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Billy Joel - The Stranger RIAA Certified Multi-Platinum! Click here to see this CD at Amazon.com!

By Don Harrison

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...).

Tracks
1. Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)6. Only the Good Die Young
2. Stranger7. She's Always a Woman
3. Just the Way You Are8. Get It Right the First Time
4. Scenes from an Italian Restaurant9. Everybody Has a Dream
5. Vienna

 

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"The album is without question the greatest of its genre. It set one of the many patterns in the 70's, and Joel himself created many others along the rest of the way in his career. Nonetheless, from beginning to end The Stranger is a masterpiece that set the artist on his way."

--Michael

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MUSICAL NOTES

Artist: Billy Joel

Released: December 4, 1977

Availability: CD, Vinyl

Awards:  Platinum (9)


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