IT'S BETTER THAN DRINKIN' ALONE: The Official ILM Track-by-Track BILLY JOEL Listening Thread

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Welcome one and all to what is sure to be one of the most popular threads in ILM history, as we take a song-a-day, track-by-track journey through the musical output of the Piano Man himself. A quick glance at Wiki confirms his significance: thirty-three self-penned Top 40 hits, twenty-three Grammy nominations (six wins), an estimated 150 million records sold worldwide, and a position just one slot shy of the Eagles as the sixth-best-selling artist of all time in the USA. If this staggering track record has not always translated into critical cred or hipster kisses, all the more reason to dig deep, listen close, and re-evaluate.

To get things started...

https://img.discogs.com/QNpKf3_ZWbH_YncKomidPiXwucI=/fit-in/600x607/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-1580441-1420639267-9442.jpeg.jpg https://img.discogs.com/sgvR7zxU8gGhZJivqUljTKBeoy8=/fit-in/473x445/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-1580441-1257610467.jpeg.jpg

It's July, 1971. Buffeted by the troubles of the times, rock listeners find themselves reaching for the heartfelt, melodic expressions of the singer-songwriter. Perhaps taking note of Carole King's position at the top of the charts, the tiny Family label sees no reason not to take a chance on a demo tape of earnestly-sung, piano-backed ballads by a twenty-two-year-old keyboardist from Long Island. Already the veteran of a few flopped-out rock combos, but stripped of his earlier West-Coast freakout and heavy-metal trappings, William Martin Joel enters the studio to record his solo debut, Cold Spring Harbor.. It hit the streets that November, and we begin our journey with the kickoff track and sole, non-charting single: She's Got A Way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUn-XOQoN3U

Note: This recording is from a 1980s remix correcting a legendary mastering goof on the original record: the entire album ran slightly too fast, producing an up-pitched "Chipmunk" effect on Joel's vocals. Chronological purists who want to experience the music as it was originally released should click here.

﴿→ ☺ (Doctor Casino), Monday, 17 July 2017 02:27 (two months ago) Permalink

Wow - I didn't know that She's Got A Way was first-track first-album! I loved this already ... but even more now know it pushed the boat out

it's just so clean & simple & pleasing.

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 02:37 (two months ago) Permalink

omg @ chipmunk version LOOOOL that is hysterical

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 02:39 (two months ago) Permalink

Well, to add to the embarrassing recording goofs, I've still got the wrong version up there! Sorry, Billy! The Youtube above is actually the Songs in the Attic live version from ten years later, which did chart. It's sort of hard to pin down these versions but give me a second here.

﴿→ ☺ (Doctor Casino), Monday, 17 July 2017 02:57 (two months ago) Permalink

that Songs in the Attic version is the one i already knew. interesting!

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 02:58 (two months ago) Permalink

So, the full, pitch-corrected 1983 remix of the album is here; it's also on Spotify. Individual YouTubes are a mishmash, with both the live hit and the original Chipmunk version getting slapped up with the CSH album cover, and a bevy of do-it-yourself corrected versions. But basically this is what we should listen to:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXAKedxxVe4

﴿→ ☺ (Doctor Casino), Monday, 17 July 2017 03:03 (two months ago) Permalink

It's very interesting to compare the "corrected original" to the "live hit" versions - the lingering psychedelic "let us be like children together in the garden" tweeness of the earlier recording gets ironed out of it, and he adds a pinch of harder vocal grit to the second pass through "she touches me, I get turned around." Essentially, he brings it much closer to his signature late-70s sound, though he retains the very, very stripped-down arrangement.

To be honest, I've never really strongly connected with this song - good melody, great opening line... without the Chipmunk thing, and with the right promotional backing, you imagine he could have gotten at least a regional hit out of this. But it's one of these "she's great, she's great, she's really great" kind of songs without conflict, narrative or rhythm section... makes it a bit too easy for it to just drift by. I do think I like it better in its original, rather less professional incarnation. Elsewhere, I love Joel's grand-entertainer, crowd-pleaser populism, but on these first couple albums I like also hearing this kid - affectations and fumbles and evident desire to be Paul McCartney and all.

﴿→ ☺ (Doctor Casino), Monday, 17 July 2017 03:13 (two months ago) Permalink

i enjoy the way he over-enunciates as a young man. like someone said to him it's important that we understand all the words

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 03:14 (two months ago) Permalink

totally!

﴿→ ☺ (Doctor Casino), Monday, 17 July 2017 03:18 (two months ago) Permalink

it's probably more proto-air supply than anything tbh

but even in that category it's head and shoulders above. like, compared with the overwrought verging on gross "baby ima want you" syrup that will be pouring into listeners ears in the coming years, it's great

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 03:20 (two months ago) Permalink

Just based on this song, in a vacuum, I would've expected him to turn into more of a Manilow-type than he ever ended up being.

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Monday, 17 July 2017 04:12 (two months ago) Permalink

the path of earnest songwriting is fraught with danger

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 04:46 (two months ago) Permalink

it's funny I haven't heard joel and manilow compared much - sure their careersan attitudes and styles are quite different, but as showtunes holdouts and staples of the adult contemporary charts... idk

﴿→ ☺ (Doctor Casino), Monday, 17 July 2017 05:11 (two months ago) Permalink

joel has way better songwriting (as this thread will hopefully bear out) - it's his abilities as a storyteller that navigated him out of those waters imo

manilow had good hooks but his lyrics are pretty bad, more like long commercial jingles

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 05:30 (two months ago) Permalink

though i agree with dr c that there's not much to the lyric on "she's got a way," it's A-plus compared to most of what we're going to be listening to over the next week and a half, simply by virtue of billy not trying too hard. he's infatuated with a girl, he says so, he rhymes "about her" with "without her," he tosses in a bridge, he's done. he can do worse, much worse, and he will. and the melody sticks. a telling start to his career: he's a piano man with a gift for a hook and not a lot to say, not yet.

having not heard cold spring harbor in years, i miss the octave vocal leap that ends the song in the songs from the attic version. that was a nice touch.

fact checking cuz, Monday, 17 July 2017 06:12 (two months ago) Permalink

This recording is from a 1980s remix correcting a legendary mastering goof on the original record

warning: they also re-recorded the backing tracks on a couple songs, without billy's involvement. the relationship between family productions' artie ripp, who signed him and owned these masters, deteriorated fast, and though billy quickly dumped him for columbia, ripp won a lot in the divorce: he owned a piece of billy's next ten (!) albums, and his logo appears on all of them.

fact checking cuz, Monday, 17 July 2017 06:22 (two months ago) Permalink

christ that's awful, the music industry really is full of absolute bandits.

i love how he put out 'Greatest Hits I And II' as one CD/album, not bothering with the traditional 1 and 2 volumes separated by say half a decade like most folk.

piscesx, Monday, 17 July 2017 10:59 (two months ago) Permalink

http://www.thatericalper.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Attila-008.jpg

We're going to pretend this never happened?

calstars, Monday, 17 July 2017 11:16 (two months ago) Permalink

re: Manilow and jingles, I had no idea he actually did some of that! "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there" - wow. Another difference, as Attila reminds us, is that for all his wistful balladeering, Billy wants to ROCK, and to be thought of as a rocker. This too connects him with Lennon and McCartney much more than Manilow or most of the other archetypal singer-songwriters.

I had floated the idea of including Attila and the Hassles in this thread but ppl pointed out that they were distinct "things," and anyway we were looking at a lot of tracks on this thread. But I think ppl should check 'em out - we could do a short pause after CSH and just say "today is Attila Day," rather than going track by track... idk!

﴿→ ☺ (Doctor Casino), Monday, 17 July 2017 11:32 (two months ago) Permalink

I mean I guess people can also just talk about it whenever, also! Just thinking in the spirit of dedicated group experience or w/e.

﴿→ ☺ (Doctor Casino), Monday, 17 July 2017 12:01 (two months ago) Permalink

The ratio of "discussion of Attila as music" to "lol, that cover" is historically quite lopsided. Not that I want to be the person to correct the imbalance - just sayin.

"She's Got a Way" is gr8 btw

didgeridon't (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 17 July 2017 12:48 (two months ago) Permalink

Woah, hadn't realized we had started this!

So, "She's Got a Way." The version I know is the Greatest Hits one, which is the Songs From the Attic one, and this is my first time hearing the CSH version. I've always found it decent but unexceptional, not to mention tonally jarring within the chronological ordering of GH, sandwiched between the more, uh, muscular 80s material.

Listening to the original for the first time, I can see why he went with a later version. The mixing on CSH really is disgusting and I imagine that it will make the next 9 days of this thread something of a slog.

some sad trombone Twilight Zone shit (cryptosicko), Monday, 17 July 2017 13:52 (two months ago) Permalink

There is a piece from Entertainment Weekly from around the time of River of Dreams where Billy offered brief commentary on all of his albums. I tried to dig it up, but I couldn't find it. Also, EW's website is the worst.

Basically, as I recall, Billy dismisses the record due to the mastering error, claiming that he can't ever listen to it. Having my first taste of it just now, I can see why.

some sad trombone Twilight Zone shit (cryptosicko), Monday, 17 July 2017 13:58 (two months ago) Permalink

Tuneful prettiness. Not bad.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 17 July 2017 13:59 (two months ago) Permalink

affectations and fumbles and evident desire to be Paul McCartney and all

Listening to the Chipmunk version you linked above (only being familiar with the GH version before) and given the year, it strikes me that this is definitely his attempt at re-writing "Maybe I'm Amazed."

Old Lynch's Sex Paragraph (Phil D.), Monday, 17 July 2017 14:06 (two months ago) Permalink

CSH is canon, but I can't help but always thinking of Piano Man as his first record.

Similar to Bowie.

pplains, Monday, 17 July 2017 14:18 (two months ago) Permalink

(Just thought I'd beat the rest of you to writing out that last sentence.)

pplains, Monday, 17 July 2017 14:18 (two months ago) Permalink

(see also: warren zevon)

fact checking cuz, Monday, 17 July 2017 14:25 (two months ago) Permalink

ATTENTION! NATALIE MAINES IS NOT A LESBIAN.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPxllU2WUak

pplains, Monday, 17 July 2017 14:41 (two months ago) Permalink

I know singers have been tweaking lyrics to suit their gender/orientation for decades, but shifting it from first-person to third-person changes the context too much.

pplains, Monday, 17 July 2017 14:42 (two months ago) Permalink

centuries

didgeridon't (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 17 July 2017 14:57 (two months ago) Permalink

The song's vagueness--he likes this woman, but can't quite isolate her particular qualities--nicely mirrors my own ambiguous feelings towards it.

some sad trombone Twilight Zone shit (cryptosicko), Monday, 17 July 2017 16:24 (two months ago) Permalink

It's a vague sentiment, sure, but it's light-years better than "Always a Woman," in which the message is "she's a heinous bitch but I like her anyway."

didgeridon't (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 17 July 2017 16:40 (two months ago) Permalink

i like this, nice little song

love the cover, i love how period it looks, like it could be some long forgotten "lost classic" reissued by Light in the Attic

though I'm pretty impressed, for a first song on a first album this feels very much like a "Billy Joel" song, like he's got his aesthetic and identity right out of the gate, like Black Sabbath or something

Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 17 July 2017 16:41 (two months ago) Permalink

new goal of this listening thread: to pinpoint the moment he loses his hopeful high voice

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 16:45 (two months ago) Permalink

The vagueness also makes it one of VERY FEW love songs that a father could plausibly dedicate to a daughter and have it come off in a not-totally-creepy way.

This may venture into uber-maudlin TMI territory, but: the line "she's got a smile that heals me" does in fact make me think of my daughter. I know it's corny as hell but there it is.

didgeridon't (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 17 July 2017 16:48 (two months ago) Permalink

no that's otm

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 16:51 (two months ago) Permalink

and lovely <3

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 16:51 (two months ago) Permalink

for a first song on a first album this feels very much like a "Billy Joel" song, like he's got his aesthetic and identity right out of the gate, like Black Sabbath or something

haha. but i'm not sure he truly finds his "billy joel" voice until track 3 on this album.

his hopeful high voice

sounds like he's channelling paul mccartney via emitt rhodes, who at this particular point in time was making better billy joel records than billy joel was.

fact checking cuz, Monday, 17 July 2017 16:53 (two months ago) Permalink

true!

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 16:54 (two months ago) Permalink

I don't know if its the pitch issue, but his voice sounds more shaky than I expected. Starting from "Piano Man" on, his voice has a confidence that he never loses - I just figured he always had it. Interesting to hear, actually

Vinnie, Monday, 17 July 2017 17:03 (two months ago) Permalink

i think he's trying to go for lilting & comes off as slightly petrified haha

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 17:10 (two months ago) Permalink

yeah track three is KEY to joel's entire steez going forward, looking forward to that.

agreed about trying to sound lilting. ATTILA reminds us that he did already know how to sing in a more forceful and confident manner, so this here is as much a "poetic" affectation as his bellows over there are an attempt to find his "hard rock" voice.

"maybe i'm amazed" is a very apt comparison - and it, too, wasn't a hit until a live album years later! I picture joel watching it rise on the charts in 1976, clenching his fists, blood boiling at the CSH screwups all over again, and swearing that if HE ever gets big enough to merit a live album, he knows just what the single will be and won't THAT show 'em all? "your song" also probably had to be on somebody's mind, the label's if not the artist's.

﴿→ ☺ (Doctor Casino), Monday, 17 July 2017 17:34 (two months ago) Permalink

like he's got his aesthetic and identity right out of the gate, like Black Sabbath or something running down the road, trying to loosen its load....

pplains, Monday, 17 July 2017 17:41 (two months ago) Permalink

i'm guessing this song's about the other member of attila's wife (later to be his own).

i'd always understood that the "mastering error" is because they wanted to cram too many minutes of music onto the album.

Thus Sang Freud, Monday, 17 July 2017 17:46 (two months ago) Permalink

so many wives...

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 17:59 (two months ago) Permalink

like he's got his aesthetic and identity right out of the gate, like Black Sabbath or something running down the road, trying to loosen its load....

― pplains, Monday, July 17, 2017 12:41 PM (two hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

you know...for some reason it never occurred to me till this very second that the protagonist of "Take it Easy" was shitting his pants

Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 17 July 2017 19:50 (two months ago) Permalink

i'd lump the eagles in with billy as a band who didn't achieve their full aesthetic and identity until track three of their debut album. chug all night y'all.

fact checking cuz, Monday, 17 July 2017 20:03 (two months ago) Permalink

i'd always understood that the "mastering error" is because they wanted to cram too many minutes of music onto the album

I hadn't heard that specifically about CSH. But I have heard that "Silver Springs" was kept off Rumours partly because the resulting length would have mean that they could just BARELY fit it in only by narrowing the grooves and unacceptably compromising the bass response.

Tangent: Interesting to think about the degree to which actual physical limitations were relevant - all of this in living memory. Les Paul was faking multitracking by ping-ponging, then the Beatles were on four tracks, then eight, then DSotM, then Steely Dan's automated mixes, then ProTools... all of this has happened within the lifespan of specific known humans. The time from the Wright brother's first flight to walking on muthaflippin moon? Many of us have grandparents who lived through both.

didgeridon't (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 17 July 2017 20:32 (two months ago) Permalink

agreed about trying to sound lilting. ATTILA reminds us that he did already know how to sing in a more forceful and confident manner, so this here is as much a "poetic" affectation as his bellows over there are an attempt to find his "hard rock" voice.

Ah gotcha. I ain't heard CSH yet, so I sure as hell ain't heard Attila yet

Vinnie, Tuesday, 18 July 2017 01:52 (two months ago) Permalink

Casino, you evidently haven't heard my karaoke version of "She's 'So Cold."

I love the Chris Kimsey-engineered self-produced Stones mall rat era (I'm not a "Start Me Up" fan).

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 21 September 2017 14:43 (two days ago) Permalink

As a kid, I learned what the Combat Zone and Bed-Stuy were from this song.

This one to my ears fits "[song / album] basically invented [band / genre]" -- this is the ur-text for Quebec bar-band rock.

Eazy, Thursday, 21 September 2017 14:48 (two days ago) Permalink

Billy Joel, New Wave--I fail to see the problem.

the general theme of STUFF (cryptosicko), Thursday, 21 September 2017 15:49 (two days ago) Permalink

catching up!:

"zanzibar": i think this is my favorite billy joel song???? which is mostly bc it's billy simulating a steely dan song and doing it extremely well????

"stiletto": i love this song even though billy's vocal on it is fucking bizarre. such a sharp, excitable arrangement, the bridge especially. feel like a lot of his best songs are generated from this kind of irascible excitability which i feel is embodied in the live clip of "zanzibar" where he runs across the stage just to play a solo on a hammond organ

"rosalinda's eyes": the opening groove is so lush and centerless and but it gets mushy and undistinguished from there. like many of dude's deep cuts it feels like a draft for a better song he never ended up writing. the all-percussion coda is a nice touch

"half a mile away": hell YEAH. horns! buy a cheap wai-yine!!! i guess this song could revolve around a stronger hook but it nails the philly soul vibe so well that i don't mind "wordless flights into falsetto standing in for the hook." i feel tremendous unearned affection for this song lol

"until the night": wtf is up with billy's voice. stop it, my dude. six minutes of posturing that doesn't actually assemble into a song. why is this song so long, why won't it stop. i'm glad he starts singing normally in the fourteenth verse or whatever and the sax solo is incredible but i'm so tired and here comes that underwritten chorus again, thankfully it is the year 2177 and i am a skeleton whose ears have been reduced to mute unresonating bones

"52nd street": yeah some more of those collapsing steely dan-esque chords billy! no not more of your ray charles imitation wtf!!!

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Thursday, 21 September 2017 16:02 (two days ago) Permalink

"you may be right" is a fuckin jam ofc though i remember the guitar riff in the chorus being more muscular than it actually is. any punk covers of this shit

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Thursday, 21 September 2017 16:04 (two days ago) Permalink

i'm surprised that after the relatively self-assured the stranger that so much of the second side of 52nd street is devoted to identity crisis but about half of those songs are great anyway

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Thursday, 21 September 2017 16:09 (two days ago) Permalink

it's hard for me to separate any positive feelings I have for this song from nostalgia because it is SO goddamn ridiculous (albeit catchy). Is this the first thing he put out with *no* piano on it?

Οὖτις, Thursday, 21 September 2017 16:15 (two days ago) Permalink

animated gifs from this album's videos will never not be funny tho

Οὖτις, Thursday, 21 September 2017 16:16 (two days ago) Permalink

"You may be right" is what drunk old guys with bandannas on their foreheads sing when they wander around parking lots

calstars, Thursday, 21 September 2017 16:20 (two days ago) Permalink

"You may be right" is what drunk old guys with bandannas on their foreheads sing when they wander around parking lots

― calstars, Thursday, September 21, 2017 9:20 AM (three minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

also, in my experience, in karaoke bars

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Thursday, 21 September 2017 16:24 (two days ago) Permalink

christgau's billy joel page is maybe my favorite observable evolution of his opinions, right up to when he reaches the greatest hits record, writes "i give up" and gives it an a-

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Thursday, 21 September 2017 16:26 (two days ago) Permalink

I was gonna say Bowie

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 21 September 2017 16:26 (two days ago) Permalink

Also: "Zanzibar" is very good.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 21 September 2017 16:27 (two days ago) Permalink

such a jam, i love this without reservation

the drums on the chorus are my favorite thing

YOU MAY BE RIGHT (WHAP! WHAP! WHAP!)
I MAY BE CRAZY (WHAP! WHAP! WHAP!)

and Cannata's sax solo is great

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 21 September 2017 16:29 (two days ago) Permalink

my sister & i used to sing this all the time

i love the long/short phrasing/cadence of this:

thiniiiik of all the years
you tried to
find
some
one
to
sat
is
fy you
i might be as craaazy as you saaay
if i'm craaaazy then it's truuue
that it's allllll becauuuuse of youuuu
amd you wouldnt want me aaaany other waaaay

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 21 September 2017 16:34 (two days ago) Permalink

CHILDHOOD THOUGHTS: Trying to imagine sweet talkin' a girl who's ALONE IN HER ELECTRIC CHAIR.

Also, always liked this moment on his Live at Long Island tape. If only that light guy had been there in the USSR.

(Just typed in "Long in Live Island" while searching for that, and now I've got Captain Jack porn possibilities in my head.)

WMJ's album personas are seamless, by the way. (The only one slightly opaque is 52nd Street jazz boy.) Him releasing this album in the midst of New Wave wasn't some sort of "Hello, fellow students." He was still who he was AND he was still relevant. There isn't a false note anywhere on this album.

Well, except maybe when he sings in French, but we'll get to that.

Anyway, I think it's a great little rock single

Pretty sure he recorded it in NYC, but we'll take the compliment!

pplains, Thursday, 21 September 2017 16:58 (two days ago) Permalink

haaa

believe it or not, there IS piano buried in the mix, it's just really close to the rhythm guitar part and hard to catch. maybe most audible in the "told me not to drive" part. my guess is they decided they didn't want it, turned it down to zero, but still got just a taste of it on the other mics in the room.

Doctor Casino, Thursday, 21 September 2017 18:03 (two days ago) Permalink

thiniiiik of all the years
you tried to
find
some
one
to
sat
is
fy you

Joel's hyperenunciation on vocals, often borderline fussy, pays off here in the word "satisfy"

Guayaquil (eephus!), Thursday, 21 September 2017 18:44 (two days ago) Permalink

Agreed. He's a songwriter with high self-esteem; of course he wants his words un.der.stood.

(I can relate - when I have written a song with very careful attention to meter and to lyrical cleverness, I hate giving it to a singery singer who wants to do all sorts of murky singerish stuff with it that will render my perfect words unintelligible.)

Each of us faces a clear moral choice. (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 21 September 2017 19:40 (two days ago) Permalink

Billy Joel on Glass Houses - "This album is hard rock heavy. No balance between the ballads and the harder stuff."

aphoristical, Thursday, 21 September 2017 20:49 (two days ago) Permalink

lol this album is heavy as a wad of bubblegum

Οὖτις, Thursday, 21 September 2017 21:00 (two days ago) Permalink

that's pretty heavy in the particular gravity of billy joel's home planet

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Thursday, 21 September 2017 21:10 (two days ago) Permalink

Good song, though I didn't like it much growing up. I like the verses more than the chorus (in fact, chorus is probably the worst part), for some of the phrasings he comes up with, like the thing vg posted

Vinnie, Friday, 22 September 2017 00:56 (yesterday) Permalink

It was punk enough to be featured on a punk compilation....
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chipmunk_Punk

aphoristical, Friday, 22 September 2017 04:35 (yesterday) Permalink

i am going to a karaoke party next saturday...i may sing this. or Only The Good Die Young

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Friday, 22 September 2017 04:43 (yesterday) Permalink

Wow. Is this the raciest song Alvin and company ever cut? I was expecting to find the lyrics bowdlerized but, nope, "I told you dirty jokes until you smiled." Also, say what you will about Billy's rhythm section but they certainly wipe the floor with the autopilot goons on this cut.

Doctor Casino, Friday, 22 September 2017 04:47 (yesterday) Permalink

Good song, though I didn't like it much growing up. I like the verses more than the chorus (in fact, chorus is probably the worst part), for some of the phrasings he comes up with, like the thing vg posted

― Vinnie, Thursday, September 21, 2017

otm

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 22 September 2017 10:27 (yesterday) Permalink

Liberty DeVitto vs. Kenny Aronoff for king of the disgruntled hard hitting hacks.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 22 September 2017 12:18 (yesterday) Permalink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTWSXhMKX4I

Sometimes a Fantasy, Billy's sweaty ode to phone sex, keeps up the new-wavey trappings, hung on a vocal that owes more to Elvis or Buddy Holly. As the album's third single - unusually released in a version a good thirty seconds longer than that heard on the LP - it got to #36 in the US and #21 in Canada. Apparently this was a weak enough performance that it got left off of the Greatest Hits (though it outperformed "Goodnight Saigon").

Joel likes to talk about it getting some degree of public backlash due to its racy premise. Supposedly, some listeners also worked out the phone number at the start based on the dial tones and started harassing that particular Bell customer. O_o The video - a proper Music Video this time, with a plot, and still more Acting! - is obviously a must-see.

I should also mention, what with all the shredding on the fadeout, that as of this album Billy finally has a consistent lead guitarist, one Dave Brown, who'll stick around all the way through Storm Front. Some online sources have him showing up on The Stranger and 52nd Street but the liner notes aren't backing that up.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/68/SometimesAFantasy.jpg

Doctor Casino, Friday, 22 September 2017 12:34 (yesterday) Permalink

hot damn i love that cover, it looks like a vintage contemporary paperback by a debut novelist with a quirky and compulsively readable yet deeply literary take on youth in new york

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 22 September 2017 12:36 (yesterday) Permalink

"This 'Fantasy' is the real deal." –Thomas McGuane

Eazy, Friday, 22 September 2017 13:09 (yesterday) Permalink

"LET'S SEE OL' MR. THE WAITING IS THE HARDEST PART PULL SOMETHING LIKE THIS OFF." - pplains, 3/18/2012

Doctor Casino, Friday, 22 September 2017 13:11 (yesterday) Permalink

"Pull something off"

https://i.makeagif.com/media/5-13-2014/nUYiIH.gif

Supposedly, some listeners also worked out the phone number at the start based on the dial tones and started harassing that particular Bell customer.

Always had heard it was the phone number for the Root Beer Rag subscription line!

https://i.makeagif.com/media/5-13-2014/nUYiIH.gif

pplains, Friday, 22 September 2017 13:15 (yesterday) Permalink

It's a small thing, but I like how the rhythm section holds back until the second bar of the verses.

pplains, Friday, 22 September 2017 13:21 (yesterday) Permalink

I like how the Wiki for this song takes it as obvious that he is calling his long-term partner and not a 976 number. It also entirely avoids dealing with the bearded Alternate Future Timeline Billy, but I can't really blame them there.

Doctor Casino, Friday, 22 September 2017 13:22 (yesterday) Permalink

Excellent drumming on this one. I don't care for the concluding guitar solo.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 22 September 2017 13:25 (yesterday) Permalink

Glass Houses is one of those albums I remember seeing in older relatives collections and thinking the cover was so fascinating for some reason, the modern house I think was a big part of it, but I was fascinated by it before I ever heard it.

This period Billy is my jam...it's pretty amazing how he did such a canny job of "flipping the switch" into the 80s, 52nd Street is still so much a 70s album and his whole thing up to this point was piano driven singer-songwriter, perhaps the most "70s" thing you could be with the possible exception of a disco band...but yeah, it's like boom now we're all tense and nervy and new wave and it pretty much works great...I think the overworked huff n I'll puff n I'll blow yr house down thing that could have been a touch much in the 70s at times kind of lends itself to the new decade, he's got the same kinda frantic edge that dudes like Costello and Ian Dury and Graham Parker did.

Anyway, I kind of unreservedly love this stuff perhaps against all judgment.

Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 22 September 2017 13:48 (yesterday) Permalink

yeah idk "she's so cold" has just never done anything at all for me. ditto "start me up" which basically displays all its tricks in the snippet used to promote windows 95 (where I first heard it), and they're mostly lifted from "thunder island" anyway. I like the sound of the recordings okay but they're just not what I look for from the stones.

also sorry I'm gonna just mansplain this shit even if c&ping Wiki is a dork move...but Start Me Up had been kicking around for a long time and there's no way Keith was ripping off Jay Fuckin Fergeson (though that may be a better song!) You could make a case for Keith ripping off himself with the riff a la John Fogerty but Thunder Island was a hit in 78 so the timing doesn't work even in the unlikely event the Stones knew or gave a fuck who Jay Ferguson even was

The basic track "Start Me Up" was recorded between the January and March 1978 sessions for the Rolling Stones' album Some Girls.[2] The song was at first cut as a reggae-rock track named 'Never Stop', but after dozens of takes the band stopped recording it and it was shelved. "Start Me Up" failed to make the cut for the album, being shelved into the vault. Of the song's history, Richards has commented:

"It was one of those things we cut a lot of times; one of those cuts that you can play forever and ever in the studio. Twenty minutes go by and you're still locked into those two chords... Sometimes you become conscious of the fact that, 'Oh, it's "Brown Sugar" again,' so you begin to explore other rhythmic possibilities. It's basically trial and error. As I said, that one was pretty locked into a reggae rhythm for quite a few weeks. We were cutting it for Emotional Rescue, but it was nowhere near coming through, and we put it aside and almost forgot about it."[3]

Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 22 September 2017 13:50 (yesterday) Permalink

This and a side 2 deep cut are my favorite songs on this album - and you're right, his vocal on things like "I know that there's a number I can always dial for assistance" do hew really closely to Elvis Costello but in a really idiosyncratic way. Deployment on the synth on this track is excellent, as is the use of half-time in the instrumental break.

Monster fatberg (Phil D.), Friday, 22 September 2017 13:53 (yesterday) Permalink

Although I'm pretty sure that synth portamento/tremelo at the end of the solo is exactly the same as the one going into the choruses of Manfred Mann's "Blinded By The Light" cover.

Monster fatberg (Phil D.), Friday, 22 September 2017 14:00 (yesterday) Permalink

yeah it's cool to hear billy on a synth again after (I assume) ramone forced him at gunpoint to shelve that peppy lil' moog. what synth is this do we think? sounds a lot like the tone on "pressure.". i dunno if the manic guitar solo really fits the anxious energy of this song but i like the way it kinda emerges from that keyboard part.

and man well i'm def not gonna try to compete on stones trivia. tho that wikipedia entry would certainly be consistent with a scenario where they keep trying to make this thing work in a reggae style (i'm imagining "i can feel the fire" here) it never works, they shelve it, and when they return to it, it's a totally different tempo and arrangement, which happens to sound enormously similar to "thunder island," a top ten hit by a guy who i imagine had crossed the stones' path at some point in either his Spirit or Jo Jo Gunne tenures.

i dunno man... it's the same exact riff and he'd already charted with it years before theirs came out! but then these things happen. in one of the interview clips linked above, billy cops to discovering, years later, that "it's still rock n roll to me" has the same chord progression as "lay lady lay" which i admit would never have occurred to me in a million years.

Doctor Casino, Friday, 22 September 2017 14:19 (yesterday) Permalink

Eephus OTM about that design! It's totally the look of Vintage Contemporary.

https://deepcovers.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/kosinski-steps.jpg?w=283&h=443

Dr. C.: "Pressure" doesn't sound like a DX7. Every studio had a Fairlight around this time, right?

stop the mandolinsanity (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 22 September 2017 14:25 (yesterday) Permalink

The verses effectively mimic the tension of Cars/early-Attractions-era New Wave--a tension put to good use, given the song's subject matter--but the synth hook that follows the chorus is too broad (prog-y?) for me. It reminds me not so much of "Pressure" (though I see the resemblance) than of the stadium rock turn he'd take later in the decade.

the general theme of STUFF (cryptosicko), Friday, 22 September 2017 14:33 (yesterday) Permalink

I'm nominally an adult and I still don't truly know what that electric chair line is supposed to mean, but it's one of his best verses either way.

Moodles, Friday, 22 September 2017 14:50 (yesterday) Permalink

oooh I really like this

the intro has a real Cars feel, like I could sing "i dont mind you coming here...." over top & it kinda works

it really rocks though! i dig it

his rockabilly-style delivery is good; but maybe liven up with the backing vox on the chorus, those ooh oh oh's sound a bit unenthused

not huge into the twiddly synth but that's my own cross to bear

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Friday, 22 September 2017 16:06 (yesterday) Permalink

also thank u to ums for the side journey re Start Me Up/Jay Ferguson

Thunder Island is cool and all but i always thought that claim that the Stones ripped him off was a bit rich

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Friday, 22 September 2017 16:09 (yesterday) Permalink

this song is some cars shit

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Friday, 22 September 2017 16:11 (yesterday) Permalink

i also like it a lot

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Friday, 22 September 2017 16:12 (yesterday) Permalink

I don't remember this song at all, pretty forgettable. Interesting we're two songs in and there's minimal/nonexistent keyboards. A strange tacit admission that pianos don't "rock"...?

Οὖτις, Friday, 22 September 2017 16:19 (yesterday) Permalink

Apparently the synth line of "Pressure" is six synth parts layered, so it could be lots of things (though probably not Fairlight).

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 22 September 2017 16:33 (yesterday) Permalink


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