The Nylon Curtain

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The Nylon Curtain
Billy Joel - The Nylon Curtain.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 23, 1982
RecordedWinter 1981-Spring 1982
StudioA&R Recording, Inc. and Media Sound Studios, New York City
LabelFamily Productions/Columbia
ProducerPhil Ramone
Billy Joel chronology
Songs in the Attic
The Nylon Curtain
An Innocent Man
Singles from The Nylon Curtain
  1. "Pressure"
    Released: 1982
  2. "Allentown"
    Released: 1982
  3. "Goodnight Saigon"
    Released: 1983
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[2]

The Nylon Curtain is the eighth studio album by American singer-songwriter Billy Joel, released on June 23, 1982 and produced by Phil Ramone.

The Nylon Curtain peaked at  No.  7in the Billboard albums chart, with two million sales in the U.S. It was one of the first albums to be digitally recorded, mixed, and mastered.


The album is among Joel's most ambitious efforts, and Joel has openly acknowledged that it is one of his personal favorites, calling it "the recording I'm most proud of and the material I'm most proud of."[4] When he recorded the album, he said in an interview that he wanted to "create a sonic masterpiece." Joel spent more time in the studio, crafting the sound of the album, than he had on any previous album.[4] He said that the process of making the album was "exhausting."[4] Critics have interpreted the album to be, in part, an homage to the music of The Beatles and the recently-deceased John Lennon.[5]

Saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist Richie Cannata left the band prior to recording, so Joel, bassist Doug Stegmeyer, drummer Liberty DeVitto and guitarists David Brown and Russell Javors recorded the album mostly by themselves, thus making it Joel's first album since Streetlife Serenade not to feature a regular saxophonist, although Eddie Daniels plays saxophone on the closing track "Where's the Orchestra?" alongside Charles McCracken on cello and Dominic Cortese on accordion. Saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist Mark Rivera, formerly of the band Tycoon, joined the band to replace Cannata for the Nylon Curtain Tour and he remains with the band to this day.

Regarding the album's themes, Joel has stated "It was during the Reagan years, and the diminishing horizons in America at the time [meant that] all of a sudden you weren't going to be able to inherit [the kind of life] your old man had."[4] This pessimism about the American dream, in Joel's view, permeates most of the songs on the album. Joel also said that the theme of the album was "an American dilemma, specifically of people born after World War II."[6] He said that although he doesn't provide solutions to the dilemma, he "hope[d] the record speaks like someone in that age group, if only just to tie us all together as people, as an entity."[6]

The song "Allentown", which brought attention to the plight of America's declining steel industry, spent an unprecedented six weeks at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1983.[citation needed]

Pop-culture journalist Chuck Klosterman praised songs from the album, specifically "Laura" and "Where's the Orchestra?", in his book Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs.


Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1983 The Nylon Curtain Album of the Year[7] Nominated

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written and composed by Billy Joel.

Side one

  1. "Allentown" – 3:52
  2. "Laura" – 5:05
  3. "Pressure" – 4:40
  4. "Goodnight Saigon" – 7:04

Side two

  1. "She's Right on Time" – 4:14
  2. "A Room of Our Own" – 4:04
  3. "Surprises" – 3:26
  4. "Scandinavian Skies" – 6:00
  5. "Where's the Orchestra?" – 3:17



  • Billy Joel – vocals, acoustic & electric pianos, synthesizers, Hammond organ, melodica, Prophet-5 synthesizer, Synclavier II on "Pressure"
  • Liberty DeVitto – drums, percussion
  • Doug Stegmeyer – bass guitar
  • David Brown – electric & acoustic guitars (lead)
  • Russell Javors – electric & acoustic guitars (rhythm)
  • Dominic Cortese – accordion on "Where's the Orchestra?"
  • Eddie Daniels – saxophone and clarinet on "Where's the Orchestra?"
  • Dave Grusin – string and horn arrangements
  • Charles McCracken – cello on "Where's the Orchestra?"
  • Rob Mounsey – synthesizer on "Scandinavian Skies"
  • David Nadien – concertmaster on all except "Laura" and "Scandinavian Skies"
  • "String Fever" – strings on "Laura" and "Scandinavian Skies"
  • Bill Zampino – field snare on "Goodnight Saigon"


  • Phil Ramone - producer
  • Laura Loncteaux - assistant producer
  • James Boyer - engineer, remix
  • Bradshaw Leigh - associate engineer
  • Michael Christopher - assistant engineer
  • Larry Franke - assistant engineer
  • Andy Hoffman - assistant engineer
  • Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound, NYC - mastering engineer
  • Kenneth Topolsky - production manager
  • Paula Scher - artwork
  • John Berg - inner sleeve design
  • Chris Austopchuk - front cover design
  • Benno Friedman - back cover photo


Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[28] Platinum 70,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[29] Platinum 100,000^
Japan (Oricon Charts) 356,000[14][30]
Netherlands (NVPI)[31] Gold 50,000^
United States (RIAA)[33] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Holden, Stephen (20 February 2009) [1982-10-14], "Music Reviews : The Nylon Curtain by Billy Joel", Rolling Stone, archived from the original on February 20, 2009
  3. ^ "Picks and Pans Review: The Nylon Curtain". People. 1982-11-22. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
  4. ^ a b c d Billy Joel Interview on Nylon Curtain
  5. ^ Nylon Curtain Album Review
  6. ^ a b Campbell, Mary (October 30, 1982). "Bill Joel Uses Seven Fingers at the Piano". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. p. 12D. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
  7. ^ "Rock On The Net: 25th Annual Grammy Awards – 1987". Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  8. ^ a b c Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  9. ^ "Billy Joel – The Nylon Curtain –" (in German). Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  10. ^ Library and Archives Canada. Archived May 13, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2012-03-05
  11. ^ ( the book ). Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  12. ^ " Billy Joel – The Nylon Curtain". (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  13. ^ "Tonlist Top 40". DV. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
  14. ^ a b "a-ビリー・ジョエル - Yamachan Land (Japanese Chart Archives) – Albums Chart Daijiten – Simon and Garfunkel" (in Japanese). Original Confidence. 30 December 2007. Retrieved 2011-08-17.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ " – Billy Joel – The Nylon Curtain". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  16. ^ " Billy Joel – The Nylon Curtain". Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  17. ^ " Billy Joel – The Nylon Curtain". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  18. ^ "Chart Stats – Billy Joel – The Nylon Curtain". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  19. ^ Allmusic – The Nylon Curtain > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums
  20. ^ "Album Search: Billy Joel – The Nylon Curtain" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  21. ^ "Top 100 Albums '82". RPM. 25 December 1982. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  22. ^ "1982年アルバム年間ヒットチャート (Japanese Year-End Albums Chart 1982)" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  23. ^ "The Top 20 Albums of Høst 1982". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  24. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1983". RPM. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  25. ^ "Dutch Charts - Jaaroverzichten Album 1983". Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  26. ^ "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 1987)". Archived from the original on September 17, 2007. Retrieved June 4, 2008.
  27. ^ "Top Pop Albums of 1983". 31 December 1983. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  28. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1986 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association.
  29. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Billy Joel – The Nylon Curtain". Music Canada.
  30. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  31. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Billy Joel – The Nylon Curtain" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Enter The Nylon Curtain in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  32. ^ "de branchevereniging van de entertainmentindustrie". Archived from NVPI the original Check |url= value (help) on October 8, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-17.Note: User needs to enter "Billy Joel" in the "Artiest" field and click below "zoek" button.
  33. ^ "American album certifications – Billy Joel – The Nylon Curtain". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.