An Innocent Man

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
An Innocent Man
BillyJoel AnInnocentMan.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 8, 1983 (1983-08-08)
RecordedChelsea Sound and A&R Recording, Inc., New York, NY Spring, 1983
LabelFamily Productions/Columbia
ProducerPhil Ramone
Billy Joel chronology
The Nylon Curtain
An Innocent Man
Greatest Hits, Vols. 1 & 2
Singles from An Innocent Man
  1. "Tell Her About It"
    Released: July 1983
  2. "Uptown Girl"
    Released: September 1983
  3. "An Innocent Man"
    Released: December 1983
  4. "The Longest Time"
    Released: March 1984
  5. "Leave a Tender Moment Alone"
    Released: July 1984
  6. "Keeping the Faith"
    Released: September 1984
  7. "This Night"
    Released: November 1984
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Record GuideB+[2]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3.5/5 stars[4]

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 adolescent 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.[5] The album cover artwork was taken on the front steps of 142 Mercer Street,[6] just north of the intersection of Mercer and Prince Street in the SoHo neighborhood in New York City.[7]

Chart performance[edit]

The album featured three Billboard Top 10 hit singles: "Tell Her About It" (No. 1), "Uptown Girl" (No. 3) and "An Innocent Man" (No. 10). Four other singles were released from the album: "The Longest Time" (No. 14), "Leave a Tender Moment Alone" (No. 27), "Keeping the Faith" (No. 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 No. 1 in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. An Innocent Man remained on the US 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." [5] 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."[5]

Track listing[edit]

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 places of "The Longest Time" and "Uptown Girl" 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.

Side one
1."Easy Money" (Homage to James Brown and Wilson Pickett[5])4:04
2."An Innocent Man" (Homage to Ben E. King and The Drifters)5:17
3."The Longest Time" (Homage to doo-wop groups like Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers)3:42
4."This Night" (Homage to Little Anthony and the Imperials; also to Ludwig van Beethoven's Pathetique sonata)4:17
5."Tell Her About It" (Homage to Motown groups like The Supremes and The Temptations)3:52
Side two
6."Uptown Girl" (Homage to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons[8])3:17
7."Careless Talk" (Homage to Sam Cooke)3:48
8."Christie Lee" (Homage to Little Richard or Jerry Lee Lewis)3:31
9."Leave a Tender Moment Alone" (Homage to Smokey Robinson)3:56
10."Keeping the Faith" (Homage to Pre-British Invasion Rock n Roll)4:41


Additional personnel

  • 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"
  • Toots Thielemans – harmonica on "Leave a Tender Moment Alone"
  • "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


  • 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


Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1984 An Innocent Man Album of the Year[9] Nominated
"Uptown Girl" Best Pop Vocal Performance – Male[9] Nominated

American Music Awards[edit]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1983 Billy Joel (performer) Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist[10] Nominated
"Tell Her About It" Favorite Pop/Rock Video [10] Nominated


Decade-end charts[edit]

Chart (1980–89) Position
Australian Albums Chart[11] 12
UK Albums Chart[35] 33

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[36] 5× Platinum 350,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[37] 3× Platinum 300,000^
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[38] Gold 10,000*
Japan (Oricon Charts) 510,000[16][39]
New Zealand (RMNZ)[40] Platinum 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[41] 3× Platinum 900,000^
United States (RIAA)[42] 7× Platinum 7,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "An Innocent Man – Billy Joel". AllMusic. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (1990). "Billy Joel: An Innocent Man". Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-679-73015-X. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  3. ^ Puterbaugh, Parke (August 18, 1983). "Billy Joel: An Innocent Man". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 20 February 2008. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  4. ^ Evans, Paul (2004). "Billy Joel". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 434–35. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  5. ^ a b c d "Billy Joel Website Interview". Archived from the original on 2016-03-19. Retrieved 2012-01-09.
  6. ^ "Billy Joel – "An Innocent Man" Album Cover Location". ROCK AND ROLL GPS. 2014-09-03. Retrieved 2017-09-22.
  7. ^ "Billy Joel – An Innocent Man – Album Cover Location", PopSpots
  8. ^ "Billy Joel website interview". Archived from the original on 2016-03-19. Retrieved 2012-01-09.
  9. ^ a b "Rock On The Net: 26th Annual Grammy Awards – 1984". Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  10. ^ a b "11th American Music Awards". Retrieved 2011-11-01.
  11. ^ a b c d Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  12. ^ Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2011-11-01
  13. ^ " Billy Joel – An Innocent Man". MegaCharts. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  14. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste : Billy JOEL". Archived from the original on 2013-09-10. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  15. ^ "Tonlist Top 40". DV. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
  16. ^ a b "Yamachan Land (Japanese Chart Archives) – Albums Chart Daijiten – Billy Joel" (in Japanese). Original Confidence. 2007-12-30. Archived from the original on 2012-02-08. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  17. ^ " – Billy Joel – An Innocent Man". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  18. ^ " Billy Joel – An Innocent Man". Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  19. ^ " Billy Joel – An Innocent Man". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  20. ^ "Chart Stats – Billy Joel – An Innocent Man". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  21. ^ Allmusic – An Innocent Man > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums
  22. ^ "Album Search: Billy Joel" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 2011-08-28.
  23. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1983". RPM. Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  24. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Album 1983". Dutch Charts. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  25. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1983 par InfoDisc" (in French). Archived from the original (PHP) on 9 February 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  26. ^ 1983年アルバム年間ヒットチャート "Japanese Year-End Albums Chart 1983" Check |url= value (help) (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  27. ^ "UK best albums 1983". Archived from the original on 2012-12-29. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  28. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1984". RPM. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
  29. ^ "日本で売れた洋楽アルバムトップ10" [Top-ten international albums on the Japanese Oricon Year-End Charts 1984]. Archived from the original on 2007-10-21. Retrieved 2007-10-21.
  30. ^ "The Top 50 Albums of 1984". Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  31. ^ "Top Albums of 1984". 1980s Albums Chart Archive. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  32. ^ "1984 Billboard Year-End". Billboard. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  33. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – 1985". Hung Medien. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  34. ^ "Billboard.BIZ – Year-end Charts – Billboard 200 – 1985". Billboard. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  35. ^
  36. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1984 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association.
  37. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Billy Joel – An Innocent Man". Music Canada.
  38. ^ "IFPIHK Gold Disc Award − 1985". IFPI Hong Kong.
  39. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  41. ^ "British album certifications – Billy Joel – An Innocent Man". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type An Innocent Man in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  42. ^ "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.