1977 Billy Joel Live Set Showcases Key Career Stepping Stone
Coming on Friday (April 13th) is Billy Joel's 2019 Record Store Day offering, with the "Piano Man's" first stand-alone vinyl issue of Live At Carnegie Hall, 1977. The set, which was recorded on June 3rd, 1977, was originally released back in 2008 as part of the 30th anniversary edition of The Stranger album. The show includes a pair of soon-to-be classics with "Just The Way You Are" and "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant" performed a full three months prior to their release.
Unlike a lot of musicians who struck big and went from club gigs straight to local "enormo-domes" across the country, Billy Joel -- like his Columbia Records labelmate Bruce Springsteen -- made his way up the ranks as a credible live act: "What's interesting to me, I started on my own in the Village. I was in bands that played in New York City before, but I'd never played on my own 'till, I guess 1970, I started in Greenwich Village at the Gaslight. And then I played the Bitter End, the Village Gate, and Max's Kansas City -- and that was the club era. And then we moved up to Carnegie Hall, that was a very exciting gig, really exciting. And then we played the Bottom Line, and that was broadcast on the radio. After that, I did Lincoln Center at Philharmonic Hall, and then we started playing Madison Square Garden, which was a big jump."
One of the highlights of the Live At Carnegie Hall collection is a particularly hot take of "Captain Jack" -- one of Billy's earliest and most controversial hits. He recalled that the adult content featured in the song ended up getting him more press by being banned from the airwaves: "I know that there were some stations that had a problem with it but, as with everything else in rock n' roll, the minute people are told they shouldn't hear something or a station won't play something people they run out in droves and get the thing."
The tracklist for Billy Joel: Live At Carnegie Hall, 1977 is: "Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)," "Prelude/Angry Young Man," "New York State Of Mind," "Just The Way You Are," "She's Got A Way," "The Entertainer," "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant," "Captain Jack," "I've Loved These Days," "Say Goodbye To Hollywood," and "Souvenir."