"Piano Man" Turns 50
Billy Joel – Piano Man (Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab – MFSL 1-349, Columbia – P 760784, Columbia – 88697607841, 1973/2011 🇺🇸)
Released 50 years ago today, “Piano Man” and I have traveled many miles together. I’m taking a picture of my fancy Mobile Fidelity copy here, but my first version was a “Nice Price” CD purchased in a Pathmark grocery store early on a Saturday morning sometime in the very late 1980s. Upon first listen, some of the songs felt a little bit of their time, but Billy’s compositions grabbed my attention and never let go and - in retrospect - I’d say the album stands as a very timeless overview of a gifted songwriter in the early 70s. I’d even go as so far as to boldly say that “Piano Man” is one of my favorite Billy Joel albums.
As much as I love my original pressings, this Mobile Fidelity copy beams to me from another planet: it’s clean and detailed in a way I never get to hear the songs anywhere else (it almost makes me want to listen to the title track for 12,000th time). If you’re only familiar with Billy’s greatest hits output, give “Piano Man” a spin: there’s plenty of familiarity mixed in with several excellent deep cuts. Treat yourself.