Set for release on Record Store Day on April 13th is Billy Joel‘s first stand-alone vinyl issue of Live At Carnegie Hall, 1977. The set, which was recorded on June 3rd, 1977, was originally released back in 2008 as part of the 30th anniversary edition of The Stranger album. The concert features two soon-to-be classics with “Just The Way You Are” and “Scenes From An Italian Restaurant” performed a full three months prior to their release.
Billy Joel talked about the concert on June 3rd, 1977, and was asked if the Carnegie Hall gig made him feel as though he had finally “made it”: [“Well, there was that element to it, sure. Because Carnegie Hall has a reputation for being a terrific music venue for, y’know, ‘fine music.’ But you gotta remember, Benny Goodman played there, Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa. And I actually saw Led Zeppelin play there back in the ’60s — and the Beatles played there, as well. So, it was an important venue — especially in New York City. Carnegie Hall is known world-wide, and when you’re gonna headline Carnegie Hall, you know it.”] SOUNDCUE (:25 OC: . . . you know it)
Billy remembers that it was the audience who succeeded in making the gig a decidedly rock and roll event: [“There was a no smoking rule that had just been instituted at Carnegie Hall and they were insistent on it. ‘Okay, you can no longer smoke’ — ’cause people used to be able to smoke at Carnegie Hall. So there’s kids up in the balcony — and you could see that people were smoking. So they turned on the lights above the balconies to show that kids were smoking and they should put out their cigarettes. So rather than put out the cigarettes, the kids stood up on the balcony rails and unscrewed the light bulbs.”] SOUNDCUE (:25 OC: . . . the light bulbs)
The tracklist for Billy Joel: Live At Carnegie Hall, 1977 is: “Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway),” “Prelude/Angry Young Man,” “New York State Of Mind,” “Just The Way You Are,” “She’s Got A Way,” “The Entertainer,” “Scenes From An Italian Restaurant,” “Captain Jack,” “I’ve Loved These Days,” “Say Goodbye To Hollywood,” and “Souvenir.”
- Billy Joel tour dates (subject to change):
March 9 – Phoenix, AZ – Chase Field
March 21 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
April 12 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
April 26 – Milwaukee, WI – Miller Park
May 9 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
May 24 – Philadelphia, PA – Citizens Bank Park
June 2 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
June 22 – London, England – Wembley Stadium
July 11 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
July 26 – Baltimore, MD – Camden Yards
August 8 – Denver, CO – Coors Field
August 28 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
September 14 – Boston, MA – Fenway Park
September 27 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
October 12 – Arlington, TX – Globe Life Park
- Billy Joel‘s breakthrough fifth album, The Stranger was released on September 29th, 1977. The album didn’t enter the Top 10 until nearly four months after its release, finally appearing on January 21st, 1978 when it took a four-spot jump to enter at Number 10 under The Grand Illusion by Styx.
- The Stranger hit Number Two on February 18th, 1978 — blocked from the top spot by the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever — and remained stalled at Number Two for six straight weeks.
- The Stranger stayed in the Billboard Top 10 for a total of 17 weeks and marked Billy’s first collaboration with the legendary Phil Ramone, who went on to produce the next six Billy Joel albums — 1978’s 52nd Street, 1980’s Glass Houses, 1981’s Songs In The Attic, 1982’s The Nylon Curtain, 1983’s An Innocent Man, and 1986’s The Bridge. To date, The Strangerremains Billy Joel’s biggest selling original album, having earned “Diamond” status for sales of over 10 million units.
- The album spawned four Top 40 hits — “Movin Out” (Anthony’s Song)” – Number 17; “Only The Good Die Young” – Number 24; “She’s Always A Woman” – Number 17; and the Top Three era-defining evergreen “Just The Way You Are,” which scored Billy both the 1978 Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year Grammy Awards — along with countless cover versions, worldwide acclaim — not the least of which included Frank Sinatra permanently adding it to his concert setlists and Billy’s hero Paul McCartney going on record as saying it was among the songs he wished he had written.