NEW YORK, July 31 /TMRZoo.com/ — Summer 2008 is turning into a banner season for pop music icon Billy Joel, who’s enjoying a run of high-profile sales and concert success.
With the artist making history for his pair of sold-out concerts at New York’s Shea Stadium on July 16 and 18, the newly compiled 30th Anniversary Legacy Edition of Billy Joel’s “The Stranger” (originally released in September 1977) entered the Billboard Top Pop Catalog chart at #1 shortly following its release on July 8.Legacy Recordings is celebrating the 30th Anniversary of “The Stranger” with a newly relaunched edition of Billy’s official website (www.billyjoel.com). The site provides free access to Legacy’s new “The Stranger” podcast series featuring brand new interviews from Phil Ramone, Gavin DeGraw, Duncan Sheik, legendary songwriters Diane Warren and Jimmy Webb and additional surprises as well as archival and new interview footage of Billy himself.
Legacy’s 30th Anniversary Edition of Billy Joel’s “The Stranger” is also available as a Platinum MusicPass, a digital album gift card which enables consumers to download a full-length album, and in many cases special bonus content, in the form of high-quality files compatible with all MP3 players.
“Billy Joel – Return of ‘The Stranger’,” a new one-hour radio special, has been picked up by 150 radio stations — in a multitude of formats including AAA, AC, ALT, CR, Oldies and more — in major US markets across the country. “Billy Joel – Return of ‘The Stranger'” tells the story of Billy’s classic album from Billy’s personal perspective and through the songs that made him a superstar 30 years ago. The program includes new interviews, and archival interviews with Billy Joel, new interviews with the album’s producer Phil Ramone, and a wealth of music related to, and from “The Stranger” including tracks from the newly-remastered 30th Anniversary Edition, as well as rare vintage live recordings from Carnegie Hall (June 1977) and Nassau Coliseum (Dec 1977). The radio program is produced by Tres Hombres (Paul Rappaport, Jym Fahey, Mitch Maketansky) and hosted by Bob Buchman (WAXQ-FM, New York).
NY PBS station WLIW will provide a 30th anniversary showcase for “The Stranger” with pledge week broadcasts of “The Making of ‘The Stranger'” and Billy Joel’s appearance on “The Old Grey Whistle Test.” The Stranger 30th Anniversary Editions as well as an exclusive “The Stranger Live” CD will be available as PBS fund drive premiums.
When it was announced earlier this year that Billy Joel — who holds the Madison Square Garden record for the longest sequence of sold-out shows by a single artist (12) — would perform the last concerts at New York’s fabled Shea Stadium on July 16 and 18, more than 110,000 tickets were sold out in 45 minutes.
Attendees at the concerts were given exclusive “The Stranger” laminates which enabled them to download a free song from “The Stranger” played live at Billy’s “Last Play At Shea” concert. “The Stranger” promotional laminates also introduced fans to the free Billy Joel Mobile Community Club (www.billyjoel.com/mobile)
Billy’s Shea Stadium concerts featured guest artists including Steven Tyler, Roger Daltry, Garth Brooks, John Mellencamp, Don Henley, Tony Bennett and Paul McCartney (who’d performed at Shea’s first rock concert in 2005). The New York Daily News heralded “the unforgettable final concert at Shea Stadium” while New York Newsday quoted a fan who called the performance “the best concert she’ll ever see.”
Originally released in September 1977, Billy Joel’s fifth studio album, “The Stranger,” marked the first of Joel’s highly successful collaborations with producer Phil Ramone, whose mastery of the recording studio provided a sublime sonic context for Joel’s timeless songs and classic performances.
The resulting collection became one of the top-selling albums of the year (peaking at #2 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart); won two Grammys (Record of the Year and Song of the Year for “Just The Way You Are,” “The Stranger” was nominated for Album of the Year); overtook Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” as Columbia Records Top Selling Album of the time, and generated four indelible singles — “Just The Way You Are (#1 Adult Contemporary, #3 Pop Singles); “Only The Good Die Young” (#24 Pop Singles); “She’s Always A Woman” (#2 Adult Contemporary, #17 Pop Singles); and “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” (#17 Pop Singles) — that remain radio staples to this day.
Billy Joel’s first Top 10 album, “The Stranger” is still the iconic performer’s best-selling non-compilation album ever. Ranked at #67 on Rolling Stone’s prestigious “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list, “The Stranger” has earned the coveted RIAA Diamond Album certification (presented in recognition of US sales of more than 10 million copies).
The Stranger – 30th Anniversary Edition
Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings
CD 1 – The Original Album
1. Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)
2. The Stranger
3. Just The Way You Are
4. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
6. Only The Good Die Young
7. She’s Always A Woman
8. Get It Right The First Time
9. Everybody Has A Dream
Produced by Phil Ramone in association with Home Run
Music and Lyrics by Billy Joel
CD 2 – Live At Carnegie Hall, June 3, 1977
2. Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)
3. Prelude/Angry Young Man
4. New York State Of Mind
5. Just The Way You Are
6. She’s Got A Way
7. The Entertainer
8. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
9. Band Intro
10. Captain Jack
11. I’ve Loved These Days
12. Say Goodbye To Hollywood
Produced for release by Phil Ramone and Bruce Dickinson
“The Old Grey Whistle Test” DVD
“Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)”
“New York State Of Mind”
“She’s Always A Woman”
“Root Beer Rag”
“Just The Way You Are”
“Ain’t No Crime”
“Only The Good Die Young”
PLUS Live Promotional videos:
“Just The Way You Are”
Having sold more than 110 million records over the course of a career spanning more than 40 years, Billy Joel ranks as one of the most popular recording artists and respected entertainers in the world.
Billy Joel has had 33 Top 40 hits and 23 Grammy nominations since signing his first solo recording contract in 1972. He received the Recording Industry Association of America Diamond Award, presented for albums that have sold more than 10 million copies, for his “Greatest Hits Volume I and Volume II.”
Taking its name from a key track on The Stranger, “Movin’ Out,” a Broadway musical based on Joel’s music, choreographed and directed by Twyla Tharp, was nominated for 10 Tony Awards and took home two including Best Orchestrations– Billy’s first Tony Award win–and Best Choreography.
Billy Joel received Grammy awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1978 for his song “Just the Way You Are”; Album of the Year in 1979 for “52nd Street”; and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 1979 for “52nd Street” and in 1980 for “Glass Houses.” In 1990, he was presented with a Grammy Legend Award. Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992, he was also presented with the Johnny Mercer Award in 2001. In 1999 he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and in 2004 received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His other awards include the ASCAP Founders Award, the BMI Career Achievement Award, the American Music Awards Award of Merit, and the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal.
Billy Joel has donated his time and resources to a variety of charitable causes, and he has recently launched an ongoing educational initiative to provide seed money, musical scholarships, and endowments to a variety of East Coast colleges, universities, and music schools. For his accomplishments as a musician and as a humanitarian, he was honored as the 2002 MusiCares Person of the Year by the MusiCares Foundation and the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences; he has also received a humanitarian award from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
The net proceeds of Billy Joel’s recent composition, “Christmas in Fallujah,” inspired by soldiers’ letters from Iraq, are being donated to Homes for Our Troops, a nonprofit organization that builds specially adapted homes for disabled service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.