Billy Joel - The Stranger
When Billy Joel started working on “The Stranger” it wasn’t out of the question that he would end up somewhat like the “Piano Man” he portrayed in one of his biggest hits. His latest album wasn’t a commercial success and Columbia considered dropping him. Maybe that sense of urgency was needed. He responded to the pressure with the arguably best album of his career. Joel insisted to record with his live band which helped him capture the thrilling energy of their live performances in the studio, but what truly stands out is the incredibly tight songwriting. There are no fillers. “The Stranger” is an album about New York in the late 70’s - sometimes depressing, sometimes hopeful, always real. Despite Joel’s impressive body of work, it’s this album that stands out as his most consistent achievement, one that cemented his status as one of the great American songwriters.