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An Innocent Man - Billy Joel (1983) Review


Artist Name: Billy Joel

Album: An Innocent Man

Release Date: August 8th, 1983

Length: 40:25

Producer: Phil Ramone

Albums Sold: 7 Million (US)


Introduction


I have always been a fan of Billy Joel. Some people like him and some people are not big fans. However, he does have quite a following. In recent years he has sold out the Madison Square Garden many times. He does not release as many albums nowadays, but there is enough in his repertoire to keep a fan busy for many hours.


I wanted to look at this album as this was the first album that I had from him on vinyl. I listened to this album a lot when I was younger. So, I thought that it was time to give this album its due.


Background


William Martin Joel (Billy Joel) was born on May 9th, 1949 (71 years old). He was born in the Bronx in New York. He later on moved to Long Island which is where he mostly grew up.


An Innocent Man is the 9th studio album from Billy Joel. As stated above it was released on August 8th, 1983. This was considered a concept album. It was an homage to music from Joel's youth. It contains the musical sounds from the 1950's and 1960's.


The album did very well on the charts. It features three, Top 10 singles on the Billboard charts. These included Tell Her About It, Uptown Girl, and An Innocent Man. The only one to reach number 1 was Tell Her About it.


Joel said in an interview the reason how this album came to be. At the time he was just divorced from his wife, Elizabeth Weber. For the first time since he had been a rock star, he was alone and could do what he wanted. He dated quite a few people during that time and that made him feel young again. He felt like a teenager in love. Hence, this is how this album came to be. It is a throwback to his teenage years.


Track Listing


1 Easy Money 4:00

2 An Innocent Man 5:16

3 The Longest Time 3:32

4 This Night 4:12

5 Tell Her About It 3:45

6 Uptown Girl 3:12

7 Careless Talk 3:42

8 Christie Lee 3:25

9 Leave A Tender Moment Alone 3:48

10 Keeping The Faith 4:35


Review


When looking at the track listing, you probably have heard about most of the songs on this album. Many of these were radio friendly songs that still play on heavy rotation today.


The Longest Time, I believe is one of the strongest tracks on this album. It is is a throwback to old quartets of old and it sounds really good. It is simple, yet very catchy.


The next strong entry for me is Christie Lee. Although it is lower in the track listing, to me this is a song that is underrated. This is played in the style of Little Richard and it is about a Saxophone player that catches the eye of a beautiful lady. That motivates him to play sax like a madman. However, he soon learns that she was not into him but only the music and that crushes him. Simple premise but very enjoyable to listen to.


There are a few ballads on this album such as This Night and Leave a Tender Moment Alone. Although This Night was not as popular on the charts, I think it is the better of the 2 ballads. It really sounds like a song from the 1960's and every time that it plays on the radio, I love listening to it, even after all of these years.


I would have to say that the 3 weakest songs on the album are Easy Money, An Innocent Man and Keeping the Faith. Even though An Innocent Man charted in the top 10 on Billboard, I think it is still one of the weakest. Some people might disagree and that is fine. I just find that there are stronger tracks on this album. It does not mean that they are not good, just not as good.


Bottomline


This album still holds up surprisingly well after all of these years. It hit its 37th year anniversary in 2020.


I still play this vinyl from time to time and I still enjoy it immensely. Sometimes, when you listen to an album for so long, your tastes changes in terms of songs. However, for me, the songs that I always loved I still love them and the ones that I find not that great are still not that great. My opinion of the album has not really changed through the years.


The Longest Time is one of those songs that still sounds great to this day. I do not think the younger generation of music listeners appreciate this song as much as they should. It is simple, yet catchy. The same would have to be said about Christie Lee. I appreciate this song because I always appreciated Little Richard. Keeps the music and artist alive.


This album to be is like Run, Devil, Run by Paul McCartney. However, instead of covers, these are original songs, which makes it even better.


I think that if you were in a Billy Joel mood, I would recommend this album. It is some good old fashion fun. The themes are lighter and sometimes, we need that sort of thing. I would recommend it as an essential listen from this legendary New York artist.


What do you think? let us know in the comments below.


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