Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Billy Joel Stops In Nevada (1973)

Hey vinyl lovers! Been a little busy lately, but I need to find time to keep updating this blog. Also, I haven't yet decided when to start posting some great vintage Christmas tunes. Let me know when you think I should start.

Anyway, for the last week I have been stuck in Reno, Nevada for work. I decided it would be fun to try and find a Reno-themed tune for today. The first song that popped into my head was "All The Way To Reno" by R.E.M.--but that song appeared on their 2001 album "Reveal" therefore making it too new to qualify for my vinyl music blog.

Looking broader I thought of some great Vegas tunes like Elvis Presley's "Viva Las Vegas" from 1963 or The B-52's "Queen of Las Vegas" from 1983. But overall Vegas-themed songs seem overly glossy compared to my life this last week in Reno.

I finally settled on the lesser-known track "Stop In Nevada" from the great singer-songwriter Billy Joel.

What can one say about Billy Joel? His music has now expanded over four decades, with hit songs in a multitude of musical styles (even classical!).

It's hard to pick a favorite Billy Joel era. I love the emotion in the songwriting from his 70's albums, but the layered musical stylings of his 80's albums are also terrific.

Today's track comes off of Billy Joel's landmark album "Piano Man" from 1973. Most people consider it his debut album, although technically it was his second record. A lot of the album has a slight country flavor, leading many to compare it to similar county-rock hybrid albums that Elton John (the other piano man) was releasing around the same time.

Other than the title track and perhaps "Captain Jack" most people are unfamiliar with these early songs. The 'Piano Man' album contains some of these great lesser-known tracks like "You're My Home", "The Ballad of Billy The Kid", and today's track.

For vinyl buffs, the 'Piano Man' record has a fun label, not labeling the sides with the traditional "Side 1" and "Side 2". Instead the sides are simply called "One Side" and "Another Side". Now that's the funny stuff that record collectors love!

So click the link to see if you can spend some time in Nevada with both me and Billy Joel.