Personnel: Billy Joel (vocals, harmonica, piano, organ, keyboards); Hiram Bullock, Steve Burgh, Steve Khan, Hugh McCracken, David Brown (guitar); Richie Cannatta (fiddle, flute, soprano & tenor saxophones, organ, keyboards); Phil Woods (alto saxophone); Richard Tee (organ); Doug Stegmeyer (bass); Liberty DeVito (drums, percussion); Ralph MacDonald (percussion); Phoebe Snow, Lani Groves, Patti Austin (background vocals).
Recorded at A&R Recording, New York, New York.
Personnel: Billy Joel (vocals, piano, keyboards, synthesizer); Howie Emerson (guitar); Steve Kahn (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electric 12-string guitar); Steve Burgh (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Hugh McCracken (acoustic guitar); Hiram Bullock (electric guitar); Richie Cannata (flute, clarinet, saxophone, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, piano, organ, keyboards); Dominic Cortese (accordion); Phil Woods (alto saxophone); Richard Tee (organ); Doug Stegmeyer (bass guitar); Liberty DeVitto (drums); Ralph MacDonald (percussion); Gwen Guthrie, Lani Groves, Patti Austin, Phoebe Snow (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Frank Filipetti.
Liner Note Author: David Fricke.
Recording information: A&R Studios, New York, NY; Carnegie Hall, New York, NY.
Photographers: Art Maillet; Jim Houghton.
He's known to many as an inoffensive pop balladeer, but at the arguable peak of his career in the late '70s, Billy Joel released his darkest, most emotionally charged album. THE STRANGER abandons the grandstanding and broad melodic sweep of Joel's earlier records for a more intimate, introspective sound, effectively communicating Joel's ruminations on the perils of life and love. "Movin' Out" is something of an existentialist anthem, chronicling the way people's dreams are often irreparably crushed. The ominous-sounding title tune examines the many guises with which lovers disguise themselves in their attempts to entrap and deceive each other. "Only the Good Die Young" is hedonism at it's most iconoclastic. Even "She's Always a Woman," ostensibly a romantic piano ballad, is full of thorny, less-than-complimentary observations about its subject. Joel's emotional honesty would never be this clear-eyed and unabashed again.