Some artists never really achieve the commercial success they deserve. Some artists gain it immediately. And for some, like Billy Joel, it takes a few years and numerous albums. In his case it took five.
The Stranger, released in 1977 was the album that brought worldwide critical acclaim to Billy Joel and propelled him from modestly popular to super stardom. This is another one of those albums that is almost like a greatest hits package in itself. Although Joel did have some great records after this, in my opinion none of them ever equaled the creativity and quality of the songs that he put out on The Stranger.
Although Piano Man, from Joel’s second album of the same name, is considered the quintessential Billy Joel song, my favorite song by Joel is on this album, songs from an Italian restaurant. The signature changes and moods of the song constantly shifting to set the scene of reminiscing and telling stories with old friends over a meal and a bottle or two of wine. By the end I can’t help feeling as if these people were personal friends of mine; and I always felt sorry for Brenda and Eddie. But that’s life.