Billy Joel | Streetlife Serenade (Columbia/Audio Fidelity)

cd billy-joelWith radio hits not far off, this album provided a good basis for his burgeoning career.




Limited Edition – Numbered

An underrated piece of work, Billy Joel’s third solo venture, Streetlife Serenade, was his second release for Columbia Records, and it has been given a breath of digital fresh air on this Hybrid Multichanned Super Audio CD. While the release failed to approach the success of its predecessor, Piano Man, it did spawn Joel’s rough relationship with the press and the entertainment industry, as evidenced in the lyrics to “The Entertainer”: “It was a beautiful song, but it ran too long./ If you’re gonna have a hit, you gotta make it fit/ so they cut it down to 3:05,” he sings, referring to his previous hit, “Piano Man.”

The album peaked at #35 on the charts, while the single “The Entertainer” peaked at #34 in the U.S., eventually selling more than one million copies worldwide. Two other songs from the album, “Los Angelenos” and the title track, would make their way onto Joel’s 1981 first live LP, Songs in the Attic.

While Streetlife Serenade did not achieve the success of his previous works, longtime fans feel this album to be an important one in the growth of the American singer/songwriter. Later hits may have made him an icon, but it is the earlier works of an artist that start the flow, and Joel’s sublime artistry is now made even better with the quad sound. (One must have a multi-channel CD player for best results.)

The short track “Souvenir” was often played as his show-closer during that era. Joel himself has always had a place live for some of the material here, and with radio hits not far off, this album provided a good basis for his burgeoning career. An underrated effort by a legendary songwriter. B | Marc Farr

About Marc Farr 244 Articles
Marc Farr is the Live Music & Assignments Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. He's so invaluable to us, we've nicknamed him Mr. Music. Reach out if you have coverage ideas! "I know it's only rock and roll...but I like it!"
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