Song of the Day #4,283: ‘Keeping the Faith’ – Billy Joel

An Innocent Man, Billy Joel’s tribute to the R&P, soul and doo wop music of his youth, is my #7 album of 1983.

A Innocent Man was Joel’s follow-up to the excellent, but under-performing (by his standards), The Nylon Curtain. While Nylon went “only” double-Platinum, this album went 7x Platinum and ties with 52nd Street and Glass Houses as his second most successful album, behind the Diamond-level The Stranger.

Yes, Billy Joel was a freaking juggernaut.

This album is a ton of fun, with Joel’s affection for each of these musical styles fully evident in the performance and production — from the lighthearted ‘Uptown Girl,’ ‘Tell Her About It’ and ‘The Longest Time’ to the deeper ‘An Innocent Man’ and ‘Leave a Tender Moment Alone.’

Final track ‘Keeping the Faith’ is a favorite of mine, and serves as a nice summation of the whole project. After admitting that he’s been “lost in let’s remember,” Joel shifts his attention back to the present: “You can get just so much from a good thing / You can linger too long in your dreams / Say goodbye to the oldies but goodies / Because the good ole days weren’t always good / And tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.”

Given the news of late, I sure hope tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.

If it seems like I’ve been lost
In let’s remember
If you think I’m feeling older
And missing my younger days
Oh, then you should have known me much better
‘Cause my past is something that never
Got in my way, oh no

Still I would not be here now
If I never had the hunger
And I’m not ashamed to say
The wild boys were my friends
Oh, ’cause I never felt the desire
Until their music set me on fire
And then I was saved, yeah
That’s why I’m keeping the faith

[Chorus]
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Keeping the faith

We wore matador boots
Only Flagg Brothers had them with a Cuban heel
Iridescent socks with the same color shirt
And a tight pair of chinos
Oh, I put on my shark skin jacket
You know the kind with the velvet collar
And ditty-bop shades, oh yeah

I took a fresh pack of Luckies
And a mint called Sen-Sen
My old man’s Trojans
And his Old Spice after shave
Oh, combed my hair in a pompadour
Like the rest of the Romeos wore
A permanent wave, Yeah
We were keeping the faith

[Chorus]

You can get just so much
From a good thing
You can linger too long
In your dreams
Say goodbye to the
Oldies but goodies
Because the good ole days weren’t
Always good
And tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems

Learned stickball as a formal education
Lost a lot of fights
But it taught me how to lose O.K
Oh, I heard about sex
But not enough
I found you could dance
And still look tough anyway
Oh, yes I did

I found out a man ain’t just being macho
Ate an awful lot of late night drive-in food
Drank a lot of take home pay
I thought I was the Duke of Earl
When I made it with a red-haired girl
In a Chevrolet, oh yeah
We were keeping the faith

[Instrumental]

You know the good ole days weren’t always good
And tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems

I told you my reasons
For the whole revival
Now I’m going outside to have
An ice cold beer in the shade
Oh, I’m going to listen to my 45’s
Ain’t it wonderful to be alive
When the rock ‘n’ roll plays, yeah
When the memory stays, yeah
I’m keeping the faith

[Chorus]

6 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,283: ‘Keeping the Faith’ – Billy Joel

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Ah, an Innocent Man!

    This album was released at the apex of my fandom for Billy Joel. I remember like it was yesterday going to see the movie “Easy Money” just to hear that song before it was put on the album. I remember waiting for the MTV debut of “Tell Her About It.” I remember going to Vibrations Records to buy the record on vinyl. I remember listening to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 to hear where the hits from the album fell on the countdown and being particularly thrilled when “Uptown Girl” climbed to number 3 (and annoyed when it didn’t make it to No. 1).

    I remember blasting (as best my crappy speakers could) “Uptown Girl” in my first car, a brown 1977 Datsun B-210, while parked in front of North Miami Jr. High waiting to pick up my then girlfriend after school. And I also remember going to England over the summer seeing huge posters promoting the album and ads for Billy Joel playing Wembley Stadium, hearing “Leave a Tender Moment Alone” on British radio and being struck for the first time just how big of an international artist Joel was.

    I was so obsessed with Joel and this album that, in addition to buying the record, cassette and CD, I bought the 45s because they had different versions of the hits – a dance mix of “Tell Her About It” and an extended version of “Keeping the Faith.”

    Of course, it probably never occurred to my 16 year old self listening to Joel wax nostalgic about the music of his youth from the 50’s and 60’s that I would someday be 15 years older than he was when he released this album thinking back to the music of the 70’s and 80’s that comprised the soundtrack of my youth, including, of course, this record.

    Anyway, I’m with you hoping that “tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.” Let’s keep keeping the faith!

    • Amy says:

      Wow… I don’t think I ever knew how deep the fandom went. For you to buy the 45 versions of an album you already had in three formats…. no wonder you never complained too loudly when we went to buy the newest Taylor Swift album in person because it wouldn’t drop on Apple Music for another several days. 😉

  2. The Cool Guy (Daniel) says:

    I’m not sure how much DNA factors into music tastes. I also was exposed to Billy Joel’s music from a very young age either blasting through the car’s speakers or being expertly covered by my dad on the piano. I guess with both of these factors it only makes sense that when I drove up to Gainesville at what I thought would be start of my full second semester, I listened exclusively to Billy Joel for the whole 5 hours.

    Jumping from The Stranger to An Innocent Man to Glass Houses and so on when I arrived I was able to say without a doubt that he is my favorite artist. Perhaps I’m still riding that wave of that drive where “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” crescendoed as the sun was setting which is probably one of my favorite experiences with music of all time, but that was a couple months ago and I haven’t changed my verdict since!

    This song is probably my favorite Billy Joel song. Whenever I listen to An Innocent Man and this is the last track I always hit the back button right before it ends and usually listen to it three times in a row. It might be the coming of age aspect to it that resonates with me or the sense of independence he feels as I’m in my first year of college, but I belt out every note and resonate with every lyric. I hadn’t thought about in the context of this situation, but this was a helpful reminder to keep the faith here too!

    Maybe an album ranking of Joel’s records is in order soon!

  3. Peg says:

    I love Billy Joel and his music is definitely among my favorites. Enjoyed the comments today ❤️❤️Let’s hope things will return to normal soon 🤞

  4. Amy says:

    Wow… I don’t think I ever knew how deep the fandom went. For you to buy the 45 versions of an album you already had in three formats…. no wonder you never complained too loudly when we went to buy the newest Taylor Swift album in person because it wouldn’t drop on Apple Music for another several days. 😉

  5. Amy says:

    Other than the memorable video for “Pressure,” it was this album where I first started noting music videos for Joel’s music, which made them belong to me as much as my parents. Before then, Billy Joel was played on my parents reel to reel, and, while I loved “Zanzibar,” “Rosalinda’s Eyes,” and “The Stranger,” I thought of them as my parents’ songs. It was with An Innocent Man, that Billy Joel became my artist, too. As Dana recollects, I, too, can remember watching the video for “Uptown Girl” over and over, enamored with not only the song but the sweet love story of Joel and Christie Brinkley. I remember vacationing in Maine that summer and learning that we were following the footsteps of a honeymooning (or vacationing?) Joel and Brinkley who had gone on the same tour we were taking… it was all quite exciting. 🙂

    It’s pretty damn impressive that the adult married man who wrote these lyrics in ’83 was able to connect with my 16 year old self then and my son’s 19 year old self in 2020.

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