts, quick enjoyable parts and a melody never seen on Joel's past cds.

    5. Vienna: not much to say about this song, quite the worst among the best in this cd that is a common nice song.

    6. Only The Good Die Young: a great enjoyable song, that, well, I can't quite say that it's a masterpiece, and it is a bit strange in the lyrics.

    7. She's Always A Woman: a full piano song singed with great but simple style, also among my favorites Joel's songs. This would be the perfect track to represent the whole structure of the cd, and the best to hear first.

    8. Get It Right The First Time: a perfect song for dancing, this is a track where Joel expresses a lot more espontaneous mood and catchy rythms.

    9. Everybody Has A Dream: an inspiring song that I characterize mainly because of the great vocals that Joel applies on the song's chorus. I also can say that it's another masterpiece because of Joel great capacity of ending a masterpiece with a golden clip.

    In conclussion this is my favorite Joel album, if you hasn't heard anything about Billy Joel or you've heard everything, this is certainly the perfect album for hearing. My sincere recommendations....more info
  • Billy Joel's Best, I Think
    Wow, this album blows you away. Those rare albums you can find where every song or every song except 1 or 2, is great are hard to find. This is one of them. Some people will argue that this was not when he was at his best. I'd like to hear how they can justify that, but anyway. It starts off with a classic, Movin Out (Anthony's Song), then, one of my favorites, a haunting melody, The Stranger. Joel proves his extreme talent in this album. Then it moves to beautiful songs like, "Just The Way You Are," and "Scenes From An Italian Restaraunt," many people's favorite song of all time. The next song, Vienna, is also beautiful. And with megahit, Song #6, Only The Good Die Young, he basically proves that his music can go many ways and still be great. That fast moving tune, has some of the best lyrics anywhere. This album is a must have for everyone who likes any form of Rock. Not just Billy Joel.

    His next two songs, "She's Always A Woman" and "Get It Right The First Time" don't let you down. With Shes Always A Woman's powerful lyrics, and Get It Right The First Time's" fast moving beat, there were two more incredible songs on this album.

    The only song that is not great is the next one, in my opinion, "Everybody Has A Dream." A decent song, that is not near the first 8, it is a good way to end the album.

    This album here, contains 8 songs that would be in my Top 20 Billy Joel songs of all time. Not that his other works were not excellent, like "Piano Man," or "52nd Street," but "The Stranger" is superior. No question in my mind....more info

  • Memorable
    Billy Joel is one of my favourite artists, The 1970's my favourite era, and this is one of my favourite Billy Joel album.
    It has a relaxed bluesy feel.
    Memorable are the Italian American rock Movin' Out (Anthony's Song), the philosophical The Stranger, the appreciative Just The Way You Are, the reminisces of wasted lives Scenes From An Italian Restaurant, the rocking Only The Good Die Young and the tender She's Always A Woman.
    Aside from the greatest hits albums this is one of the first Billy Joel albums I would advise you to get.
    After his hits with Piano Man (1973) and Captian Jack (1973), this is what really put Billy Joel into superstar status.
    ...more info
  • The magnificent one, the beautiful one, the one and only one...
    This album sizzles with energy, honesty, and "I'll MAKE you pay attention" entertainment spirit. This was his big breakthrough album and it's not hard to see why. Every single track is excellent, and each very different from what went before. From start to finish, the emphasis is on simple Beatleish rock arrangements, played with finesse by a great backing band, with the piano front and center. It starts off with plain rock and roll - Moving Out, with its thumpy rhythm and brilliant ending. The Stranger (apart from its stylish intro and outro) is a bit more funky, with a lovely bridge/chorus. The much maligned Just The Way You Are suffers from a bit of cheesiness in production (Billy Joel calls this "Phil Ramone's Bossa Nova version), but is still a good heartfelt song for his first wife (whatever happened to her anyways?). The centrepiece of the album is Scenes, this is Billy Joel's tour-de-force to show everyone what he can do on the ivories. Vienna is a beautiful ballad, and Only the Good Die Young is a hilarious dance tune, still racy 30 years later. Always a Woman is played a bit stiffly on piano, and borders on cheesy lyrics, but still a great tune. The next two tracks are a *bit* weaker, but have their moments and are still brilliant songs, just in comparison with what came before... He came close to topping this album on Glass Houses but this still stands as his finest album. If you're going to have just one of his albums, I would recommend this.
    ...more info
  • 5 Star Music + Great Sound, Besides!
    I won't write a lengthy, positive review. On that score, I'll just say that this is one of those rare albums/tapes/CDs whare ALL the songs got heavy radio play (U2's "Joshua Tree" is another).

    My point in writing is that, having had this on CD since at least the early '90s, I finally (10 years later!) got this 1998 24-bit remastered version from It has *so* much more life, detail and space to it than the original CD version. I don't (yet) have an SACD player, so I can't comment on that critically acclaimed version; and the jury seems to be out on this year's remaster. This, though, I can highly recommend.

    Btw, this isn't an exercise in nostalgia ... this is timeless music....more info