Note: this release was originally purchased as a LP, later replaced by a CD.
A celebration of Joel's return to New York after attempting to become successful in California, this album starts off by thumbing its nose at SoCal in the blatant rip-off of the Ronettes' Be My Baby, which Joel subtly titled Say Goodbye To Hollywood. Overall, the songwriting is very strong; the main problem here is the production, which Joel handled by himself. He (or his label) must have agreed, because beginning with the next album, The Stranger, he began a very successful ten year collaboration with producer Phil Ramone. Still, in this album, you can hear the direction Joel was headed as he moved toward big commercial success with The Stranger.
There's a brief online interview with Joel describing the album cover concept here.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #122
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #92
Tracks: 4 of the 8 tracks were later released on the 1981 live album, Songs in the Attic, and since I heard the live versions first and was more familiar with them, I will probably alway prefer the latter live renditions. Of the remaining four, my favorites are Prelude/Angry Young Man and fan-favorite New York State Of Mind. There's also a nice Rhodes piano ballad, James, that is an obvious predecessor to Joel's breakthrough hit, Just The Way You Are. The weakest track on the disc is All You Wanna Do Is Dance.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: When I saw Joel live in 1984, the showstopper was his attack on the piano during Prelude/Angry Young Man, so I bought this album about a year later so I could hear that song again. Although it is one of his better albums, it was never one of my favorites so I never replaced the LP with a CD until I recently saw it sitting in a used bin.
In 2004, the horrible movie Garfield (based on the cat comic) was released. I took my two young sons to see it at the theater. More than halfway through the movie, just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, Garfield (voiced by Bill Murray), sings New York State Of Mind with new lyrics: New Dog State Of Mind. Fortunately, we made it out the theater without any permanent damage.
Previously revisited for the blog:
2000 Years: The Millennium Concert (2000)
To Make You Feel My Love (1997)
Storm Front (1989)
The Bridge (1986)
An Innocent Man (1983)
Songs in the Attic (1981)
Glass Houses (1980)
52nd Street (1978)
The Stranger (1977)