Billy Joelâ€™s 1977 album, â€œThe Strangerâ€, has a number of hits that fans of Joelâ€™s would declare as some of Joelâ€™s defining tracks. This means that â€œJust The Way You Areâ€, â€œSheâ€™s Always A Womanâ€, and â€œMovinâ€™ Outâ€ all reached the top 20, while â€œOnly The Good Die Youngâ€ hit #24. A slight bit over thirty years have passed, and Sony Legacy have recreated some of the original magic that made â€œThe Strangerâ€ into the seminal Billy Joel album.
There are a number of different legacy editions one can buy, whether it be the 2 CD base edition, which features a live concert from Carnegie Hall, or the 2 CD / 1 DVD edition that gives listeners an additional DVD full of promo videos along with a seldom-seen appearance on a period show called the Old Grey Whistle Test. For those vinylphiles, Sony Legacy has even given them the option to purchase new vinyl that has download codes, making it possible for listeners that have purchased the album to get a similar array of bonus features. The Carnegie Hall concert is taken from June of 1977, tying together some of Joelâ€™s biggest hits â€“ â€œJust The Way You Areâ€, â€œCaptain Jackâ€, and â€œAngry Young Manâ€ â€“ with lesser-known hits such as â€œThe Entertainerâ€ and â€œSouvenirâ€. Despite the fact that the concert was recorded over thirty years ago, the quality of this recording is sharp, allowing for listeners to hear enough of Joelâ€™s nuances and idiosyncrasies to make it seem as if they are actually there at the show. For those individuals that may not have been alive during the period which this album originally had its run at the top (I know that I was six years away from being born), there is a huge (48 page) booklet that has extensive notes giving readers some sort of context regarding how the world was when â€œThe Strangerâ€ originally hit record stores.
I can only hope that Sony Legacy continues to release the rest of Billy Joelâ€™s corpus as Legacy Editions in the years and decades to come: there are just so many fans of Joelâ€™s that are thirsty for any extra material that may still be floating out there, in vaults and other repositories. If you liked â€œThe Strangerâ€ when it first came out or would like to see what was so special about this recording, I would whole-heartedly suggest that you pick this set up.
Top Tracks: Scenes From An Italian Restaurant, Vienna