The Stranger (album)
|Studio album by Billy Joel|
|Released||September 29, 1977|
|Recorded||A&R Recording, Inc., 799 Seventh Avenue, New York City, July–August 1977|
|Billy Joel chronology|
|Singles from The Stranger|
|The Buffalo News|||
|The Great Rock Discography||8/10|
|The Village Voice||B–|
The Stranger is the fifth studio album by American singer-songwriter Billy Joel, released on September 29, 1977 by Columbia Records . While his four previous albums had been moderately successful, The Stranger became Joel's true critical and commercial breakthrough, spending six weeks at #2 on the U.S. album charts. Considered his magnum opus, it remains his best-selling non-compilation album to date, and was ranked number 70 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
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By 1976, Joel had a reliable touring band consisting of Doug Stegmeyer on bass, Liberty DeVitto on drums and Richie Cannata on saxophone, flute, clarinet and organ, but never had a constant guitarist in the day because according to Joel, it was hard to find the right guitarist, hence the initial revolving door of guitarists, including Russell Javors, Howie Emerson and jazz guitarist Steve Khan. Joel had written a batch of new songs and wanted to use his touring band in the studio on future releases, just as he had done on Turnstiles. He had in fact met with George Martin, producer of The Beatles, and as a big fan of The Beatles, he wanted him to produce his new record. Martin showed interest, but didn't want to use Joel's band, and so it never came to fruition. Joel met with veteran NYC record producer Phil Ramone to produce his album and what turned him onto Ramone was the fact that he "got it" with his band, notably his love of their energy, their band and what they were doing at a concert in Carnegie Hall.
Joel describes the sessions for the album as "a blast" and as the breakthrough album with four hit singles. The Stranger contains nine songs. Songwriting on "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)," "She's Always a Woman," "Just the Way You Are," "Everybody Has a Dream," and "Only the Good Die Young" was completed before recording, while "Vienna," "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant," "The Stranger," and "Get It Right the First Time," which originated as short tunes or musical fragments, were completed in the studio. Lyrically, the album's approach is decidedly narrative; each song tells a story. The seven-and-a-half-minute epic "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant" began as a shorter song entitled "The Ballad of Brenda and Eddie," which became the third section of "Italian Restaurant." While composing "The Stranger," Joel whistled the track's signature theme for producer Phil Ramone, claiming that he (Joel) needed to find an instrument to play it. Ramone replied: "No, you don't. That's 'The Stranger,' the whistling."
Four singles from the LP charted on the Billboard Hot 100 in the following order: "Just the Way You Are" (#3), "Movin' Out" (#17), "Only the Good Die Young" (#24), and "She's Always a Woman" (#17). Many of its songs are now staples on classic rock and adult contemporary FM radio stations.
According to Joel, George Martin wrote him a letter and it read, "You were right; I was wrong. I should have considered working with your band. Congratulations."
Much of the album's success is attributed to Joel's collaboration with producer Phil Ramone, whose innovative production methods complemented the album's listing; this fruitful partnership would continue for a decade. Singles released from the album include "Just the Way You Are" (which won the Grammy for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year), the acoustic ballad "She's Always A Woman," the mildly controversial "Only the Good Die Young," and "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)," which later lent its title to Movin' Out, an acclaimed hit Broadway musical based on Billy Joel's work. This album overtook Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water to become the best-selling album on the Columbia Records imprint at the time.
All songs written and composed by Billy Joel.
|1.||"Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)"||3:30|
|3.||"Just the Way You Are"||4:52|
|4.||"Scenes from an Italian Restaurant"||7:37|
|2.||"Only the Good Die Young"||3:55|
|3.||"She's Always a Woman"||3:21|
|4.||"Get It Right the First Time"||3:57|
|5.||"Everybody Has a Dream/The Stranger (Reprise)"||6:38|
Songs © 1977 except "Everybody Has a Dream" © 1971
30th Anniversary Edition
In July 2008, a special 30th Anniversary Edition of The Stranger was released. It contains two special editions: a 2 CD Legacy Edition, and a Deluxe Limited Edition (which includes two CDs and a bonus DVD). The limited deluxe edition of The Stranger includes a CD of the original album in its entirety (remastered by producer Phil Ramone), and a second CD of a previously unreleased concert featuring Billy and his band, Live At Carnegie Hall 1977, recorded at the historic Manhattan venue on June 3, 1977, one month before the sessions for The Stranger album. The Deluxe Limited Edition included a DVD showcasing two live promotional videos from The Stranger; and Joel's performance on the BBC's Old Grey Whistle Test, a seldom-seen sixty minute set from 1978 that has aired only once on the UK's BBC2. Also included in this box set is a facsimile poster from the 1977 Carnegie Hall concert, and a facsimile notebook that contains copies of rough draft lyrics for many of the songs that appeared on The Stranger.
- Live at Carnegie Hall, June 3, 1977 CD
- "Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)" - 5:11
- "Prelude/Angry Young Man" - 6:05
- "New York State of Mind" - 8:20
- "Just the Way You Are" - 4:56
- "She's Got a Way" - 3:32
- "The Entertainer" - 6:09
- "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" - 7:35
- "Band Introductions" - 2:02
- "Captain Jack" - 6:51
- "I've Loved These Days" - 4:29
- "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" - 6:45
- "Souvenir" - 2:09
- Bonus DVD
- Live Promotional Videos, 1977
- "The Stranger"
- "Just the Way You Are"
- The Old Grey Whistle Test on BBC 1 (First transmitted 14 March 1978)
- "Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)"
- "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)"
- "New York State of Mind"
- "The Entertainer"
- "She's Always a Woman"
- "Root Beer Rag"
- "Just the Way You Are"
- "Only the Good Die Young"
- "Ain't No Crime"
- 30 Minute Making of The Stranger Documentary
- Best Buy exclusive bonus CD (Live at Nassau Coliseum 12/77)
(packaged with both the 2CD Legacy and 2CD/1DVD 30th Anniversary Edition)
- "Just the Way You Are"
- "The Ballad of Billy the Kid"
- "Get It Right the First Time"
- "Summer, Highland Falls"
- Target exclusive bonus DVD
(packaged with the 2CD Legacy Edition)
- "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)" (Live from Long Island)
- "The Stranger" (Live from Long Island)
- "Only the Good Die Young" (Live from Leningrad)
- "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" (Live from Yankee Stadium)
- "Piano Man" (Live from The River of Dreams Tour)
- Online store bonus tracks
- "Prelude/Angry Young Man" (Live Version) (Version 2) (iTunes Album Only Exclusive Track) - 5:03
- "She's Got a Way" (Live Version) (Version 2) - (AmazonMP3 Exclusive Track) 3:42
- Billy Joel – vocals, piano, keyboards, synthesizers
- Doug Stegmeyer – bass guitar
- Liberty DeVitto – drums
- Richie Cannata – tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet, flute, organ, tuba
- Steve Khan – six and twelve string electric guitars, acoustic rhythm guitar, high string guitar
- Hiram Bullock – electric guitar
- Patrick Williams – orchestration
- Ralph MacDonald – percussion on "The Stranger," "Just the Way You Are," "Get It Right The First Time" and "Everybody Has A Dream"
- Hugh McCracken – acoustic guitar on "Just the Way You Are," "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant," "She's Always A Woman," "Get It Right The First Time" and "Everybody Has A Dream"
- Steve Burgh – acoustic guitar on "Just the Way You Are" and "She's Always A Woman"; electric guitar on "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant"
- Phil Woods – alto saxophone on "Just the Way You Are"
- Dominic Cortese – accordion on "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" and "Vienna"
- Richard Tee – organ on "Everybody Has A Dream"
- Phoebe Snow – background vocals on "Everybody Has A Dream"
- Lani Groves – background vocals on "Everybody Has A Dream"
- Gwen Guthrie – background vocals on "Everybody Has A Dream"
- Patti Austin – background vocals on "Everybody Has A Dream"
- Ted Jensen - mastering
Live at Carnegie Hall June 3, 1977
- Billy Joel - vocals, piano and synthesizers
- Richie Cannata - saxophones and keyboards
- Doug Stegmeyer - Fender bass
- Howie Emerson - electric and acoustic guitars
- Liberty DeVitto - drums
|Canada (Music Canada)||5× Platinum||500,000^|
|Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)||Platinum||15,000*|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Platinum||15,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Diamond||10,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
|1978||"Just the Way You Are"||Record of the Year|
|1978||"Just the Way You Are"||Song of the Year|
|Media||Release Date||Publisher||Catalog Number|
|Vinyl LP||09/1977||Columbia||JC 34987|
|CD 1st Issue Japan||06/03/1982||CBS/Sony||35-DP-2|
|2CD/DVD 30th Anniversary Edition||07/08/08||Columbia/Legacy||88697 30801 2|
|CD Remastered||10/20/1998||Columbia||CK 69384|
|Super Audio CD||07/31/2001||Sony||CS 69384|
|2CD Legacy Edition||07/08/08||Columbia/Legacy||88697 22581 2|
|2CD/DVD 30th Anniversary Edition||07/08/08||Columbia/Legacy||88697 30801 2|
|SACD Remastered||2012||Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab||UDSACD 2089|
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- THE FIELD id (chart number) MUST BE PROVIDED for NEW ZEALAND CERTIFICATION.
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