The Longest Time

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"The Longest Time"
Single by Billy Joel
from the album An Innocent Man
B-side "Christie Lee"
Released March 1984
Format 12", CD
Genre Doo-wop
Length 3:40
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Billy Joel
Producer(s) Phil Ramone
Billy Joel singles chronology
"An Innocent Man"
"The Longest Time"
"Leave a Tender Moment Alone"

"The Longest Time" is an a cappella doo-wop single by Billy Joel. The song was released as a single in 1984 as the fourth single from the 1983 album An Innocent Man. It reached number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart.[1] In the United Kingdom the song reached number 25 on the UK Singles Chart.

The song features Joel on lead vocals and all backing vocals. Joel recorded 14 different background tracks which were mixed into the song.[2] Only one musical instrument, a bass guitar, is present in the song.[citation needed] All other sounds in the song are Joel's vocals, along with percussive sounds such as finger snaps and hand claps.[3] It was originally recorded as the demo "The Prime of Your Life".[4]

Music video[edit]

The music video starts with a man (played by Joel) in a gym after his 25th high school reunion party. Looking around at posters of several class awards, he breaks into song as his band, apparently portrayed as his high school friends, enters the gym. As they sing, they alternate between their high school and current (or even older) selves. The video was entirely filmed at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1984) Peak
Australian Singles Chart 15
RPM Top Singles[5] 36
Irish Singles Chart 18
New Zealand Singles Chart 24
UK Singles Chart 25
US Billboard Hot 100 14
US Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 1

Cover versions[edit]

In 1984, Alvin and the Chipmunks and The Chipettes covered the song for the Alvin and the Chipmunks episode "Operation Theodore". Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, a punk cover band, covered the song on their 2004 album Ruin Jonny's Bar Mitzvah. In 2009, Only Men Aloud covered the song on the album Band of Brothers, and in 2010, The Overtones covered the song on their Good Ol' Fashioned Love album, which reached #4 on the UK albums chart.

In 2013, the members of Glee '​s New Directions glee club performed an a cappella version of the song in the episode "Lights Out".[6] That same year, the song was also performed by Josh Radnor and Neil Patrick Harris in the How I Met Your Mother episode "The Time Travelers".

The song is covered as part of a cut-away gag in the Family Guy episode "The Fat Guy Strangler".

Preceded by
"Hello" by Lionel Richie
Billboard Adult Contemporary (chart) number-one single
May 19, 1984 – May 26, 1984
Succeeded by
"Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper


External links[edit]