The Nylon Curtain

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The Nylon Curtain
Billy Joel - The Nylon Curtain.jpg
Studio album by Billy Joel
Released September 23, 1982
Recorded Spring, 1982, A&R Recording, Inc. and Media Sound Studios, New York City
Length 41:57
Label Family Productions/Columbia
Producer Phil 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
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[2]
People (Positive)[3]

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

The Nylon Curtain peaked at number seven in the Billboard album charts, with two million sales in the United States. 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's 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." So he 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 John Lennon.[5]

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.

Track listing[edit]

All songs 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


Additional personnel[edit]

  • 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"
  • Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound, NYC - mastering engineer
  • James Boyer - Recording Engineer
  • Brad Leigh - Recording Engineer
  • Larry Franke - Recording Engineer


Grammy Awards[edit]

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


Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[27] Platinum 70,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[28] Platinum 100,000^
Japan (Oricon Charts) 356,000[13][29]
Netherlands (NVPI)[30] Gold 50,000^
United States (RIAA)[31] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Holden, Stephen (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. Retrieved 2012-03-05
  11. ^  External link in |title= (help);
  12. ^ " Billy Joel – The Nylon Curtain". (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  13. ^ a b a-ビリー・ジョエル "Yamachan Land (Japanese Chart Archives) – Albums Chart Daijiten – Simon and Garfunkel" Check |url= value (help) (in Japanese). Original Confidence. 30 December 2007. Retrieved 2011-08-17. 
  14. ^ " – Billy Joel – The Nylon Curtain". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  15. ^ " Billy Joel – The Nylon Curtain". Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  16. ^ " Billy Joel – The Nylon Curtain". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  17. ^ "Chart Stats – Billy Joel – The Nylon Curtain". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  18. ^ Allmusic – The Nylon Curtain > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums
  19. ^ "Album Search: Billy Joel – The Nylon Curtain" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  20. ^ "Top 100 Albums '82". RPM. 25 December 1982. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  21. ^ 1982年アルバム年間ヒットチャート "Japanese Year-End Albums Chart 1982" Check |url= value (help) (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  22. ^ "The Top 20 Albums of Høst 1982". Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  23. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1983". RPM. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  24. ^ Retrieved 2011-08-29.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  25. ^ "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. 
  26. ^ "Top Pop Albums of 1983". 31 December 1983. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  27. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1986 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  28. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Billy Joel – The Nylon Curtain". Music Canada. 
  29. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  30. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Billy Joel – The Nylon Curtain" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. 
  31. ^ "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
Preceded by
De openbaring by Freek de Jonge
Dutch Mega Chart number-one album
January 29 – February 12, 1982
Succeeded by
The Kids from "Fame" by The Kids from "Fame"