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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Stranger established Billy Joel as a star
When it came out in 1977, The Stranger became Billy Joel's first very successful reaching no.2 in the album charts. It produced Record of the Year, "Just the Way You Are" and many other great songs. After all 6 songs from this album has gone to his greatest hits. The album is further enhanced by its ongoing theme of The Stranger with it's mysterious tune and...
Published on 15 Mar 2000

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Classic Album
This 1977 album of "piano man" Billy Joel figures in most Top-1000 lists I've seen. Even if you didn't know it, you'll find most tunes are familiar. Not really my cup of tea, but if you're going to buy one Billy Joel album, make it this one. It's full of hits and, being a single album, flows much better than most compilations.
Published 11 months ago by Kostas


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Stranger established Billy Joel as a star, 15 Mar 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Stranger (Audio CD)
When it came out in 1977, The Stranger became Billy Joel's first very successful reaching no.2 in the album charts. It produced Record of the Year, "Just the Way You Are" and many other great songs. After all 6 songs from this album has gone to his greatest hits. The album is further enhanced by its ongoing theme of The Stranger with it's mysterious tune and epilogue. This is a fantastic album and I recommend it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pop Perfection, 2 Nov 2003
By 
KIRK (Durham, North East, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Stranger (Audio CD)
Musically, critically and commercially one of Billy Joel's finest albums 'The Stranger' has set standards of the popular song, it also shows a man very much on top form in the singer/songwriter category. With 'The Stranger' Joel has touched the pulse of pop perfection, and outcame such songs like 'Movin Out (Anthony's Song' - a fun narrative pop song with one of the most catchiest choruses I've ever heard. 'The Stranger' (a song on the album with the same name) - a dark funky rock song with an oriental guitar riff, not to mention the beautiful piano introduction. 'Just The Way You Are' - need I say no more.
'Scenes From An Italian Restaurant' is one of Joels best written songs, jazz, rock and roll and romance all thrown into this pop epic. It is Joels 'Bohemian Rhapsody' if you like. 'Vienna' is tranquil and poignant and 'She's Always A Woman' empathises with any man who's ever been in love, a song of such beauty and significance.
Melody, Harmony and Orchestration all have high standards and just pure enjoyment in this masterpiece.
This is a must have for Billy Joel fans, but even if you don't particularly like his work this is an elagant addition to anyones collection. A true classic from the Piano Man
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, essential album, 22 July 2008
By 
A. Sweeney "I don't care what you call me" (Brighton, East Sussex) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Stranger (Audio CD)
Billy Joel is the complete artist. A wonderful vocalist, a brilliant lyricist, an exceptional musician, an absolutely astounding pianist and an incredible performer. He is, quite literally, one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th Century and his breakthrough 1977 Phil Ramone-produced album, 'The Stranger', is widely regarded as his finest moment in music. Although I believe that, given his talent, there are other strong contenders for that honour, I can certainly understand why this album is rated so highly. Like any truly classic release, you can listen to 'The Stranger' from start to finish and it is like listening to a greatest hits package. In fact, nearly all of the tracks on this album can be found on the better Joel compilations and with good reason - it's a masterpiece.

'Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)' kicks the album off, a ballsy song about leaving the rat race which is full of characters working too damn hard to improve their lives against a vividly-painted New York backdrop ("Sergeant O'Leary is walkin' the beat/At night he becomes a bartender/He works at Mister Cacciatore's down on Sullivan Street/Across from the medical centre"). The title track follows, introducing itself with a gentle piece of pretty piano music accompanied by a whistled melody line. This proves to be a false start as the song itself is an electric guitar-heavy rock song about recognising how you and everyone you are close with can be an emotional stranger, something that I'm sure most people will be able to connect with.

'Just The Way You Are' is the first ballad of the album, a bossa-nova style song with an interesting, almost 'backwards', drum rhythm, during which Joel implores his loved one (it was written as a birthday gift to his then wife, Elizabeth) to never change. Always his harshest critic, Billy has gone on record saying that he dislikes this composition and that it was very nearly left off the album. He's entitled to his opinion, of course, but I think that the popularity of it amongst his fans (not to mention the two Grammy awards) proved him wrong.

The next song, 'Scenes From An Italian Restaurant' is truly remarkable. It tells the story of two people getting together over a couple of bottles of wine, reminiscing about their early years, about Brenda & Eddie, the king and queen of the prom who evidently peaked too early in their lives. It's the human detail in this song ("Do you remember those days hanging at at the village green?/Engineer boots, leather jackets and tight blue jeans"... "Well they got an apartment with deep pile carpets/And a couple of paintings from Sears") coupled with the genuinely stirring and moving music which makes this one of the best songs Billy ever wrote and recorded.

'Vienna' would have been the first song on what they used to call 'side two' and, to this day, remains one of my favourite songs of all time. It is ballad written as a piece of advice for someone who wants everything all at once ("Dream on but don't imagine that they'll all come true/When will you realise Vienna waits for you?") and is a truly beautiful piece of music. The next song is the rather amusing but controversial rock shuffle 'Only The Good Die Young' which sees Billy attempting to get a Catholic girl, Virginia (very subtle, eh?), into bed with him. This extremely enjoyable song got banned by many radio stations which only aided its popularity and was defended by the author as being "pro-lust" instead of anti-Catholic - a stance that I'm sure that many young men could testify to.

Continuing on, the beautiful 6/8 time Gordon Lightfoot-inspired ballad, 'She's Always A Woman', tells the story of a man who loves a woman for all of her flaws and perceived cruelty. The album then moves upbeat with 'Get It Right The First Time', a catchy near-disco number which betrays the era a little and finishes with the powerful, emotive gospel of 'Everybody Has A Dream' which has echoes of Billy's early albums. At nine tracks and just over 42 minutes of music, 'The Stranger' has no excess, no flab and is up there with amongst the greatest albums ever made. As essential as any album could ever be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slow down you crazy child, 16 Dec 2013
This review is from: The Stranger (Audio CD)
I downloaded the MP3 track 'Vienna' on Amazon.
The song title is supposed to be a metaphor about life and getting old. Billy Joel's father left the US in the late fifties and went back to Europe. He was German, but settled in Vienna. That's where Billy would meet his dad, when, in his twenties, he reconnected with him. You can read about the meaning of the track in an extract from an interview, on the wikipedia page for the song.
Musically, as Billy Joel describes it, there is a bit of a 'cabaret' atmosphere to set the tone at the beginning, (there is also some accordion half-way thru), but it quickly evolves in a beautifully memorable ballad at the piano. The vocals are magnificent, at times very measured and soft, at others strong, assertive and soulful. The rhythm is reminicent of a slow waltz, with some violins.
Like "Honesty" it is quite bare, but instead of building up into something powerfully cynical and outreaching, it swings back and forth and remains understated, kindly humorous and very touching.
When will you realize... Vienna waits for you? Download it or buy the album!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding album that made Billy famous, 12 April 2005
By 
Peter Durward Harris "Pete the music fan" (Leicester England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Stranger (Audio CD)
Billy's career had been building gradually prior to the release of this album, but this album made him a major star in America, spawning four hit singles, two of which (Just the way you are, Moving out) also became British hits at the time while a third (She's always a woman) made the UK charts six years later. The other American hit (Only the good die young) didn't chart in Britain.
Of all the hits, the standout track is Just the way you are, which was also a UK hit for Barry White less than a year after Billy's original made the UK top twenty. Many artists in several genres of music have covered Just the way you are, proving just how good the song is.
Among the other tracks, there is a great story song - Scenes from an Italian restaurant. It lasts for over seven and a half minutes so it could never have been released as a single. Vienna, Get it right the first time, Everybody has a dream and the title track are all excellent album tracks.
Although there are only nine tracks on this album, the playing time is over forty minutes and every song is brilliant. Among Billy's many excellent original albums, I rate this one as second only to An innocent man.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Contains some true all-time great songs., 13 Nov 2000
By 
Martin Isaac (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Stranger (Audio CD)
Has Billy Joel ever written a song which is as true, and as fine a blend of by turns wistful and cutting lyrics with understated piano melody as "Always a woman"? Has anyone? Any man who's ever been out with a woman will recognise something in these lyrics. This is only one of several stand-out tracks on the album however. "Scenes from an Italian restaurant" brilliantly showcases three different styles of Joel's music on one track and the piano solo which introduces "Brenda and Eddy.." is worth the price of the CD itself. "Just the Way you are" is one of the classic love songs and has a genuine feel that the Barry White cover lost. There are a few tracks on the album which I consider fillers but these are more than compensated for by the above and also the likes of the "Moving Out" and "Only the Good Die Young".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Billy Joel, 3 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Stranger (Audio CD)
I bought the cd to replace the vinyl record that I have. I love his songs and they remind me of my youth. I recommend it to anyone who grew up with the music or who just loves great music-
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just Beautiful, 3 Jan 2014
This review is from: The Stranger (Audio CD)
If you only buy one Joel album buy this one . It on par with pop masterpieces such as Rubber Soul or Bridge over Troubled Water. In my opinion it is one of the most beautiful albums ever recorded. I know it's highly regarded but I don't think it gets the praise it deserves. I would put this in my top 10 albums of all time without a doubt.

If a listen to this won't put a smile on your face nothing will. It's so warm and passionate. "Just the Way You Are" is one of the most beautiful love song ever recorded about wouldn't be out of place at any wedding. "She's Always a Woman" always reminds me of my girlfriend. I know Joel described "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" as his Bohemian Rhapsody. I know exactly what he means with the tempo changes and the progression. This is the sort of record that helps you get through a bad day as many of the songs have optimistic themes.

This is the perfect album to listen to driving in your car with your partner on a hot sunny day. Of your reading this debating weather to but this album. Please do, it's pure joy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars billy joel, 31 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Stranger (Audio CD)
got this for my brother who said it was a brialliant album.he said it was one of billy joels best.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Billy Joel 1st album reviewed, 22 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Stranger (Audio CD)
Remember buying this album on vinyl when it first was released.Some superb tracks including Just the way you are/Only the good die young/and my favourite which i consider the work of a genius is Scenes from an Italian restaurant.Love it.
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