Billy Joel "The Stranger: 30th Anniversary" (180 Gram Vinyl, Downloadable Bonus Tracks)

Sony Legacy

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Billy Joel "The Stranger: 30th Anniversary" (180 Gram Vinyl, Downloadable Bonus Tracks) (2008 Sony Legacy Records pressing) 

The Stranger is the fifth studio album by American singer Billy Joel, released in September 1977 by Columbia Records. It was the first of Joel's albums to be produced by Phil Ramone, with whom he would work for five subsequent albums. (Wiki)

Joel's previous studio effort, Turnstiles, had sold modestly and peaked low on the US charts, prompting Columbia to consider dropping him if his next release sold poorly. Joel wanted the new album to feature his touring band, formed during the production of Turnstiles. The band consisted of drummer Liberty DeVitto, bassist Doug Stegmeyer, and multi-instrumentalist saxophonist/organist Richie Cannata. Seeking out a new producer, he first turned to veteran Beatles producer George Martin before coming across and settling on Ramone, whose name he had seen on albums by other artists such as Paul Simon. Recording took place over three weeks, featuring DeVitto, Stegmeyer and Cannata. Other studio musicians filled in as guitarists on various songs. (Wiki)

Spending six weeks at No. 2 on the US Billboard 200, The Stranger is considered Joel's critical and commercial breakthrough. Four singles were released in the US, all of which became top-40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 charts: "Just the Way You Are" (No. 3), "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)", "She's Always a Woman" (both No. 17), and "Only the Good Die Young" (No. 24). Other songs, such as "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" and "Vienna", have become staples of his career and are frequently performed in his live shows. The album won two awards at the 1978 Grammy Awards: Record of the Year and Song of the Year for "Just the Way You Are". It remains his best-selling non-compilation album to date, and surpassed Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge over Troubled Water to become Columbia's best-selling album release, with more than 10 million units sold worldwide. Rolling Stone later named it one of the 500 greatest albums of all time. (Wiki)

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