Streetlife Serenade

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Streetlife Serenade
Billy Joel - Streetlife Serenade.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 11, 1974
StudioDevonshire Sound Studios, North Hollywood, California
LabelFamily Productions/Columbia
ProducerMichael Stewart
Billy Joel chronology
Piano Man
Streetlife Serenade
Singles from Streetlife Serenade
  1. "The Entertainer"
    Released: 1974
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Record GuideC[2]
Rolling StoneUnfavorable[3]

Streetlife Serenade is the third studio album by American recording artist Billy Joel, released on October 11, 1974, by Columbia Records. The follow-up to Piano Man (1973), it was his last release until 1993's River of Dreams to be mostly recorded with session musicians, while Joel himself sang and played piano and other keyboards, although some of his backing musicians, guitarists Don Evans and Al Hertzberg, and banjo/pedal steel guitarist Tom Whitehorse played on the album. Joel also used synthesizers for the first time, namely the Moog synthesizer.

The album peaked at No. 35 on the charts, eventually selling over 1 million copies. That was less than its predecessor, and marked the beginning of Joel's frosty relationship with critics and the music industry in general. Joel's live shows in the 1970s frequently featured the instrumental "Root Beer Rag" and the short song "Souvenir", which Joel often played as the final encore .

Live versions of "Streetlife Serenader" and "Los Angelenos" appeared on Joel's first live album, Songs in the Attic (1981).


Joel said that he had been touring in clubs and theatres and opening for big acts such as The Beach Boys, thus leaving him little time to write new songs, but was under pressure to put out a new album after Piano Man. He also says that he did not have many new songs, hence the inclusion of two instrumentals – "The Mexican Connection" and "Root Beer Rag". The back cover features a barefooted Joel sitting in a chair looking cross; Joel himself says that he had had his wisdom teeth extracted two days before the shoot.[4] The front cover is a painting of a hotel and cafe located at 651 South Centre Street in Los Angeles, California.[5]

Release history[edit]

In addition to the usual 2-channel stereo version, the album was also released by Columbia Records in a 4-channel quadraphonic mix in 1974. In 2015, the album was re-issued by Audio Fidelity in the Super Audio CD format containing both the stereo and quadraphonic mixes.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written and composed by Billy Joel.

One side

  1. "Streetlife Serenader" – 5:17
  2. "Los Angelenos" – 3:41
  3. "The Great Suburban Showdown" – 3:44
  4. "Root Beer Rag" (Instrumental) – 2:59
  5. "Roberta" – 4:32

Another side

  1. "The Entertainer" – 3:48
  2. "Last of the Big Time Spenders" – 4:34
  3. "Weekend Song" – 3:29
  4. "Souvenir" – 2:00
  5. "The Mexican Connection" (Instrumental) – 3:37




  1. ^ Streetlife Serenade at AllMusic
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: J". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved February 27, 2019 – via
  3. ^ Holden, Stephen (December 5, 1974). "Billy Joel Streetlife Serenade > Album Review". Rolling Stone (175). Archived from the original on 3 May 2008. Retrieved 29 November 2008.
  4. ^ Billy Joel – Billy Joel on Streetlife Serenade – from The Complete Albums Collection – YouTube
  5. ^
  6. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  7. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 22, No. 22, January 25, 1975". RPM. 1978-04-08. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  8. ^ "allmusic ((( Streetlife Serenade > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". Retrieved 2011-03-19.
  9. ^ "American album certifications – Billy Joel – Streetlife Serenade". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 25 July 2012. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.