The Essential Billy Joel image

The Essential Billy Joel

Album by Billy Joel
2001, 36 tracks, 2 hours 33 mins 41 sec


Mar 14, 2019

With ‘The Essential Billy Joel’, You Too Can Dive Into The Musicianship Which Made The Piano Man So Famous

There are a few artists who were big at the same exact time which I have, for much of my life, overlooked, giving preferential treatment to one and not the other – but now is the time to stack all their music against each other. I have given Elton John a chance to wow me, but wasn’t exactly blown away like I thought I would be. Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, and Billy Joel, in my head at least, seem to be in the same songwriting camp – and I have always been much more of a fan of the piano pub era of Springsteen’s music – you know – songs like “Hungry Heart” where the piano plunks away and end up feeling instantly so damn working class, listening to hard luck tracks (yet always with a fire that is not truly extinguished) – and while Elton John’s music sometimes sounded that way for me, I would say that Billy Joel, from the songs I know, seemed much more like the Springsteen music that I already like. I suppose it’s an American blue collar spirit that I find charming to hear and to sort of recreate that experience – and so looking for some music like that, I had hoped that Billy Joel would provide more of it. The Essential Billy Joel seemed a perfect compilation to hear new music of this specific sub genre – and who knows how much of this style would be represented, or how many new styles and facets of Billy Joel would be discovered. I had a feeling that it would be of the lounge sort of vibe – perhaps Tom Waits without all the smoker’s voice. Don’t know why, but I’ve always dug the idea of a piano bar – and the melancholic piano player, and the barfly audience, and the general sad idea that the player should be a star, but ‘here he was’, loyally playing for the patrons who were loyal enough to show up every night.

Written by @taylor




Album Info

"The Essential Billy Joel"


  • Oct 02, 2001


  • Pop/Rock


The Essential Billy Joel is a Sony music compilation of songs by American singer/songwriter Billy Joel. It was released on October 2, 2001, and has been certified Triple Platinum by the RIAA. In conjunction with the release of the album, The Essential Video Collection was released, comprising Joel's most popular music videos.
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