The Stranger by Billy Joel
Ranked 67/500 on Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Billy Joel has become the sixth best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in the United States. He has had multiple Top 10 hits in the '80s and '90s, all of which he wrote singlehandedly. He is also a six-time Grammy Award winner, has sold over 100 million records worldwide and was inducted into almost every Hall of Fame there exists. Joel retired from recording pop music in 1993 but continues to tour, often with Elton John.
'The Stranger' is his fifth studio album, originally released in 1977. While his four previous albums had been moderate chart successes, this was his breakthrough album. It remains Joel's best-selling non-compilation album to date. 'The Stranger' contains nine songs, many of which are now considered "classic Joel". Much of the album's success is attributed to Joel's collaboration with producer Phil Ramone, whose innovative production methods complemented Joel's songs. This fruitful collaboration would continue for a decade.
Whereas a handful of Joel’s preceding efforts feature a near-flawless mix of melodic arrangements and poignant lyrics, the aspects he sought in order to graduate into a more serious artist arrive here via Ramone’s more muscular, fleshed-out, and rock-enabling production. The streamlined approach slightly strips back the sweeping developments heard on Piano Man and Turnstiles, and on this edition, lays bare the core of the material, allowing the vocalist’s bittersweet yearning, rollicking 88 notes, and working-class conviction to emanate with full-bodied detail, vivid color, and grand-scale dynamics.
A Grammy winner for both Record and Song of the Year, “Just the Way You Are” epitomizes Joel’s balladic reach, his ability to transfer wistful sentiments and lovelorn emotions. He also flashes a mean streak. The animated “Only the Good Die Young” bounces and hops to an updated classic-R&B rhythm and, underneath its beauty, “She’s Always A Woman” hints at trouble underfoot. And then there’s the New York-centric, character-rich poetry of the vignettes.
Akin to many of his influences, Joel nails the grit, personality, specificity, descriptiveness, and behavior of protagonists that populate “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” and “Scenes From an Italian Diner,” each equally at home on The Stranger as well as on a Broadway play or on a golden-era Hollywood film soundtrack. No wonder that, just months after its original release, Joel was no longer a stranger to any of the music-loving public. He would never look back.
1. Movin Out (Anthonys Song)
2. The Stranger
3. Just the Way You Are
4. Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
6. Only the Good Die Young
7. Shes Always a Woman
8. Get It Right the First Time
9. Everybody Has a Dream
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Vinyl records are able to capture the purest quality of recorded music in true form. This is possible because the initial recording is captured on an analog source (usually tape) for the ultimate in High Fidelity sound, it is then pressed onto virgin vinyl. Analog recordings capture the bottom end (or bass) while adding sweetness to the high end (or treble) better than any digital recording ever could. Analog systems are still commonly used before they are digitally transferred to CD. This means that the sound then is altered in the transfer process when CD's are produced. The word fidelity means accuracy and faithfulness. High Fidelity sound is faithful to the original sound made by the artist, capturing maximum accuracy of what was intended for the listener to hear. Vinyl records capture those sounds for the ultimate High Fidelity listening experience!
180/200 GRAM Vinyl LP
These vinyl records are produced with 180 or 200 grams of high definition premium grade virgin vinyl. This is a higher quality audiophile pressing than the typical vinyl record of 100-120 grams. These limited edition LP's are manufactured with the hi-fi enthusiast in mind. A 180 or 200 gram LP is sometimes also referred to as an audiophile pressing, there is a higher bass response and an even warmer High Fidelity sound. 180 or 200 grams LP's are typically manufactured in limited amounts and are considered collectables, commanding a higher price.
Typically, a vinyl reissue is a repressing of an original LP, usually extracted from the recording's master-tapes. In some cases, reissues are remastered to lower surface noise and improve overall sonics. Reissues help preserve the music of an original recording, especially when original LPs become unavailable or can no longer be found. Reissues can be pressed on a variety of thickness from 150 gram to 200 gram and offer a great opportunity for records collectors to own many classic recordings.