Billy Joel Reintroduced Himself to the World with The Stranger

Season 19 | Episode 1
29m | Dec 22, 2022

The Stranger was Billy Joel's fifth album, but in some ways, it felt like his debut because it’s the album that catapulted him to superstardom. Before its release, he’d had a radio hit with "Piano Man," but his genius was hampered by a string of overly slick producers who didn’t connect with his musical vision. But all that started to change leading up to The Stranger. With no hits to his name, his own wife as a manager, and a refusal to work with big-name producers, Joel finally had a chance to make an album on his own terms. Then came a performance at Carnegie Hall, and soon after, a meeting with Phil Ramone, the producer that finally understood what Billy was trying to do. With Joel's insistence on bringing his touring band into the studio and Ramone on his side, The Stranger finally began falling into place.

On Episode 1 of The Opus: Billy Joel's the Stranger, host Adam Unze takes a look at the groundwork for what was to come, going through the history of Billy Joel's first four records to his landmark performances at Carnegie Hall, meeting Phil Ramone, and finally finding a recording process that gave him creative freedom and the ability to capture the magic of his live band. On this debut episode, you'll hear archival interviews with Billy Joel and mega-producer Phil Ramone, plus a fresh discussion with Joel's long-time drummer Liberty Devitto,

Please and make sure to like, review, and subscribe to The Opus wherever you get your podcasts for updates on the new season from Consequence Podcast Network and Sony Legacy.

For more from Billy Joel, stream or download the The Stranger here, and also check out the recently released Live at Yankee Stadium, capturing Joel’s 1990 two-night stand at the iconic venue. You can also snag tickets to Joel's upcoming concerts, including a 2023 co-headlining tour with Stevie Nicks, here.

Fans of The Opus podcast can also pick up an official Opus hoodie or T-Shirt at the Consequence Shop

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