- Audio CD (Oct. 20 1998)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Enhanced, Original recording remastered
- Label: Sony Music Canada
- ASIN: B00000DCH9
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Audio Cassette | LP Record
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #25,311 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Piano Man Enhanced, Original recording remastered
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His 1973 Columbia Records debut-and first charting album.
This disc is the album that launched Billy Joel as the megastar singer-songwriter of the '70s, and with good reason. Both the title track and "Captain Jack" have become karaoke bar standards, staples of FM radio rock, and cocktail lounges. Some of the lesser-known material in this program, including the truly touching "You're My Home," have aged no less well. The minimal production used here puts Joel's piano and vocals at the forefront, and to good effect. This disc prefigures Joel's fame and remains one of the highest points of his art, and is an essential for any collection of soft rock. --Skip Heller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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It wasn't long before I became intimately familiar with all the songs on this album. Nowadays, I don't listen much to Billy Joel (probably because I listened to so much of him during High School), but looking at "Piano Man" in the context of his other work as well as my exposure to much more and different and varied music over the years, I still feel that this is a really good album from someone who would emerge as one of the premier songwriters of the '70s and '80s.
Highlights of this album include the poignant, expressive title track which paints a vivid picture of Billy Joel's experience as a lounge pianist (I believe in L.A.). He paints great characters in this song which, in itself would make the song really good - of course, then there's the great music of the song. "Captain Jack" was another great hit off of this album - an ode to the hopelessness of suburban teenagerdom...Other great songs found here include the rollicking western style "The Ballad of Billy The Kid", the pretty "Your My Home" (which my friends used as their wedding first dance song), and two very catchy, lesser-known songs "Worse Comes To Worst" and "Ain't No Crime". Also, "Stop In Nevada" is a very pretty song which, for me, for reasons other than the just the song title, evokes images of the expanses of the American West...Same thing with "Billy The Kid", except with that song, the song really does have a western flavor.
To sum up, there are two songs here which, as individual songs ("Ballad of Billy The Kid" and the title track)are masterpieces when standing alone. The rest of the songs here range from good to very good. While not a masterpiece as a whole, it is a very good album - I would give it 4 1/2 stars (to get above this, really every song has to be classic material) and round up to 5 stars...HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
As great as the classics "Piano Man", "Captain Jack","Worse Comes To Worst","You're My Home", "Stop In Neveda" and "If I Only Had The Words" are, the collection also features the likes of "Travelin' Prayer". I have always found that song a bit of a rambling mess. Equally unfocused is "Aint No Crime". At this point in his career, I don't think he quite had a knack for songs with a rapid tempo yet. But if the song was a slow ballad or had a mixed tempo, Joel could sing like no other. Fotunately he would go on to master songs with any tempo later on as time passed.
The CD has 10 tracks and a running time of 43:38 Recommened
The first two tracks betray this gloomy album. "Travellin' Prayer" is an upbeat song, about protecting one's love against her travelling adventures. "Piano Man" is the title track that established Joel as a major songwriter, constantly overplayed on classic-rock radio, recollecting the experience and even some of the characters he remembered from his six months as a lounge lizard pianist in a Los Angeles dive. They seemed to have fueled the fire for the rest of the album.
Joel takes another mellow break with the lovely and hopeful ballad "You're My Home," the other well-known song besides "Piano Man" itself. But then Joel launches into one frustrated tirade after another: "Ain't No Crime," "Worse Comes to Worst," "Stop in Nevada," "Somewhere Along the Line," and the unforgettable "Captain Jack," the musical equivalent of arson, deliberately burning every human emotion in its path. This is a low as Billy gets. It's a powerful song that was humorously -- and stupidly -- played at a Hillary Clinton for Senate fundraiser. By the end of the album, if it's not evident that Billy Joel is suffering from a nervous breakdown, you soon will.
This is why I can't understand those who would classify this album in the soft-rock category, "Piano Man" and "You're My Home" notwithstanding.
Don't be misled, Billy rocks out on this album in total [ticked]-off fashion and leaves us with frazzled nerves. But it's a classic and needs to be in your collection. This album contains some truly brilliant songwriting with some real rock riffs and tasty country-style steel guitar riffs along with Joel's trademark piano chords. Just listen to it in when an upbeat mood. Listening to it when you're depressed should be illegal.
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