Posted on: September 19, 2008 Posted by: James McQuiston Comments: 0

Billy Joel’s 1977 album, “The Stranger”, has a number of hits that fans of Joel’s would declare as some of Joel’s defining tracks. This means that “Just The Way You Are”, “She’s Always A Woman”, and “Movin’ Out” all reached the top 20, while “Only The Good Die Young” hit #24. A slight bit over thirty years have passed, and Sony Legacy have recreated some of the original magic that made “The Stranger” 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 Joel’s biggest hits – “Just The Way You Are”, “Captain Jack”, and “Angry Young Man” – with lesser-known hits such as “The Entertainer” and “Souvenir”. 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 Joel’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 “The Stranger” originally hit record stores.

I can only hope that Sony Legacy continues to release the rest of Billy Joel’s corpus as Legacy Editions in the years and decades to come: there are just so many fans of Joel’s that are thirsty for any extra material that may still be floating out there, in vaults and other repositories. If you liked “The Stranger” 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

Rating: 8.2/10

Billy Joel – The Stranger Legacy Edition / 2008 Sony Legacy / 23 Tracks / / /

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