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Billy Joel: The Studio Albums

Below are the studio albums released by Billy Joel from his debut as a solo artist in 1971 until his final pop album in 1993.

  1. Cold Spring Harbor (1971)
  2. Piano Man (1973)
  3. Streetlife Serenade (1974)
  4. Turnstiles (1976)
  5. The Stranger (1977)
  6. 52nd Street (1978)
  7. Glass Houses (1980)
  8. The Nylon Curtain (1982)
  9. An Innocent Man (1983)
  10. The Bridge (1986)
  11. Storm Front (1989)
  12. River of Dreams (1993)

Billy Joel’s DMDB page

Also check out Billy Joel’s DMDB page!

Cold Spring Harbor 3.207 stars out of 7 ratings
Released: 11/71 Peak: US chart peak, according to Billboard magazine 158 UK chart peak -- Sales: sales, in millions, in the U.S. as certified by the RIAA -- sales, in millions, in the U.K. as certified by BPI -- estimated world sales in millions --

Tracks: 1. She’s Got a Way 2. You Can Make Me Free 3. Everybody Loves You Now 4. Why Judy Why 5. Falling of the Rain 6. Turn Around 7. You Look So Good to Me 8. Tomorrow Is Today 9. Nocturne 10. Got to Begin Again

Review: “After flop albums with the Hassles and Attila, Joel struck out on his own with this one, which bombed so badly that he fled the East Coast for California (and, as Bill Martin, hit the piano-lounge circuit, inspiring ‘Piano Man’). It wasn’t just that ‘stache on the cover that caused failure; blame an overabundance of simpy ballads in which his pugnacious appeal was buried in lyrics about ‘misty satin dreams’ and too many references to crying” – David Browne, Blender magazine (6/07), pp. 114-5.

Piano Man 3.417 stars out of 10 ratings
Released: 11/73 Peak: US chart peak, according to Billboard magazine 27 UK chart peak -- Sales: sales, in millions, in the U.S. as certified by the RIAA 4.0 sales, in millions, in the U.K. as certified by BPI -- estimated world sales in millions 4.0

Tracks: 1. Travelin’ Prayer 2. Piano Man 3. Ain’t No Crime 4. You’re My Home 5. The Ballad of Billy the Kid 6. Worse Comes to Worst 7. Stop in Nevada 8. If I Only Had the Words to Tell You 9. Somewhere Along the Line 10. Captain Jack

Review: “Never mind Movin’ Out – Twyla Tharp should make a Broadway musical out of Joel’s second album, in which a scrappy Long Islander goes West, meets banjo players and decides he wants to be rock’s equivalent of Aaron Copland. Self-mythology and left-field country-rock licks run rampant – The Ballad of Billy the Kid isn’t just about the outlaw – but other than Elton John, no one else at the time merged such playful grandiosity with so many hooks” – David Browne, Blender magazine (6/07), pp. 114-5.

Streetlife Serenade 3.254 stars out of 7 ratings
Released: 10/74 Peak: US chart peak, according to Billboard magazine 35 UK chart peak -- Sales: sales, in millions, in the U.S. as certified by the RIAA 1.0 sales, in millions, in the U.K. as certified by BPI -- estimated world sales in millions 1.0

Tracks: 1. Streetlife Serenade 2. Los Angelenos 3. The Great Suburban Showdown 4. Root Beer Rag (instrumental) 5. Roberta 6. The Entertainer 7. Last of the Big Time Spenders 8. Weekend Song 9. Souvenir 10. The Mexican Connection (instrumental)

Review: “Joel’s ruminations on suburban malaise – and, in The Entertainer, the life of the star he had yet to become – are at their most overblown. He rocked an electric piano on the vigorous Los Angelenos, but the presence of two instrumentals screamed, ‘Right – I didn’t have time to write songs for my new album” – David Browne, Blender magazine (6/07), pp. 114-5.

Turnstiles 3.760 stars out of 11 ratings
Released: 5/76 Peak: US chart peak, according to Billboard magazine 122 UK chart peak -- Sales: sales, in millions, in the U.S. as certified by the RIAA 1.0 sales, in millions, in the U.K. as certified by BPI -- estimated world sales in millions 1.0

Tracks: 1. Say Goodbye to Hollywood 2. Summer, Highland Falls 3. All You Wanna Do Is Dance 4. New York State of Mind 5. James 6. Prelude/Angry Young Man 7. I’ve Loved These Days 8. Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)

Review: “For all his seemingly natural pop instincts, it took Joel almost a decade to fin his voice – which he finally did on his fourth album, a commercial flop. His singing and songwriting felt supple and relaxed, balancing uban sophistication and suburban gruffness, beauty and bravura, in ways that would often escape him later. Tender concessions to impending adulthood (James, I’ve Loved These Days) were countered by the apocalyptical New York science-fiction of Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway), and his Phil Spector homage felt utterly natural. In this context, it’s even possible to tolerate New York State of Mind one more time” – David Browne, Blender magazine (6/07), pp. 114-5.

The Stranger 4.429 stars out of 12 ratings
Released: 9/77 Peak: US chart peak, according to Billboard magazine 2 UK chart peak 25 Sales: sales, in millions, in the U.S. as certified by the RIAA 10.0 sales, in millions, in the U.K. as certified by BPI 0.1 estimated world sales in millions 10.1

Tracks: 1. Movin’ Out 2. The Stranger 3. Just the Way You Are 4. Scenes from an Italian Restaurant 5. Vienna 6. Only the Good Die Young 7. She’s Always a Woman 8. Get It Right the First Time 9. Everybody Has a Dream 10. The Stranger (reprise)

Review: “For better and sometimes worse, Joel’s early albums were stylistic hodgepodges. But this was his most cohesive – and pumped up – record. With producer Phil Ramond grabbing the reigns for the first of many Joel albums, the music swung with brash confidence as Joel pined for the old days and got me-so-horny over Catholic girls named Virginia. He almost dropped Just the Way You Are from the album – ‘Ehh, that’s a chick song,’ he shrugged – but it gave him his first Top 5 hit and propelled more than 10 million people to buy the album” – David Browne, Blender magazine (6/07), pp. 114-5.

See DMDB page.

52nd Street 3.701 stars out of 18 ratings
Released: 10/78 Peak: US chart peak, according to Billboard magazine 1 8 UK chart peak 10 Sales: sales, in millions, in the U.S. as certified by the RIAA 7.0 sales, in millions, in the U.K. as certified by BPI 0.1 estimated world sales in millions 7.1

Tracks: 1. Big Shot 2. Honesty 3. My Life 4. Zanzibar 5. Stiletto 6. Rosalinda’s Eyes 7. Half a Mile Away 8. Until the Night 9. 52nd Street

Review: “Fame can be a bitch, and so were, apparently, many of the people around Joel after The Stranger made him a star. Sounding paranoid and defensive, even on a bouncy trifle like My Life, he slid from tough to boorish as he sang about betrayal, hangovers, name-dropping cokeheads and affairs with waitresses. Luckily, he offset those traits with punching-bag rockers and sublime, Broadway-worthy ballads. The result: his only Album of the Year Grammy” – David Browne, Blender magazine (6/07), pp. 114-5.

See DMDB page.

Glass Houses 3.607 stars out of 11 ratings
Released: 3/80 Peak: US chart peak, according to Billboard magazine 1 6 UK chart peak 9 Sales: sales, in millions, in the U.S. as certified by the RIAA 7.0 sales, in millions, in the U.K. as certified by BPI 0.1 estimated world sales in millions 7.1

Tracks: 1. You May Be Right 2. Sometimes a Fantasy 3. Don’t Ask Me Why 4. It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me 5. All for Leyna 6. I Don’t Want to Be Alone 7. Sleeping with the Television On 8. C’Etait Toi (You Were the One) 9. Close to the Borderline 10. Through the Long Night

Review: “Plenty of panicked mainstream rock stars were trying to ‘go New Wave’ at the time. Thanks to his innate brattiness and gift for stylistic wandering, Joel was able to pull it off better than just about anyone; the snarl of the motorcycle-riding You May Be Right and Cars-imitating It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me came naturally to him. Just skip past the creaky boogie rock and wan French crooning” – David Browne, Blender magazine (6/07), pp. 114-5.

See DMDB page.

The Nylon Curtain 3.519 stars out of 10 ratings
Released: 9/82 Peak: US chart peak, according to Billboard magazine 7 UK chart peak 27 Sales: sales, in millions, in the U.S. as certified by the RIAA 2.0 sales, in millions, in the U.K. as certified by BPI -- estimated world sales in millions 2.0

Tracks: 1. Allentown 2. Laura 3. Pressure 4. Goodnight Saigon 5. She’s Right on Time 6. A Room of Our Own 7. Surprises 8. Scandinavian Skies 9. Where’s the Orchestra?

Review: “His faux-New Wave period behind him, Joel decided it was time to be taken seriously as an artist, which was his first mistake. He scored with brooding, well-intentioned odes to Vietnam and Rust Belt unemployment. But the Beatlesque art-pop that lords over the album was strained and overly stylized; Lennon and McCartney should never sound this labored. And be wary of any Billy Joel album with a song called Scandinavian Skies” – David Browne, Blender magazine (6/07), pp. 114-5.

An Innocent Man 3.680 stars out of 11 ratings
Released: 8/83 Peak: US chart peak, according to Billboard magazine 4 UK chart peak 2 Sales: sales, in millions, in the U.S. as certified by the RIAA 7.0 sales, in millions, in the U.K. as certified by BPI 0.9 estimated world sales in millions 7.9

Tracks: 1. Easy Money 2. An Innocent Man 3. The Longest Time 4. This Night 5. Tell Her about It 6. Uptown Girl 7. Careless Talk 8. Christie Lee 9. Leave a Tender Moment Alone 10. Keeping the Faith

Review: “His Christie Brinkley State of Mind album (he had recently begun dating the supermodel), this collection of barefaced salutes to Otis Redding, Frankie Valli and ‘Stand by Me’ was unabashedly corny in its re-creation of ‘50s pop and ‘60s R&B. Even if he threw his good fortune in our faces with Christie Lee, there was no denying the exuberance and joy in what he called his ‘valentine’ to his second (but not last) wife” – David Browne, Blender magazine (6/07), pp. 114-5.

The Bridge 3.046 stars out of 10 ratings
Released: 7/86 Peak: US chart peak, according to Billboard magazine 7 UK chart peak 38 Sales: sales, in millions, in the U.S. as certified by the RIAA 2.0 sales, in millions, in the U.K. as certified by BPI -- estimated world sales in millions 2.0

Tracks: 1. Running on Ice 2. This Is the Time 3. A Matter of Trust 4. Modern Woman 5. Baby Grand (with Ray Charles) 6. Big Man on Mulberry Street 7. Temptation 8. Code of Silence 9. Getting Closer

Review:This Is the Time was one of Joel’s most touching and modern songs: his ‘Boys of Summer,’ complete with similar life-is-fleeting sentiments. The rest is flabby, hammy R&B. Even Ray Charles couldn’t salvage a mawkish ode to Joel’s piano” * – David Browne, Blender magazine (6/07), pp. 114-5.

* Note: Davesmusicdatabase.com completely disagrees with this assessment of Baby Grand. This duet with Ray Charles ranks up their with Joel’s best work.

Storm Front 3.167 stars out of 11 ratings
Released: 10/89 Peak: US chart peak, according to Billboard magazine 1 1 UK chart peak 5 Sales: sales, in millions, in the U.S. as certified by the RIAA 4.0 sales, in millions, in the U.K. as certified by BPI 0.3 estimated world sales in millions 4.3

Tracks: 1. That’s Not Her Style 2. We Didn’t Start the Fire 3. The Downeaster ‘Alexa’ 4. I Go to Extremes 5. Shameless 6. Storm Front 7. Leningrad 8. State of Grace 9. When in Rome 10. And So It Goes

Review: “With Mick Jones – the Foreigner fat cat, not the Clash founder – supplying big-rock pomp and power chords, Joel aimed squarely at the stadiums he was by then playing. But as he turned 50, he was so comfortable with bombast that the blowsy title song and the boomer-centric history lesson We Didn’t Start the Fire (his third and last No. 1) never felt forced. Luckily, he also didn’t forget his roots in story-songs and endearing schmaltz” – David Browne, Blender magazine (6/07), pp. 114-5.

River of Dreams 3.017 stars out of 11 ratings
Released: 8/8/93 Peak: US chart peak, according to Billboard magazine 1 3 UK chart peak 3 Sales: sales, in millions, in the U.S. as certified by the RIAA 5.0 sales, in millions, in the U.K. as certified by BPI 0.3 estimated world sales in millions 5.3

Tracks: 1. No Man’s Land 2. The Great Wall of China 3. Blonde Over Blue 4. A Minor Variation 5. Shades of Grey 6. All About Soul 7. Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel) 8. The River of Dreams 9. Two Thousand Years 10. Famous Last Words

Review: “His marriage in peril – he and Brinkley would divorce the following year – Joel sounded, not surprisingly, cranky and disillusioned on his final pop album. Out of the strife came a few highs (the doo-wop world beat of the title track and the rocking swipe at consumerist culture, No Man’s Land), along with plenty of grating lows (way too much white-soul grunting). In the enough-said department: a cameo by Color Me Badd” – David Browne, Blender magazine (6/07), pp. 114-5.

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This page last updated May 9, 2011.