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Cold Spring Harbor

Billy Joel

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Album Review

A few short months after abandoning the heavy organ-and-drums duo Attila — partially because their sole record flopped, partially because he stole the drummer's wife — Billy Joel reinvented himself as a sensitive singer/songwriter. He had shown signs of McCartney-esque songcraft on Hour of the Wolf, the last Hassles album, but his debut album, Cold Spring Harbor, is where these talents blossomed. The record was uneven but very charming, boasting two of his finest songs — the lovely "She's Got a Way" and the bitterly cynical "Everybody Loves You Now" — and a score of flawed but nicely crafted songs that illustrated Joel's gift for melody, as well as his pretensions (the mock-gospel in "Tomorrow Is Today," a classical stab entitled "Nocturne"). In its own way, Cold Spring Harbor was a minor gem of the sensitive singer/songwriter era; Joel may have been in his formative stages as a craftsman, but his talents are apparent, and he never made an album as intimate and vulnerable ever again. Ironically, it didn't sound right upon its original release. Through a bizarre mastering error, the tapes were sped up — legend has it that upon hearing the completed album, he ripped it off the turntable, ran out of the house, and threw it down the street. It wasn't until 1983 that Columbia released a corrected reissue. The speed wasn't the only thing changed — some songs were edited drastically ("You Can Make Me Free," one of the standouts, was chopped by nearly five minutes) and instruments and backing vocals were stripped away from numerous tracks. It may be a bastardization of the original release, but it's an acceptable one, since these changes only accentuate the intimacy and vulnerability of the recording.

Customer Reviews

This is great

In this album Billy Joel is at his best. The great lyrics on this album are accampanied by even better piano playing. It truly is a lost gem, just as fantastic as any other of his albums. It is a shame the record messed up the original version. Buy this! Buy this!

Outstanding!!

Billy was very young here but the talent is undeniable. its great to hear if you enjoy billys later music, because you can really hear the talent that was about to emerge in the years to come.

Fantastic

This is easily one of the best albums ever done. Billy Joel is a musical genius, and this album proves that. Music doesn't come like this anymore, in one word: beautiful.

Biography

Born: May 9, 1949 in New York, NY [The Bronx]

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although Billy Joel never was a critic's favorite, the pianist emerged as one of the most popular singer/songwriters of the latter half of the '70s. Joel's music consistently demonstrates an affection for Beatlesque hooks and a flair for Tin Pan Alley and Broadway melodies. His fusion of two distinct eras made him a superstar...
Full Bio

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