Thursday, February 16, 2012
Volume 1 (also disc 1) covers the years 1973-1977. Ignoring his botched independent first album "Cold Spring Harbor" (which was released in 1971 at the wrong speed making all the songs too fast. Later Columbia records re-released the album with the problems fixed in 1983) and starting with "Piano Man" and running through his first smash hit songs from "The Stranger" album. Though not all of the songs on this volume were actually big hits they were his charting singles (save "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" which is a Joel and fan favorite that became very popular in his live shows) from the period and were popular on radio and eventually became very popular after Joel became a superstar.
Volume 2 (also disc 2) covers his superstar years 1978-1985 starting with songs from the album "52nd Street" through 1983's "An Innocent Man." All the songs here are smash hit singles and there is at least one song from all five albums he released during this period. The compilation ends with two new songs, only available on this album, both of which became hits as well. "You're Only Human (Second Wind)" is a fun catchy life affirming pop song and "The Night is Still Young" is a haunting powerhouse even though it is really just a great melody and chorus (it is still one of my favorite Joel songs).
While some may gripe that three BIG hits were left off, "Honesty," "Keeping the Faith" and "An Innocent Man," this double disc compilation does exactly what it sets out to do in being a excellent gathering of his biggest hits and a perfect example of why Billy Joel is one of the biggest superstars of the 1970s and 1980s.