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.
Joel followed up Nylon Curtain with one of his best-selling albums, the 50s flavored An Innocent Man. This is one of his slightest albums, most likely by design. The doo-wop ear candy of ‘The Longest Time’ and the cornball ‘Uptown Girl’ are about an inch deep, inspired by similar songs Joel loved as a kid.
But the album contains a few more meaningful gems, including the nostalgic ‘Keeping the Faith,’ the Beethoven-sampling ‘This Night’ and the excellent title tune. Joel was in fine voice on this album, as evidenced by the fact that he could actually hit the notes in the chorus of ‘An Innocent Man,’ a task he had to delegate to a backup singer on later tours.