The Longest Time

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"The Longest Time"
Single by Billy Joel
from the album An Innocent Man
B-side"Christie Lee"
ReleasedMarch 1984
Format12", CD
GenreDoo-wop, a cappella
Songwriter(s)Billy Joel
Producer(s)Phil Ramone
Billy Joel singles chronology
"An Innocent Man"
"The Longest Time"
"Leave a Tender Moment Alone"

"The Longest Time" is a doo-wop single by Billy Joel. The song was released as a single in 1984 as the fourth single from the 1983 album An Innocent Man. Following the theme of the album in paying tribute to Joel's musical influences, the song is presented in the style of Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. It reached number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart.[1] In the United Kingdom the song reached number 25 on the UK Singles Chart.

The song features Joel on lead vocals and all backing vocals. Two musical instruments are present in the song: a bass guitar and a snare drum being played with brushes[citation needed]. When the song is covered by vocal groups, the bass part is typically sung.[2] All other sounds in the song are Joel's vocals, along with percussive sounds such as finger snaps and hand claps.[3] Phil Ramone and Joel had intended to feature a vocal group but Joel recorded each of the parts himself.[4]

Music video[edit]

The music video starts with a man (played by Joel) in a gym after his 25th high school reunion party. Looking around at posters of several class awards, he breaks into song as his band, apparently portrayed as his high school friends, enters the gym. As they sing, they alternate between their high school and current selves, ending with their high school selves walking out of the restroom and interacting with a puzzled janitor. The video was entirely filmed at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and was directed by Jay Dubin.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1984-1985) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report) [5] 15
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[6] 36
Irish Singles Chart 18
New Zealand Singles Chart 24
UK Singles Chart 25
US Billboard Hot 100 14
US Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 1
Year-end chart (1984) Rank
US Top Pop Singles (Billboard)[7] 89


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–2001. Record Research. p. 127.
  2. ^ Duchan, Joshua S. (2012). Powerful Voices: The Musical and Social World of Collegiate A Cappella. University of Michigan Press. p. 39. ISBN 9780472118250.
  3. ^ "The Longest Time by Billy Joel Songfacts".
  4. ^ Schruers, Fred (2014). Billy Joel. Crown Publishing Group. p. 199. ISBN 9780804140201.
  5. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  6. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada".
  7. ^ "Talent Almanac 1985: Top Pop Singles". Billboard. Vol. 96 no. 51. December 22, 1984. p. TA-19.

External links[edit]