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Did you know there’s a connection between Billy Joel and one of the most popular cartoons of the 1980s? We didn’t know either until a few weeks ago. Recently, Michael and I interviewed Larry Franke, who was second engineer on Songs in the Attic and the Nylon Curtain. During the conversation, Larry mentioned that, after working with Billy and Phil R…
 
Filmed over two nights in June 1990, Live at Yankee Stadium was a hit on VHS and on cable TV upon its release later that year. But, it’s been overlooked in the decades after, with only a handful of songs available and a production style that quickly felt dated. But, that’s all changed with a deluxe release in the fall of 2022. Fans got to see a new…
 
This episode is all about meeting new people in the Billy Joel world. First, we're telling the story of when we, your hosts, finally met after recording virtually for nearly three years. We've hinted at it online and some listeners asked about it. So, we thought we'd tell the story here along with our memories of seeing the new Live At Yankee Stadi…
 
There are make-or-break moments in every successful musician’s career. Sometimes they’re huge, cataclysmic events. Other times, they’re subtle nods that point a performer in the right direction. For Billy Joel, a pair of shows in November of 1973 was the latter. And, we have the tapes to prove it. Piano Man had just been released, and Billy was gri…
 
For someone who hasn’t released an album in nearly 30 years, Billy Joel is all over the TV. His music, his touring band, and his likeness get featured regularly on sitcoms, primetime dramas, prestige shows, and cartoons made for, for lack of a better word, mature audiences. These pop culture references have helped keep Billy in the public eye for t…
 
The Nylon Curtain wasn’t nearly as popular as Billy Joel’s albums just before and after this release. But, it still spawned a handful of hits, classics, and perennial fan favorites and concert staples. And today, it’s regarded by fans and critics as Billy’s most accomplished artistic statement. Released in 1982, The Nylon Curtain came just after th…
 
Even when looking at five decades of songwriting, album releases and concerts, 1978 stands as arguably the busiest, most successful, and most defining year of Billy Joel’s career. The year began with the smash hit album The Stranger still racing up the charts after its release the previous fall. 12 months later, Billy would wrap up 1978 with a stri…
 
This fall, an often-overlooked live Billy Joel release is getting a second lease on life. The 1990 video release Live At Yankee Stadium is getting a makeover with remixed and remastered sound, an extra song, and a brand new edit. And, after a limited run in theaters, it’ll be available on Blu-ray along with a 2-CD or 3-LP release featuring 11 never…
 
By 1984, Billy Joel was known for changing styles from album to album. What’s less recognized was how often he changed voices. And, one night that year in England, those voices were all on display. Close listening to any Billy Joel record reveals a variety of tones, accents, and affectations in the singing. Add to that the many impressions he’s don…
 
This is the second installment of our two-part series covering Billy Joel’s television appearances from 1980 through 1984. While the bulk of the spots we’ve covered so far found him promoting The Nylon Curtain, the latter batch has him on the promotional trail for the An Innocent Man album and addressing his tabloid notoriety with then-girlfriend, …
 
If people used to buy albums for the front cover, then they got to know the music at home while checking out the back. The flip side of a record jacket should complement the album and front artwork while giving listeners more to explore as they listened at home. Billy’s albums are no exception. While there’s plenty of variety on his front covers, t…
 
By 1980. Billy Joel was ready for prime time. Starting with a feature on 20/20 during the lead up to Glass Houses, he graduated from just playing a song or two on a talk show to getting regular MTV spotlights, being the subject of news features, and appearing on morning shows for a week at a time. As Billy's popularity reached its peak, he also hon…
 
When Billy Joel's The Nylon Curtain was released into the world in the fall of 1982, it was considered one of his most ambitious albums to date. Despite the rich layer and textures of the album's sonic landscape, many of the songs translated to a live setting with apparent ease. The Nylon Curtain saw our first glimpse of many of these songs on stag…
 
Years before Billy Joel started doing master classes, and long before MTV stopped showing music videos, there was Night School. Broadcast in late 1982, Night School was a half-hour show on MTV where Billy fielded questions from an audience of young fans. Fresh off the success of The Nylon Curtain, he tells stories, gives some behind-the-scenes glim…
 
Billy Joel may not be the first artist that comes to mind when you think of MTV. But, he was making music videos before the landmark cable channel got its start in 1981. A close look at those videos reveals the progression of the medium as it became more popular, more stylized, and more important as the decade went on. A handful of those videos wer…
 
1969 should have been the year Billy Joel broke through. Today, we know it would be another few years before his solo career began, and a few more after that until things really took off. Instead, the end of the decade saw his longtime band put out a second album that went nowhere. Then, the duo he formed after barely got off the ground. It must ha…
 
With the appearance of the Kirin Dry Gigs from 1988 appearing on YouTube earlier this year, a long-lost footnote in Billy Joel history has finally resurfaced. This one-off gig in Japan finds Billy performing with just one member of his longtime touring band. They’re joined by players who performed on other tours in the 80s, musicians who would go o…
 
The Covid-19 pandemic and quarantines of 2020 caused disruptions in the music industry that we’re still feeling a few years later. But while we’re fortunate that the lack of live music will fade into memory, the releases of quarantine albums may very well add up to an interesting reflection of these unprecedented times. With no opportunities to tou…
 
2022 is turning out to be a big year for Billy Joel. Just by the end of February, fans enjoyed a unique weekend of music in a city where Billy doesn’t often play. And, new vinyl releases expanding on last year’s box set, include an album few fans have ever owned on vinyl before. We’re covering these events in this episode while also looking at a mu…
 
Billy Joel’s second solo album included his most iconic song. And the one that provided his breakthrough success and pointed the way for his post-West Coast work. But surrounding the title track and "Captain Jack" are the sounds of a songwriter still finding his way. Fortunately for us, that path is still pretty exciting. Released in 1973, Piano Ma…
 
For Billy Joel, or at least his record label, 1997 seems to be a year of acknowledgement. It had been four years since his last album, and since then Billy had been telling anyone who’d listen that he was finished writing pop songs. Now, it seemed like Columbia Records was ready to accept that – on their terms, of course. 1997 saw the release of Bi…
 
If you’ve gone to one of Billy Joel’s Madison Square Garden residency shows, saw one of his concerts near your hometown, or picked up any of his reissues or box sets over the past decade plus, then you’re familiar with the work of Edward O’Dowd. Since 2008, the graphic designer and art director has created the iconic logos Billy uses for tour dates…
 
Whoever said, “You can’t judge a book by its cover” never had to design the front of a rock and roll album. Before the internet put all the music in the world at everyone’s fingertips, that front cover first served as a siren call to anyone browsing in a record store. Then, when you sat down and listened to the songs while checking out the artwork …
 
Spread over three days in Cuba, the Havana Jam ‘79 featured Columbia recording artists alongside native musicians and bands. It was a monumental, historic event that hardly anyone knows about anymore. But Ernesto Juan knows the story. And, he’s been trying to tell it for the past decade. The Cuban-born journalist, documentarian and translator becam…
 
Sometimes the best part about the holidays are the leftovers. Picking at the feast you just enjoyed the day before can taste better than when it was just cooked. And, as the 2021 holiday season wraps up, we’re bringing you a second helping of Glass Houses - A Billy Joel Podcast. It’s been an amazing year for us, and with all the great topics and in…
 
Once again, we’re taking a break from Billy — mostly, anyway — during those weird weeks between Thanksgiving and the winter holidays to bring you some different music. Jack’s at the board with a playlist that’s split into three categories. First up is “I’ve Loved These Days.” It’s a somewhat tongue-in-cheek way of looking at artists who spent 2020 …
 
Welcome back to our two-part series on Russell Javors. As the rhythm guitarist for Billy Joel, Russell was a fixture in Billy’s band on record and on stage for much of their storied run from 1976’s Turnstiles through 1986’s The Bridge. His playing was always understated and in service to the song, but at the same time an integral part of each track…
 
Billy Joel released his first solo album, Cold Spring Harbor, in November 1971. Almost 50 years to the day, his fans are celebrating a string of exciting new announcements. In our most timely episode yet, we’ll cover the latest developments in the Billy Joel world. On Friday, November 5, Billy brought his record-breaking residency back to Madison S…
 
Billy Joel’s monthly residency at Madison Square Garden resumes on November 5th after nearly a year and a half off due to the pandemic. In the leadup to the show, we sat down with guitarist Mike DelGuidice to talk about what he’s been up to during that time. Even with the Garden shows and annual summer tour off the calendar, Mike made the most of t…
 
Probably the last thing you think of when it comes to Billy Joel’s music is reggae but that influence is there. And if it’s subtle, it’s because it comes from arguably the most understated member of the classic Lords of 52nd Street, Russell Javors. In a band where the spotlight is squarely on the piano, Russell’s rhythm guitar playing was tight, ec…
 
The fact that a Billy Joel bootleg is named after a Bruce Springsteen song should clue in the listener that this show’s a little different from what you may expect. Recorded at Maurice Gusman Concert Hall in Miami, FL on October 31, 1977, Thunder Road isn’t a radical change from the Billy we know. But, there’s a big focus on a part of live act that…
 
Almost a decade after the breakout hit album The Stranger, the Billy Joel machine was showing some signs of wear. That strain was evident on his 1986 album The Bridge. After a string of multi-platinum, chart-topping, and award-winning records, Billy was worn out and wanted to be home with his family instead of back in the studio. Meanwhile, relatio…
 
Here’s an interview with Richie Cannata. That’s it. No great fanfare, no big intro. We just had a blast talking with Billy Joel’s longtime sax, organ, flute, accordion, and piano player, and we’re sharing that conversation with you. There’s a lot of great stuff here: Deep trivia about Billy Joel tracks and live performances, stories about the Lords…
 
The Stranger made Billy Joel a superstar back in 1977. Three years later, his career really launched into overdrive. In 1980, Billy was still reaping the benefits of two Grammy-Award winning albums. In March, he took his next step forward by releasing Glass Houses. That album would become a smash hit with a leaner sound that would propel him into t…
 
In the mid 80s, Billy Joel penned the lyric “After 1986 what else could be new?” If you were to judge that based on his 1989 hit “We Didn’t Start The Fire,” you’d think he meant it. But a closer look at that video and the others from the Storm Front album suggest otherwise. For this episode we’re looking at Eye Of The Storm. Released in 1990, it’s …
 
We're back with another playlist episode this week. We have so much fun putting these together and sharing some of our favorite music with you all. Michael is back with more of his favorites over the past several years. From 90s alternative to 2010s soul and singer/songwriters, these have been mainstays for Michael and we are excited to share them …
 
Twenty-seven years ago this month, two titans of pop music teamed up for a run of sold-out shows that would set the tone for tours to come. We’re talking about the first Face to Face tour featuring Billy Joel and Elton John. In the summer of 1994, the two hit-making piano players shared the stage for a then-unprecedented run of twenty-one sold-out …
 
By the end of the seventies, Billy Joel had found success with a formula that blended elements of pop, rock, and jazz around a singer-songwriter frame. And, he was about to turn all that on its side. The Live In Houston 1979 bootleg is proof of it. The video features Billy and the Lords of 52nd Street at the Summit in Houston, TX on November 25th. …
 
An album’s first track has a lot to live up to. The song must engage the listener right away and get them excited for what’s to come. Sometimes, it’s the record’s lead single and hopefully the band’s next hit. Other times, it’s just the song most likely to get people excited. Or, it’s a little of both.In this episode, we’re giving our opinions on B…
 
Usually, a late-career live album is a victory lap, an excuse to tour, or at worst, an excuse to make some extra cash. For Billy Joel, however, it was a sign that he was back on the scene. Released on June 13, 2006, 12 Gardens Live is a two-disc set. It features performances from Billy’s groundbreaking run of a dozen shows at Madison Square Garden …
 
Pardon the pun, but for Billy Joel, 1988 was the calm before the storm. Billy and the band had just come off an exhausting, groundbreaking two-year tour that saw them on four continents. And, they capped it all off with a historic run of six shows in the now-former USSR. Billy was the first pop act from the west to get this kind of access behind th…
 
What changes when other piano players perform Billy Joel’s music? What elements shine through? What’s it like to be tasked with performing music written by one of the most popular recording artists of the 20th century? This is the second installment of our two-part series where we talk with piano players who have been tasked with interpreting and p…
 
Billy Joel is no stranger to awards shows and other accolades. Following 1977’s The Stranger, he’s won a handful of industry awards, was nominated for plenty more, and gave a few memorable — and in, one case, literally show stopping — performances. And, when you’re tracking award show appearances over three decades, you also start noticing trends a…
 
After 1993’s River of Dreams, fans waited and wondered if Billy Joel would ever release another pop album. The answer, as we know now, turned out to be no. But, nearly a decade after that release, we saw a new development for Billy’s music. The first years of the new century saw three new releases that featured Billy Joel’s music, but without him p…
 
Billy Joel’s last album is a study in contrasts. It sounds like a new beginning, when it was really the end of an era. It alternated between gritty, angular rhythms and sweet, flowing melodies. It’s arguably one of his most divisive albums. Yet it earned him a handful of award nominations, a new generation of fans, 5 million in record sales in Amer…
 
Apart from the botched release of Cold Spring Harbor, 1971 was a surprisingly low-key year for Billy Joel. His teenage band collapsed a few years before. And the proto-metal power duo that rose from its ashes failed to gain any traction. Broke, depressed, and aimless, Billy was ready to leave the music industry for good. And, he may have done just …
 
It’s easy to overlook most of Billy Joel’s The Bridge Tour concert dates from 1986 and 1987. The shows, which spanned four continents, were in support of one of Billy’s arguably weakest albums. Meanwhile, these dates are eclipsed by the handful of landmark shows he played in the USSR at the tail end of the tour. But it turns out there’s enough goin…
 
This may be the beginning of 2021, but this installment marks the end of our first 12 months of episodes. So, we decided to do something special for the occasion. We’re hosting a round table with some of the biggest Billy Joel fans we know. It’s an opportunity for us all to chat about the music we love. Our conversation uncovered new stories about …
 
WIlliam Martin Joel had released three solo albums by the beginning of 1976. In many ways, however, that was the year he became the Billy we all know today. It was the year he recorded and released Turnstiles, finally winning his battle with CBS records to cut an album with his touring band. That band, of course, was now almost entirely the classic…
 
We’re kicking off 2021 with a look back and a look forward at Billy Joel’s work, his fans, and the music industry in general. This episode features two sets of interviews. The first is with Mikhail Pivovarov and Billy Ruegger from the online music collective Love Raptor. We’ll go behind the scenes of their funk covers of “Movin’ Out” and “She’s Got…
 
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