Billy Joel
Greatest Hits Volume I & II (1973 - 1985)


5.0
classic

Review

by Mark Stebbing USER (36 Reviews)
September 10th, 2005 | 24 replies | 7,025 views


Release Date: 1985 | Tracklist


9 of 9 thought this review was well written

This compilation has sold over 21,000,000 copies in the US alone, the 5th best selling album of all time. The compilation contains 25 tracks in total of Billy Joel's best songs from 1973 - 1985. This CD version is the digitally re-mastered version of the earlier release of the 1985 cassette version. This was released 13 years later.

William Martin Joel (born May 9, 1949 in The Bronx, New York), better known as Billy Joel, is a globally-recognized pianist, singer and songwriter. He produced pop music hits from 1973 (beginning with the single 'Piano Man') to his retirement from the genre in 1993. He has become a very famous songwriter and performer in the world and remains a genius in music. He has continued to tour occasionally (usually with Elton John) in addition to writing and recording classical music. He writes, performs and organises the music himself so he's extremely talented.
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The albums featured in this compilation with the songs featured in them are:

1. Piano Man (1974)
- Piano Man
- Captain Jack

2. Streetlife Serenade (1975)
- The Entertainer

3. Turnstiles (1976)
- New York State Of Mind
- Say Goodbye To Hollywood

4. The Stranger (1978) *Best Joel Album.
- Just The Way You Are
- Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)
- She's Always A Woman
- Scenes From The Italian Restaurant
- Only The Good Die Young
- The Stranger

5. 52nd Street (1980)
- My Life
- Big Shot
- Honesty

6. Glass Houses (1981)
- You May Be Right
- It's Still Rock And Roll To Me

7. Songs From The Attic (Live Album) (1981)
- She's Got A Way (Live) (Original song on "Cold Spring Harbour" - 1972)

8. The Nylon Curtain (1982)
- Allentown
- Pressure
- Goodnight Saigon

9. An Innocent Man (1983)
- Tell Her About It
- Uptown Girl
- The Longest Time

*Your Only Human (Second Wind) and The Night Is Still Young are songs that are exculsive to the compilation.*
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(Note : I am separating the volumes into 2 but it will be in the same review so I am warning you this is a long review)

--- The Review Part I --- Volume I


"Piano Man" is Joel's first hit in his career. This song starts with some nice piano playing and then an accordian coming in to lighten up the mood of the song. When Billy sings, you ultimately hear a beautiful voice that really fits well into the mood of the song. The song seems to be a bluesy/pop feel with a lighting sound and some lyrics that refer to Billy's starting career in a different person's perspective in a piano bar. The chorus has some lovely vocals on it and the emotion on the chorus really gives out the song. This is a great start to the compilation and already signals 1 highlight of Volume I.

"Captain Jack" starts with some depressing piano playing and some sad vocals. It sounds great with the mood the song is about. The lyrics are so good being about loneliness and trying to get high so that you will lighten up. The chorus is the uplifter in the song when the guitar comes in with the riff and Joel singing more energetically. The After-Chorus is beautiful when the chorus breaks down to some soft guitaring. The piano brings out the sadness in the song as it has that minor sound. The song has at least 4 long verses so you will see a bit of repetitiveness but that is fixed with some clever lyrics and different techniques of vocals. The ending chorus consists Joel shouting the lyrics which sounds excellent and ends the song really well.

"The Enterainer" sounds a bit Irish at the start with its corny 70's keyboard sound. The song is very uplifting and is about Joel himself saying what he is and what he wants to do. It is a nice short song with some fantastic vocals but the keyboard riff can be annoying but the rest of the song is fine. This song has no chorus, it's just 5 straight verses. It is a very good song.

"Say Goodbye To Hollywood" has the piano starting and then Joel vocals that are so great. He uses a wierd vibrato in his voice after 2 lines but it has that catchy hook on it. The chorus is catchy in it's singing and the music on the track is really beautiful. The saxophone solo is perfect to give that leaving feeling. The lyrics on the song are very thought through:

"Bobby's driving through the city tonight/Through the lights in a hot new rent-a-car".

Overall, the song is excellent in the way that the message it has it brings it out well.

"New York State Of Mind" has at the start, one of the most beautiful entrances on the piano I have ever heard. It has so much balance between making you feel sad and happy at the same time. It sounds very New York and the Intro lasts for at least 1 minute, then Joels voice has a bit of change on this song as it sounds more mellow but it has more power in it. The vocals are beautiful and the lyrics are very good on refering parts of New York to the song. The bridges are very emotional and the chorus gives that loneliness feel. The saxophone really shines on this track with some great licks and solos. This song is another highlight on Volume I and one of my favourites.

"The Stranger" has a quiet start with the same logic as "New York State Of Mind" but it is more slower and less in detail. The whistling then comes in to add the atmosphere. After a brief pause, the main song kicks in with a great guitar riff and some 70's rock sounds put in. The lyrics are so great:

"Well we all have a face/That we hide away forever/And we take them out and show ourselves/When everyone is gone."

The chorus has Joel using a slight falsetto and it sounds so good and the emotion is put on there. This song then after the last guitar riff then reprises the intro again but in a reverse order. This is another highlight of the volume.

"Scenes From An Italian Restaurant" has a 4 short storys in it and it actually sounds like a theatre play the way it is sung and musically. The piano starts with a lively riff and Joel's voice is blissful. The italian accordian is put on to give that obvious feel to the song. Then it goes to a beautiful Pre-Verse with its mellow saxophone and some great violin play. Then it breaks to an energetic verse and it is so uplifting, the vocals are just excellent and the lyrics must be so hard to think of. The first verse is different to the second and third as it is sung differently. The second and third are about a couple Brenda and Eddie about them getting married but people think that it's crazy as they have no money. It ends to a divorce at the third verse and then the sond breaks down to the reprise of the Intro verse and it has more power on the vocals and it has more detail on the drums and piano. The song ends gracefully with that saxophone riff and that ends the song after an epic 7:30 song.

"Just The Way You Are" starts with an electric paino of a 70's sound and Joel's voice is at his best here, that means it is so superb. This is one of Joel's most famous work and many people have covered it but this is obviously the best of them all full stop. The song just consists of beautiful vocals and lyrics. The angelic 'harr' at the background gives that emotion on the song and the saxophone shines here as well with an excellent solo. This is undoubtably the best on the volume.

"Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)" starts with quick start of guitaring and a jumpy piano. The style of singing here is so clever when Joel stutters the end word of the verse and it really gives that anger sound when you refer to when a person moving. The chorus is emotional with some breakdown singing and the music is more powerful. The song repeats on itself again when we get to the last 30 seconds where a bike is heard driving away furiously showing that the person has moved in anger. This is another great song from "The Stranger" album.

(This volume has 6 out of 9 tracks from "The Stranger" that are from Track 6 - 11 so it shows how good the album is on its own!)

"Only The Good Die Young" is a polite message to the Catholics not to always put things back because it's their religion. It starts with a quiet piano then picks up to a catchy beat and some great vocals. The lyrics are really good:

"Come on Virginia show me a sign/Send up a signal I'll throw you the line/The stained-glass curtain you're hiding behind/Never lets in the sun/ And Only The Good Die Young."

It is silghtly anti-Catholic but it shows it in a really happy way which is totally different for a political message. The whole song has a really catchy beat so it gets you hooked on the song. Great stuff.

"She's Always A Woman" is a ballad of some sort but it has a slight pace on it. The piano and vocals works wonder here, also the acoustic guitar also shines. The song is about a woman being nasty and awkward but she's always will be a woman no matter what. Joel's vocals here is so emotional with the lyrics and the fit is so great.

"She'll promise you more/Than the Garden Of Eden/Then she'll carelessly cut you and laugh while you're bleeding."

This song ends the volume perfectly with a beautiful song that is calm and steady.

---Overview of Volume I---

Ratings:

1. Piano Man - 4.5/5
2. Captain Jack - 4.25/5
3. The Entertainer - 4/5
4. Say Goodbye To Hollywood - 4.25/5
5. New York State Of Mind - 5/5
6. The Stranger - 5/5
7. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant - 5/5
8. Just The Way You Are - 5/5
9. Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) - 5/5
10. Only The Good Die Young - 4.25/5
11. She's Always A Woman - 5/5

Overall, Volume I presents a perfect start to the greatest hits and we are only halfway near enough, this volume contains a blues/jazz/pop feel with some beautiful vocals and piano playing in all 11 tracks. This is a:

Rating: 5/5

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---The Review Part II--- Volume II

"My Life" starts off with tuneful start with some great bass lines and a great electrical piano. This song is more pop than the recent ones which signals a great change in Joel's style of songwriting so this volume will be more mainstream. The vocals are excellent with some great technique on it and the lyrics are obviously about his life and how he started his successful career. When the music picks up, it gets you more indulged into the song with some sliding guitar in the background. The song is already a highlight of this volume so this is an excellent song. Also a well known Joel song.

"Big Shot" starts with a guitar riff that has great power and some driving drums. The vocals are more powerful with some perfect guitaring which is the only guitar driven in the whole set. The chorus is broken down to a more crashing cymbal part with some catchy usage of words. The solo on guitar sounds very demanding to the vocals and it ends the song really well. This is another great song.

"Honesty" is a ballad that has beauty not just by vocals, but mostly by it's lyrics. The lyrics point out that lies hurt feelings and honesty is not even heard of before. The song really puts that message across with it's vocal ability to make you wonder and the piano that brings that serious mode on to your ears. I can't stretch enough that the beauty of the song and the powerful and emotional voice that Joel has got to sing this song. This song is terrific and should be an International song of some sort. Seriously.

"You May Be Right" starts with a glass breaking (refers to the album "Glass House") and the song picks up to a beautiful song. The song has Joel singing like a drunk person but it really suits the songs crazy style about someone being a lunatic. This is a true Rock and Roll song off a Rock and Roll album. This is a very good song that has a beat to it.

"It's Still Rock And Roll To Me" starts with a bass drum banging on every beat and an delayed guitar. The vocals is very Rock and Roll style with it's demanding lyrics about judging people with their looks and you can't be sentimental but it's still cool. The chorus is so cool when the song picks up to Joel's vocals being echoed and it has a cool tinge to it. It's a brief song but it has an effect to it and it works wonders. It's one of the few number 1's from Joel.

"She's Got A Way (Live)" consists of just Joel and a piano, nothing else but the outcome is so beautiful. The vocals are just blissful and piano gives that emotion out for the vocals. The lyrics are very heart-warming and the vocals really gives out the emotion for it. There's nothing much to say about the song but just graceful.

"Pressure" is back to a rock feel. The start is really powerful having that 80's feel and the drums shines here with it's power. The annoying keyboard riff ruins the feel though, it's only brief though. The verse is very demanding with powerful bass parts and vocals are excellent with it's catchy 'Pressure' word. This song is great but the annoying usage of the keyboard really puts you off a bit. Even so, it's a great song.

"Allentown" is a social commerical song about an industry town in Pennsylvania. A train whistle starts the song and a jumpy tune is played on the piano and the vocals has an echo on it. The vocals are really catchy with it's technique and also the lyrics are very political. The chorus is really emotional with Joel's voice having a wierd echo on it. The ending has a distorted guitar on it taking over the piano and it sounds fantastic and epic. The song is excellent and one of the highlights of the volume.

"Goodnight Saigon" is an epic 7:00 track that is full of emotion about two people suriving against trouble. A 1 minute of a cricket and a helicopter makes you ready for the song, the piano is very emotional with it's slow sound its build-up. The vocals are beautiful with the lyrics being the same:

"We came in spastic/Like tameless horses/We left in plastic/As numbered corpses."

When the song picks up with the drums and some string arrangements, the song really shines through. The chorus is just heaven, with at least 50 people singing "We would all go down together". It is very emotional and that's why the song is so beautiful. The song carries that logic up to the end and it is so epicial.

"Tell Her About It" starts with a soulful start of saxophones and a lively piano. Joel's voice is very emotional and very direct. The song is about how to love a woman the right way. The song is very catchy and it makes the listener very uplifted after a tragic "Goodnight Saigon". This song is very enjoyable and it makes you feel refreshed.

"Uptown Girl" is probably Joel's most famous song. The song is very energetic with it's fun lyrics and a different approach of vocals by Joel so it fits in with the catchiness of the song. The vocals are very good and clever, the backing vocals are very good as well for accompaining Joel's. The main music is very catchy and results in this being a classic song. It deserve's to be one of his best.

"The Longest Time" is similar to a acupello but their is a double bass in the background. The voices in this song show a very heart-warming presence and Joel's voice is superior on this song. The beat of the song is by clicking of the fingers but it still has that great feel like it's a full on instrumental. This song is in my opinion the worst on the greatest hits but its still very good.

"You're Only Human (Second Wind)" is one of the exculsive tracks on the greatest hits and was released as a single. The song is about people who want to commit suicide to choose life again as there is still things to do that haven't been explored, Joel has been through this in his life so he knows exactly what he means. It starts with catchy beat on the keyboard and some perfect vocals by Joel. The chorus is full of glory as in my opinion this is Joel at his vocals best. The song has the same logic all the way through but the technique is different everytime. This is another highlight of the volume and one of my favourites. It puts the message it has across very well.

"The Night Is Still Young" is the most 80's sound on the volume and this song is another of the exclusive tracks on the greatest hits. The verse is very emotional with two different voices are used: high and low. The chorus is very powerful with the vocals and the music. This song is great and it ends the 1985 period very well on the greatest hits. Another essential track.

---Overview of Volume II---

Ratings:

1. My Life - 4.5/5
2. Big Shot - 4/5
3. Honesty - 5/5
4. You May Be Right - 4/5
5. It's Still Rock And Roll To Me - 4.75/5
6. She's Got A Way (Live) - 5/5
7. Pressure - 4.5/5
8. Allentown - 5/5
9. Goodnight Saigon - 5/5
10. Tell Her About It - 4.25/5
11. Uptown Girl - 5/5
12. The Longest Time - 3.5/5
13. You're Only Human (Second Wind) - 5/5
14. The Night Is Still Young - 4.25/5

Overall, Volume II is very mainstream against Volume I so that the variation is different from each other and also to avoid repetition which is a good thing. There are loads of classics on this volume and there is a lot more uplifting tracks here than Volume I. Volume II gets:

Rating: 4.5/5


---Overview of The Greatest Hits Volume I & II---

There are some timeless classics on here that are full of emotion, guilt, loneliness and also upliftingness. There are so much variation that the repetitiveness is not even present. There are so much great music here that really drives the songs and Joel's creativity on his piano and his beautiful and versatile voice makes music go up a notch. All his music, creativity, stories and also an autobiography makes this a masterpiece.

Rating: 5/5



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Final Origin
September 10th 2005



362 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Sorry about the really long review, it's 2 reviews into one. Call it a double album review.

Final Origin
September 10th 2005



362 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It took me donkeys hours to do this, it's a massive review because there's loads of songs and every song has something special in them.

"New York State Of Mind" is beautiful with the piano.

(7.1% of America owns this album, it may not be a big percentage but the population of USA is 293,000,000 so it is not bad.)This Message Edited On 09.10.05

Final Origin
September 10th 2005



362 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

No need to take it seriously, it's statistics. But why would anyone want to do that?

Med57
Moderator
September 10th 2005



1001 Comments


Woah, excellent review man. Freakin' huge, but great work. I prefer me a bit of Elton John to Billy Joel, but this is quite a cool collection.

Final Origin
September 11th 2005



362 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I prefer Billy Joel to be honest because he writes more beautiful songs and he's got such a better voice, check this out and you'll see what I mean.

Final Origin
September 11th 2005



362 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Are these the only people who know Billy Joel!

I'am deeply shocked (seriously). C'mon didn't write a review that's as big as the United Kingdom for 7 comments!

Oli
September 14th 2005



6 Comments


i didn't know about him till u told me the other day =/

Final Origin
September 14th 2005



362 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Check this out then. Any person who likes any type of music will really enjoy this, I am listening to this constantly everyday!

Final Origin
September 18th 2005



362 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

(Directed to: Holland, 1945)

"We Didn't Start The Fire" was made in 1988 so I assume that it will be impossible to be on here don't you think. lol.

Anyways, the song to me is actually excellent with it's clever lyrics and a catchy beat, about all the hypocrisy and blame all around the world, it's a political song. It's off the underrated album "Storm Front".

Final Origin
September 25th 2005



362 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Just wondering, is this too long to read as i haven't got many comments?!

Jawaharal
September 25th 2005



1832 Comments


Ya not many people have read my past couple reviews because they were van morrison

Zebra
Moderator
September 25th 2005



2647 Comments


Good review! Your review was really long but like you said it was a double review, so it's all good.

Billy Joel is god, "Say goodbye to Hollywood" is an awesome song.

Final Origin
September 26th 2005



362 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"Say Goodbye To Hollywood" to me is also an awesome song.

Thanks for the support anyway, I think I'm writing reviews that people have never heard of recently but surely everyone should have heard about this album as it is the 5th best selling album of all time!This Message Edited On 09.26.05

Final Origin
September 26th 2005



362 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I would say that everyone should download or some other method, get "Just The Way You Are" as it is my favourite track of all time as it is so beautiful and the music is the best I've heard in ages!!!!

Final Origin
October 6th 2005



362 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I just submitted this to be a featured album, hopefully it will show up on it as this is truly an amazing piece of music.

SafetyInSolitude
October 17th 2005



16 Comments


Incredible songs, incredible album.

This album rotates through my iPod constantly.

My only complaint is that "Angry Young Man" wasn't included. but I'm not sure when it was written. So no big deal, I've got all his other albums too.

Final Origin
October 18th 2005



362 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"Angry Young Man" was written in these periods, I haven't heard that song yet so I don't know if it was worthy to be on here.

This album still rotates in my MP3 and Cd Player for at least 1 year and I'm not getting sick of it one bit!!! That shows you how stunning it is.

ACircuitShock
October 18th 2005



13 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Nice review man... seriously, you put alot of work into this. I'm iimpressed. As for Billy Joel, I absolutley love his work. All my friends know that I secretly have several of his CD's and I plan to get many more. I love his voice and the way he writes, he's honest and poignant. Definatly one of my favorite artists ever, and I'm more of a power metal/thrash guy.

btw
Almost every Billy Joel song is fantastic, but Goodnight Saigon (which isn't on this album obviously) has got to be one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. Once again, props for the review.

Final Origin
October 19th 2005



362 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Vote for me if you really liked the review so I can acknowlege it.

Goodnight Saigon is actually on here and I totally agree with you about it.

AntagonisticChaos
October 20th 2005



3 Comments


I can honestly say I don't recall being able to place songs I've heard to his name, but the review was very well written and it's a motivation to try and find some of his stuff somewhere...



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