Friday, May 24, 2024

Various Artists - The Hitmakers Sing Billy Joel (2023)

In 1976 Billy Joel released his fifth studio album, and fourth for Columbia Records, 'Turnstiles', which sold modestly and peaked low on the US charts, prompting Columbia to consider dropping him if his next release sold as poorly. He wanted the new album to feature his touring band, formed during the production of 'Turnstiles', consisting of drummer Liberty DeVitto, bassist Doug Stegmeyer, and multi-instrumentalist saxophonist/organist Richie Cannata, and so seeking out a new producer he first turned to veteran Beatles producer George Martin, before coming across and settling on Phil Ramone, whose name he had seen on albums by other artists such as Paul Simon. Recording took place over three weeks in July and August 1977, and featured DeVitto, Stegmeyer and Cannata, with other studio musicians filling in on guitar when needed. Four of the songs were released as singles in North America, with the opening song, 'Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)', centered around Anthony, a grocery-store employee from Long Island who "dreams of making it big", receiving pressure from his family to move out and go his own way, while 'Just The Way You Are' was inspired by Joel's love for his wife at the time, Elizabeth Weber, and she also inspired the song 'More Than A Woman'. The seven and a half minute epic 'Scenes From An Italian Restaurant', was stitched together from three shorter songs, 'The Italian Restaurant Song', 'Things Are OK In Oyster Bay' and 'The Ballad Of Brenda And Eddie', into one of his best know pieces. When 'The Stranger' was released in September 1977 it spent six weeks at No. 2 on the US Billboard 200, and it is considered Joel's critical and commercial breakthrough record. All four singles that were released in the US became Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, with 'Just The Way You Are' making it to number 3. It remains his best-selling non-compilation album to date, and with so many memorable songs on it, it's no surprise that many of them have been covered over the years, by artists as diverse as Barry White and Umphrey's McGee. 

Track listing

01 Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) (Alex Goot 2014)    
02 The Stranger (I_Like_It_Here 2020) 
03 Just The Way You Are (Barry White 1978)
04 Scenes From An Italian Restaurant (Umphrey's McGee 2019)
05 Vienna (Couch 2023)
06 Only The Good Die Young (Taryn Southern 2015)       
07 She's Always A Woman (Lynda Carter 1978)
08 Get It Right The First Time (The Billy Joel Experience 2019)
08 Everybody Has A Dream (The Manhattans 1978)



    Great minds and all that, and shared tracks LOL

  2. Thank you for these. I love this series