Note: this release was originally purchased as an LP, later replaced by a CD.
By 1980, I was a full-fledged Billy Joel fan. I knew every word to every song on The Stranger and 52nd Street. So even though this album has a harder edge than those two, I listened to it repeatedly in the summer of 1980 and knew all the words to these songs within a week.
Press of the time:
- Billboard: "plenty of hooks and memorable melodies"
- Smash Hits (8 out of 10): "harder, more aggressive material"
- CashBox: "something-for-everybody collection"
- Rolling Stone: "His material's catchy. But then, so's the flu"
- Stereo Review: "his able talent places him among the best American songwriter/performers"
- Robert Christgau (B-): "gregarious, shameless, and above all profitable."
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #1 (6 weeks, June 14 - July 19, 1980)
Peak on CashBox album chart: #1 (5 consecutive weeks)
Peak on the Rolling Stone chart: #1
Tracks: If you had a radio in 1980, you couldn't escape the hits. Other than those, I like All for Leyna and C'Etait Toi. The closing track, Through the Long Night, is sappy and trite.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: My sister gave me this album for my birthday in June 1980. I had just put it on the turntable when I received a phone call (land line!) with an invitation to go play tennis with a friend who would later become my girlfriend. I really wanted to listen to this album, so she agreed to come over and listen to it with me before our tennis match. I still laugh when I hear Billy sing "Should I try to be a straight 'A' student? If you are then you think too much" because I can hear her saying "I guess I think too much." When you're 14, modesty is overrated.