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Rolling Stone's Top 500 Albums
The StrangerRanked 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)
$49.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl 45 RPM LP - 2 LPs SealedBuy Now
52nd StreetRanked 352/500 on Rolling Stone’s List of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
52nd Street on Numbered Limited Edition 180 Gram 45RPM 2LP from Mobile Fidelity
Mainstream Perfection: Melodic Devices, Passionate Singing, Sophisticated Arrangements, Jazzy Backdrop Walk Down 52nd Street
Commanding Sonics: Mobile Fidelity Edition Sets the New Standard in How Joel’s 1978 Classic Should—and Does—Sound
Chart-Topper Certified Seven-Times Platinum: Includes “Big Shot,” “Honesty,” “My Life”
Some artists embrace their success by repeating the steps that originally granted them fame. Billy Joel did the opposite, refusing to be contained by prescribed approaches or constrained by a given label. The follow-up to the breakthrough The Stranger, 52nd Street further expands on its predecessor's bold production techniques and inventive arrangements, incorporating more sophisticated textures as well as reflecting a jazz edge gleaned from New York City’s thriving club scene.
A key component of Mobile Fidelity’s Billy Joel catalog restoration series, The Stranger is mastered from the original master tapes and pressed on 45RPM 180 gram LP at RTI. The wider and deeper grooves—as well as the meticulous mastering process—yield resplendent dynamics, broad soundstages, three-dimensional perspectives, and tonal balances absent from prior editions. Indeed, Joel wouldn’t sound more realistic if were playing ten rows away from you onstage. This is how you want to experience the 1978 LP that captured the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.
Teaming again with producer Phil Ramone, Joel capitalizes on his momentum, churning out another direct-sounding affair replete with captivating melodic devices, showmanship accents, and penetrating lyrics. The singer’s concision and focus is evident via the tune’s lengths, with only “Until the Night” breaking the six-minute mark. Hit singles “Big Shot” and “My Life” rattle forth with an urgency and intensity that Joel had not previously demonstrated, the combination of passionate deliveries, snide overtones, and insistent grooves setting the table for what follows.
Broadening his palette, and drawing from New York’s thriving jazz club scene and the city’s late-70s grit, Joel splashes Latin and jazz colors on several pieces—even employing veterans such as Dave Grusin and Freddie Hubbard to contribute along with a cast that includes a team of background vocalists and horn players. Everything is tastefully appointed, and yet the vocalist’s trademark Broadway gaze and knack for the grand gesture coincide with the straight-ahead swagger.
52nd Street is one of the main reasons why Joel has always been championed for consistency. Everything here, from the production to the stand-up songs, helped redefine mainstream pop-rock. More than three decades later, it’s finally available in fidelity that rivals that of those Columbia Records’ master tapes produced right on 52nd Street. Mobile Fidelity takes you there and Joel sweeps you away.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. Big Shot
3. My Life
6. Roaslinda’s Eyes
7. Half a Mile Away
8. Until the Night
9. 52nd Street
$49.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP 45 RPM - 2 LPs SealedBuy Now