Just the Way You Are (Billy Joel song)

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"Just the Way You Are"
Just the Way You Are by Billy Joel US vinyl.jpg
Side-A label of U.S. vinyl single
Single by Billy Joel
from the album The Stranger
B-side "Get It Right the First Time"
Released September 26, 1977
Format 7" single
Recorded 1976
Genre Soft rock, easy listening
Length 4:47 (Album version)
3:36 (Single version)
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Billy Joel
Producer(s) Phil Ramone
Billy Joel singles chronology
"The Entertainer"
"Just the Way You Are"
"Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)"

"Just the Way You Are" is a song by Billy Joel and the third track from his 1977 album The Stranger that became Joel's first US Top 10 (reaching #3) and UK Top 20 single, as well as Joel's first gold single in the US. The song also topped the Billboard Easy Listening Chart for the entire month of January 1978.

"Just the Way You Are" garnered two Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1979.[1]


Joel shared that the melody and chord progression for this song came to him while he was dreaming.[2] In an interview on the Howard Stern Radio Show on November 16, 2010, Joel revealed that the inspiration for writing the name of the song and how it sounds in the chorus was directly taken from the last line in the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons song "Rag Doll"; which incidentally was also a larger inspiration for Joel's later song, "Uptown Girl".[3] The song, which Joel had written for his first wife (and also his business manager at the time) Elizabeth Weber, was not liked by either Joel or his band, and Joel had originally decided against making the track a part of the album. But Joel has stated that, at the request of both Linda Ronstadt and Phoebe Snow (both were recording in other studios in the same building at the time), Joel agreed to put the song on the final mix.[4] However, the album's producer, Phil Ramone, later contradicted Joel's claim, stating in an interview that they could not afford to exclude the song because Joel did not have that much material to choose from for the album.[5]

After Joel and Weber split in 1982, Joel rarely performed the song live after 1986 until the 2000s, and Joel has publicly stated that he disliked playing the song live in the wake of his divorce from his first wife. He noted that during performances of the song around the time of his first divorce, his drummer Liberty DeVitto would jokingly parody the lyrics in the chorus as "She got the house. She got the car."[6]

When "Just the Way You Are" was released as a single, it was shortened by over a minute. The differences are the removal of the second verse and an earlier fade. A live performance of the song was also used as a music video. On February 18, 1978, the song peaked at #3, and Joel performed a shorter version of the song as the musical guest that day on Saturday Night Live (along with "Only the Good Die Young"). The single version (fading 8 seconds later) was included in the first release of Greatest Hits Volume I & Volume II, but the full album version was restored for the remastered release of that compilation.

The saxophone solo was played by Phil Woods, a well-known jazz performer and Grammy award winner. Woods was criticized by some purists in the jazz community for playing on a rock session, but in fact he had already played previously on such sessions both for Steely Dan and for Paul Simon. The performance here on a hit record undoubtedly exposed him to a wider audience and introduced his music to rock fans.[7]

Chart performance[edit]

Track listing[edit]

7" U.S. and UK single (1977)

  1. "Just the Way You Are" – 3:27
  2. "Get It Right the First Time" – 3:54

Other versions[edit]

Since its initial release in 1977, the song has been covered by many artists including:

Billy Joel also performed a revised version of his song with lyrics by Tony Geiss on Sesame Street (in 1988) where he sang to Oscar the Grouch along with Marlee Matlin who translated into sign language.

Joel has performed the song as a duet in live performances with Elton John during their Face to Face tours together.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Past Winners Search". The GRAMMYs. Retrieved 7 November 2016. 
  2. ^ Webb, Craig (2016). The Dreams Behind the Music: Learn Creative Dreaming As 100+ Top Artists Reveal Their Breakthrough Inspirations. p. 76. 
  3. ^ "Billy Joel Visits The Howard Stern Show 11.16.10 by VideodromeVaultRadio | Videodrome Vault Radio | Free Listening on SoundCloud". Soundcloud.com. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  4. ^ Ray Kelly (2008-07-06). "Billy Joel - The Republican interview". Masslive.com. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  5. ^ The Stranger: 30th Anniversary Edition. "Making of The Stranger Documentary. 2008
  6. ^ Rose, Charlie. "Billy Joel Interview." The Charlie Rose Show, 1993.
  7. ^ Gordon Bock, "Phil Woods' Sax Keeps Showing Up." Dallas Morning News, August 6, 1978, p. 8 C.
  8. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Billy Joel – Just the Way You Are". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  9. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  10. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Billy Joel – Just the Way You Are". Top 40 Singles.
  11. ^ ""Just the Way You Are" on the South African Singles Chart". Springbok Radio. July 28, 1978. Retrieved September 25, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Billy Joel: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company.
  13. ^ "Billy Joel – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Billy Joel.
  14. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 127. 
  15. ^ * Zimbabwe. Kimberley, C. Zimbabwe: singles chart book. Harare: C. Kimberley, 2000
  16. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  17. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 1978 | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Nztop40.co.nz. 1978-12-31. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  18. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1978/Top 100 Songs of 1978". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  19. ^ "52nd Street Serenade ♪♪: Trying Some New Fashion". Billyjoel52ndstreetserenade.blogspot.co.uk. 2016-01-01. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 

External links[edit]