Just The Way He Is: Starbucks Brews Billy Joel “Opus Collection”
Though Billy Joel retired from the business of writing and recording new pop music in 1993 following his River of Dreams, and has largely kept his word in the ensuing almost-twenty years, the music legend has hardly lowered his profile. Since River of Dreams, Joel, now 62, has written an album’s worth of classical compositions, overseen a hit Broadway musical, staged lucrative tours and issued numerous live albums and career-overview collections. As recently as last week, Joel’s catalogue was celebrated by the contestants on television’s American Idol. Starbucks Entertainment is the latest partner of Joel’s to jump into the fray with the release of an Opus Collection entry devoted to the superstar. Previous artists in the series have included Paul Simon, Bonnie Raitt and John Lennon, putting the Long Island boy in splendid company, indeed.
Over sixteen tracks, Billy Joel: Opus Collection draws on eight of the artist’s Columbia Records releases, from 1973’s breakthrough Piano Man to 1993’s River of Dreams. Typical of these collections, the disc is aimed at casual fans (read: there’s nothing new here) and completists, but isn’t a strict “greatest hits” compilation either, blending key favorites with successful singles. Five tracks, or nearly one-third of the disc, hail from 1977’s best-selling The Stranger, including “She’s Always a Woman,” “Vienna,” “Just the Way You Are,” “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” and “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant.” Represented by two tracks apiece are 1973’s sophomore effort Piano Man, 1976’s Turnstiles, 1978’s jazz-inflected 52nd Street and 1989’s Storm Front. Rounding out the set are songs from Glass Houses (1980), An Innocent Man (1983) and River of Dreams (1993). Among the all-time Joel favorites here are “New York State of Mind,” “My Life” and “Honesty.” 1971’s debut Cold Spring Harbor, 1974’s Streetlife Serenade, 1982’s The Nylon Curtain, and 1986’s The Bridge are Joel’s only studio albums overlooked on this anthology.
Hit the jump for more, including the full track listing with discography, and order link!
For those keeping score, Starbucks’ Opus Collection offers three fewer tracks than the 2010 Billy Joel: The Hits, the U.S.’ first such single-disc career-spanning compilation. Those who already have the core Joel classics but never built a collection on CD might be directed to Columbia/Legacy’s 2011 Complete Albums box set which also includes a smattering of non-LP sides on one disc.
Billy Joel’s Opus Collection is available now at Starbucks. If you just can’t make it to one of the coffee giant’s numerous locations, you can order at the link below! (Grande Toffee Nut Latte not included, of course.)
Billy Joel, Opus Collection (Starbucks Entertainment, 2012)
- My Life
- Travelin’ Prayer
- Piano Man
- She’s Always a Woman
- Summer, Highland Falls
- An Innocent Man
- And So It Goes
- Just the Way You Are
- Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)
- You May Be Right
- The Downeaster “Alexa”
- New York State of Mind
- Scenes from an Italian Restaurant
- Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)
Tracks 1 & 14 from 52nd Street, Columbia PC 35609, 1978
Tracks 2-3 from Piano Man, Columbia KC 32544, 1973
Tracks 4-5, 9-10 & 15 from The Stranger, Columbia JC 34987, 1977
Tracks 6 & 13 from Turnstiles, Columbia PC 33848, 1976
Track 7 from An Innocent Man, Columbia QC 38837, 1983
Tracks 8 & 12 from Storm Front, Columbia CK 44366, 1989
Track 11 from Glass Houses, Columbia FC 36384, 1980
Track 16 from River of Dreams, Columbia CK 53003, 1993