2013 will mark the 20th anniversary of Billy Joel's final studio album to date, 1993's River of Dreams. Since then, the semi-retired Piano Man has busied himself with sold-out concerts, live recordings, a foray into classical music and a Broadway musical based around his storied songbook. More recently, Joel has signed on as one of the artists performing at 12 12 12, a concert to benefit the victims of the East Coast's crippling Hurricane Sandy. But with the dearth of new music from Joel, fans have had to content themselves with live albums, box sets and themed compilations. In the latter category comes Columbia and Legacy's She's Got a Way: Love Songs, a romantic collection due on January 22, 2013 in anticipation of Valentine's Day.
The eighteen-track disc draws on songs recorded between Joel's 1971 solo debut Cold Spring Harbor through River of Dreams, and touches on both hits and album cuts that might be unknown to the casual fan. Of the hits, there's (naturally!) "Just the Way You Are." Joel's first U.S. Top 10 pop single and first gold single, the Grammy-winning Song of the Year and Record of the Year has been recorded by everybody from Barry White to Frank Sinatra. She's Got a Way's title track, originally included on Cold Spring Harbor, is presented in its live hit single version from 1981's Songs in the Attic. Joel's other beloved "She's" song, "She's Always a Woman" from 1977's smash The Stranger, has also been included.
Less-anthologized songs like "Travelin' Prayer" and "You're My Home" from 1973's Piano Man, the instrumental "Nocturne" from Cold Spring Harbor, and the yearning "Until the Night" from 52nd Street (1978) take their place alongside "State of Grace," "And So It Goes" and Joel's original version of the Garth Brooks hit "Shameless," all from the most-represented album here, Storm Front (1989). "You're My Home" is a particularly worthy inclusion, as the Piano Man single was acknowledged by Joel as having been written "for [his first] wife as a Valentine's Day gift." She was a lucky lady, at least in this respect: Joel also penned "Just the Way You Are" for her.
Hit the jump for more, including the full track listing with discography!
The cover artwork for She's Got a Way establishes it as a companion to Joel's recent career-spanning compilation The Hits. Though devoted fans still wait for a full-fledged return to the studio for the artist, She's Got a Way: Love Songs may be a reminder of the craft of Billy Joel as a songwriter and latter-day inheritor to the Tin Pan Alley throne. It's due in stores from Columbia and Legacy on January 22 and can be pre-ordered below!
Billy Joel, She's Got A Way: Love Songs (Columbia/Legacy, 2013)
- Travelin' Prayer (#77 pop single)
- The Night Is Still Young (#34 Hot 100)
- This Is The Time (#18 Hot 100, #1 AC)
- She's Got A Way (Live) (#23 Hot 100, #4 AC)
- Until The Night
- She's Right On Time
- You're My Home
- Just The Way You Are (#3 Hot 100, # 1 Easy Listening)
- She's Always A Woman (#17 Hot 100, #2 AC)
- State Of Grace
- Honesty (#24 Hot 100)
- This Night
- An Innocent Man (#10 Hot 100, #1 AC)
- All About Soul (Remix) (#29 Hot 100)
- And So It Goes (#37 Hot 100)
Tracks 1 & 9 from Piano Man, Columbia KC 32544, 1973
Track 2 from Greatest Hits Volume I and II, Columbia C2 40121, 1985
Tracks 3 & 5 from The Bridge, Columbia OC 40402, 1986
Track 4 from Songs in the Attic, Columbia PC 37461, 1981
Track 6 from Cold Spring Harbor, Family Productions FPS-2500, 1971 - remixed and reissued as Columbia PC 38984, 1983
Tracks 7 & 13 from 52nd Street, Columbia PC 35609, 1978
Track 8 from The Nylon Curtain, Columbia QC 38200, 1982, 1982
Tracks 10 & 11 from The Stranger, Columbia JC 34987, 1977
Tracks 12, 15 & 18 from Storm Front, Columbia CK 44366, 1989
Tracks 14 & 16 from An Innocent Man, Columbia QC 38837, 1983
Track 17 from Columbia single 38-77254, 1993, original version from River of Dreams, Columbia CK 53003, 1993
To paraphrase a song from his first solo album "Why, Billy Why?"
OK, it was probably the label's idea and Billy has nothing to do with it. I get that. Still... WTH?
"Travelin' Prayer," as great a song as it is, stands out like a sore thumb here. A fast-moving, Bluegrass-inspired tune just doesn't fit in with the slower ballads that (mostly) populate the rest of the album.
"Nocturne" is gorgeous, but it's instrumental and more a classical piece.
"Temptation" is a wonderful, obscure choice, but the song was written for his (then) baby daughter. That's a love song of a sort, sure, but not quite fitting with the rest of this collection.
I'm surprised "The Longest Time," "Leave a Tender Moment Alone," and maybe "Careless Talk" from An Innocent Man didn't make the cut. Same goes for "Through the Long Night" from Glass Houses, an album not represented here.
Still, any collection that gives great songs like "Until the Night," "She's Right On Time," and "This Night" greater exposure.
That should read "... greater exposure is a good thing," in regards to those lesser-known gems.
It's not a terrible collection by any means... Not a bummer in the bunch. I'm just saddened that it's been 20 years since River of Dreams, and Billy's content with being an oldies act and his hits, etc., getting repackaged over and over again.
Oh, and I believe "And So It Goes" hit #1 on the AC chart too.
Joe Marchese says
Thanks for your comments, Shaun. There's no argument here that there's plenty of great music on this compilation and some neglected gems, too, which are always nice to see included on a set like this. For the record, I believe "And So It Goes" hit No. 5 AC.
OK... Well, I knew it was monster AC hit. Thanks Joe!
Bill B says
We need another BJ compilation album like we need another Rod Stewart standards cover album. On second thought, at least Rod has to get out of bed to do his thing.
My point exactly. Whether it's Rod Stewart slumming, or whether it's artists like Dylan, McCartney, Simon, and Springsteen still making strong, vital music in their twilight years, at least they're still doing something.