Friday, May 2, 2014

I couldn't love you any better (Billy Joel) #181

Billy Joel Just The Way You Are/ Get It Right The First Time (CBS, BA 461796, 1977)

I bought this for my mum at the time because she loved the song when she heard it on the radio. It's easy on the ears, that's for sure.

Billy Joel had me right from Piano Man - the song and the album, but he was kind of a guilty pleasure by 1977. My mates didn't like him much, which is a factor when you're at an all boys school and the Stones rool. The sentimentality oozing from Just The Way You Are had by 1977 replaced the cutting edge of Captain Jack - which me and my mates loved from Billy's second album.

Truth be told - that Piano Man album had also contained the wonderful You're My Home which indicated early on that Billy could write superb melodies with affecting lyrics.

I bought the parent album The Stranger for my mother in 1977 as well. Both it and this single stayed in my father's possession until he passed away in 2009. Now I have them in mine - safe and sound.

Hidden gem: The B side shows Billy's rockier edge which by 1977 had become quite slick. Billy had earlier spat the dummy when radio stations prompted music biz types to edit Piano Man (The Entertainer's lyrics reveal his disappointment with the music industry - "If you're gonna have a hit, you gotta make it fit, so they cut it down to 3:05") but Get It Right The First Time at 3.54 showed that he'd learned his lessons. He's got it right the second time as GIRTFT is pretty much a conformist rock song.

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