An Innocent Man
|An Innocent Man|
|Studio album by Billy Joel|
|Released||August 8, 1983|
|Recorded||Chelsea Sound and A&R Recording, Inc., New York, NY Spring, 1983|
|Genre||Rock, rock and roll, pop rock|
|Billy Joel chronology|
|Singles from An Innocent Man|
An Innocent Man is the ninth studio album by American singer-songwriter Billy Joel, released on August 8, 1983. The concept album is a tribute to the American popular music of Joel's teenage years with Joel paying homage to a number of different popular American musical styles from the late 1950s and early 1960s, most notably doo-wop and soul music (see each track listed below for specific homages). The album cover artwork was taken on the front steps of 142 Mercer Street, just north of the intersection of Mercer and Prince Street in the SoHo neighborhood in New York City.
The album featured three Billboard Top 10 hit singles: "Tell Her About It", which reached #1, "Uptown Girl", which peaked at #3 and "An Innocent Man", which peaked at #10. Four other singles were released from the album: "The Longest Time" (number 14), "Leave a Tender Moment Alone" (number 27), "Keeping the Faith" (number 18) and "This Night" (US B-Side of "Leave a Tender Moment Alone"). "Tell Her About It" and "Uptown Girl" garnered international success — "Uptown Girl" reached #1 in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. An Innocent Man remained on the U.S. Pop album chart for 111 weeks, becoming Joel's longest charting studio album behind The Stranger. For over a year, the album remained on the charts in the UK, Japan, and Australia.
Like his three previous efforts, Joel's An Innocent Man received a nomination for the 26th Grammy Award for Album of the Year, although the award went to Michael Jackson's Thriller. The album was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "Uptown Girl," but again was beaten by Thriller.
In an interview about the making of the album, Joel talks about the fact that at the time that he was recording An Innocent Man, he was newly divorced from his first wife, Elizabeth Weber, and was single for the first time since achieving rock star status. So he had the opportunity to date supermodels like Elle Macpherson and Christie Brinkley, and because of these experiences, he said, "I kind of felt like a teenager all over again."  And so he started writing songs in the same style as pop songs that he remembered from his teenage years, citing pop music from the late 1950s and early 1960s, including "early R&B songs and The Four Seasons, and the Motown music, soul music."
Joel explained, "When you're gonna write [songs for a new album], you write what you're feeling. And I didn't fight it. The material was coming so easily and so quickly, and I was having so much fun doing it. I was kind of reliving my youth. . .I think within 6 weeks I had written most of the material on the album." Joel also said that he was pleasantly surprised to have hit records in the 1980s with retro songs like the mostly a cappella doo wop song "The Longest Time."
All songs by Billy Joel, except for the chorus for "This Night," which is credited on the sleeve to L. v. Beethoven.
The track listing on the LP is slightly different from that on the cassette and original CD pressings, with the latter swapping "The Longest Time" and "Uptown Girl"'s places respectively. However, on the actual cassette shell and disc label, the songs are listed (and play) in the correct order as printed on the LP.
LP track listing
|1.||"Easy Money" (Homage to James Brown and Wilson Pickett)||4:04|
|2.||"An Innocent Man" (Homage to Ben E. King and The Drifters)||5:17|
|3.||"The Longest Time" (Homage to doo-wop)||3:42|
|4.||"This Night" (Homage to Little Anthony and the Imperials)||4:17|
|5.||"Tell Her About It" (Homage to Motown girl groups like The Supremes and Martha and the Vandellas)||3:52|
|1.||"Uptown Girl" (Homage to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons)||3:17|
|2.||"Careless Talk" (Homage to Sam Cooke)||3:48|
|3.||"Christie Lee" (Homage to Little Richard)||3:31|
|4.||"Leave a Tender Moment Alone" (Homage to Smokey Robinson)||3:56|
|5.||"Keeping the Faith" (Homage to late 1950s-early 1960s R&B)||4:41|
- Billy Joel - Baldwin acoustic piano (SF-10), Fender Rhodes, Hammond B3 organ, lead & background vocals
- Liberty DeVitto - drums
- Doug Stegmeyer - bass guitar
- David Brown - electric & acoustic guitars (lead)
- Russell Javors - electric & acoustic guitars (rhythm)
- Mark Rivera - alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, percussion
- Ralph MacDonald - percussion on "Leave a Tender Moment Alone" and "Careless Talk"
- Leon Pendarvis - Hammond B3 organ on "Easy Money"
- Richard Tee - acoustic piano on "Tell Her About It"
- Eric Gale - electric guitar on "Easy Money"
- "String Fever" - strings
- Ronnie Cuber - baritone saxophone on "Easy Money", "Careless Talk", "Tell Her About It" and "Keeping the Faith"
- Jon Faddis - trumpet on "Easy Money"
- David Sanborn - alto saxophone on "Easy Money"
- Joe Shepley - trumpet on "Easy Money", "Careless Talk", "Tell Her About It" and "Keeping the Faith"
- Michael Brecker - tenor saxophone on "Careless Talk", "Tell Her About It" and "Keeping the Faith"
- John Gatchell - trumpet on "Careless Talk", "Tell Her About It" and "Keeping the Faith"
- Tom Bahler - background vocals
- Rory Dodd - background vocals
- Frank Floyd - background vocals
- Lani Groves - background vocals
- Ullanda McCullough - background vocals
- Ron Taylor - background vocals
- Terry Textor - background vocals
- Eric Troyer - background vocals
- Mike Alexander - background vocals
- Toots Thielemans - harmonica on "Leave a Tender Moment Alone"
- Mark Rivera - alto saxophone on "Keeping the Faith", "This Night" and "Christie Lee"
- Producer: Phil Ramone
- Engineers: Jim Boyer, Bradshaw Leigh
- Assistant engineers: Mike Allaire, Scott James
- Production coordinator: Laura Loncteaux
- Mastering: Ted Jensen
- Horn and string arrangements: David Matthews
- Background vocal arrangements: Tom Bahler
- Musical advisor: Billy Zampino
- Photography: Gilles Larrain
- Cover design: Christopher Austopchuk, Mark Larson
- Recorded at Chelsea Sound and A & R Recording, Inc., New York, NY
- Mixed at A & R Recording, Inc., New York, NY
- Mastered at Sterling Sound, New York, NY
|Year||Recipient / Nominated work||Award||Result|
|1984||An Innocent Man||Album of the Year||Nominated|
|"Uptown Girl"||Best Pop Vocal Performance - Male||Nominated|
American Music Awards
|Year||Recipient / Nominated work||Award||Result|
|1983||Billy Joel (performer)||Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist||Nominated|
|"Tell Her About It"||Favorite Pop/Rock Video ||Nominated|
|Australian Albums Chart||12|
|UK Albums Chart||33|
Certifications and sales
|Australia (ARIA)||5× Platinum||350,000^|
|Canada (Music Canada)||3× Platinum||300,000^|
|Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)||Gold||10,000*|
|Japan (Oricon Charts)||510,000|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Platinum||15,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||3× Platinum||900,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||7× Platinum||7,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
- An Innocent Man at AllMusic
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- Billy Joel website interview
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- Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
- THE FIELD id (chart number) MUST BE PROVIDED for NEW ZEALAND CERTIFICATION.
- "British album certifications – Billy Joel – An Innocent Man". British Phonographic Industry. Enter An Innocent Man in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
- "American album certifications – Billy Joel – An Innocent Man". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
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