Ranked 67/500 on Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Joels Breakthrough Record Loaded With Smash Hits: Movin Out (Anthonys Song), Just the Way You Are, Only the Good Die Young, Shes Always a Woman
Getting It Right: Mobile Fidelitys Half-Speed Mastered Version Brings Phil Ramones Celebrated Production into Full-Color Detail
1977 Set a Grammy Winner for Record of the Year and Song of the Year
Billy Joel entered 1977 with a great track record but in need of breakthrough. Pairing with producer Phil Ramone (Carly Simon, Simon & Garfunkel), who developed the requisite ingredients missing from Joels formula, the singer-songwriter became a household name and chart-topping success courtesy of The Stranger. Certified ten-times platinum, Joels artistic and commercial smash remains a pop-rock benchmark. Better still, it now sounds astonishing.
An integral part of Mobile Fidelitys Billy Joel catalog restoration series, The Stranger is mastered from the original master tapes and pressed on 180g LP at RTI. Far superior to the previous Sony and Simply Vinyl analog reissues, this edition emphasizes the crucial touches and insightful techniques Ramone brought to a batch of material that ranks among Joels most clever, catchy, and sagacious.
Whereas a handful of Joels 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 Ramones 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 vocalists 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 Joels 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, Shes Always A Woman hints at trouble underfoot. And then theres 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 (Anthonys 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.
Don't pass up this seminal pop-rock work in the best fidelity its ever enjoyed.
This title is not eligible for discount.
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/The Stranger (Reprise)