Attila (rock band)

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OriginNew York City
GenresProgressive rock, hard rock, heavy metal, psychedelic rock, acid rock
Years active1969 (1969)–1970 (1970)
Past membersBilly Joel
Jon Small

Attila was an American rock band, most notable for having featured a young Billy Joel as a member.[1]


Joel was a member of a band called The Hassles;[2] he and the drummer Jon Small broke away from the Hassles and formed Attila in 1969.[2] The instrumentation was organ and drums,[2] with Joel also handling the bass lines with a keyboard, similar to the Doors' Ray Manzarek.[3] Their creative partnership ended in 1970 when Joel ran off with Small's wife, Elizabeth, whom he later married,[4] although this did not end their collaborations, as Small produced Joel's Концерт video as well as the Live at Shea Stadium performance.

Attila album[edit]

Their only album, Attila, was released on July 27, 1970. Joel himself has gone on record as describing the album as "psychedelic bullshit".[4]

End of the sixties, I was in a two-man group. We were heavy metal, we were going to destroy the world with amplification, we had titles like "Godzilla", "March of the Huns", "Brain Invasion". A lot of people think [I] just came out of the piano bar... I did a lot of heavy metal for a while. We had about a dozen gigs and nobody could stay in the room when we were playing. It was too loud. We drove people literally out of clubs. "It was great, but we can't stay in the club."

— Billy Joel, Interview with Billy Joel by Dan Neer in 1985

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic wrote, "Attila undoubtedly is the worst album released in the history of rock & roll — hell, the history of recorded music itself. There have been many bad ideas in rock, but none match the colossal stupidity of Attila."[4]

Differently, a review on ends on a positive note: "But it's just too over-the-top... the album cover, the vocals, the lyrics, it just ends up being an extremely entertaining joke that Billy wasn't in on. But I've gotta say, I dug his trip, and the record still puts me in a good mood every time."[5]

One track from the album, "Amplifier Fire, Part 1 (Godzilla)," appears on Joel's 2005 boxed set, My Lives.[6][7]

Track listing[edit]

Songs written by Billy Joel and Jon Small.

Side one

  1. "Wonder Woman" — 3:38
  2. "California Flash" — 3:34
  3. "Revenge Is Sweet" — 4:01
  4. "Amplifier Fire (Part I: Godzilla/Part II: March of the Huns)" — 7:40

Side two

  1. "Rollin' Home" — 4:55
  2. "Tear This Castle Down" — 5:49
  3. "Holy Moses" — 4:30
  4. "Brain Invasion" — 5:43

No singles were released from the album and it did not chart.


  • Produced By Irwin Mazur, Billy Joel and Jon Small.


  • Billy Joel (credited as William Joel) - vocals, keyboards, songwriter
  • Jon Small - drums, songwriter
  • Glenn Evans - road manager and creator of the direct input of a Hammond organ to Marshall amplifiers.


  1. ^ Billy Joel Turns 70: Looking Backat His Early Heavy Metal Career|
  2. ^ a b c "Here's The Thing: Billy Joel".
  3. ^ 50 Years Ago: Billy Joel Goes Heavy Metal With Attila - Ultimate Classic Rock
  4. ^ a b c Proefrock, Stacia. "Attila - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-09.
  5. ^ "Julian Cope presents Head Heritage | Unsung | Reviews | Attila - Attila".
  6. ^ My Lives|Billy Joel Official Site
  7. ^ My Lives - Billy Joel|AllMusic

External links[edit]