This lives in my car.
It contains no surprises - all the hits are there chronologically. Including the awful Uptown Girl - sorry Bill.
Listening to this collection nose to tail exhibits the variety of Joel's writing,his gift of sublime melody and his vastly underrated talent as both lyricist and singer. The fourth disk is a scissors & paste job of Q&A sessions and the discussed songs performed live. It gives an insight into Joels writing and reveals something of his charisma and talent whilst giving a nod to his influences, he's a funny guy, he is after all the entertainer.
Our man and his work are long overdue a reappraisal. If Dylan, Neil Young or my own hero Springsteen had penned Allentown, Goonight Saigon or even Anthony's Song (Moving Out) I feel they would have enjoyed a warmer critical reception.
As a balladeer Piano Man and Scenes from an Italian Restaurant take some beating.
If you want to spend less CBS/Sony's Essential collection, as ever, gives a great primer for an underrated recording artist. A great series for all of the artists it has touched from Clash and Cheap Trick to Dylan, Springsteen and Luther Vandross.
If you want to dig deeper, start with the Stranger and 52nd Street, both bona fide classics. Avoid Innocent Man onwards as it is overplayed and overfamiliar, but not entirely without merit.
Enjoy singing along to these in the car for many years to come.