Continuing the chronological presentation of my 25 favorite songs…
‘Vienna’ – Billy Joel (1977)
Billy Joel’s The Stranger came out the same year as Rumours, a fact that doesn’t quite compute in my head. I think of Joel’s album as coming much later for some reason. That’s two all-time great albums in a single year. I look forward to seeing what else 1977 had to offer when I get there in my Decade series.
Four years contributed two songs to my list of 25 favorites, one each in the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s.
You never know what your kids will latch on to.
A few weeks back, we had a family movie night and watched 13 Going On 30, an under seen and underrated 2004 film. It’s a “young kid in a grown-up body” movie starring Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo, and in my opinion the best of its genre, topping even Tom Hanks’ Big.
Billy Joel’s ‘Vienna’ is a song that I tend to forget when compiling lists like this one.
But when I listen to it again, it feels like the only song in the world I’ll ever need.
It’s so beautifully written and performed, so expertly produced by Phil Ramone, and its message is so simple and profound. It’s truly perfect.
In the words of Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights, “This is it. This is the one they’ll remember me for.” Of course he was talking about a porn film, but I imagine Billy Joel feels the same way about his 1977 classic The Stranger.
The album contains only nine songs but just about every one is a classic. The first seven are undeniably so: ‘Movin’ Out,’ ‘The Stranger,’ ‘Just the Way You Are,’ ‘Scenes From and Italian Restaurant,’ Vienna,’ ‘Only the Good Die Young’ and ‘She’s Always a Woman.’ But the less ubiquitous final two tracks — ‘Get it Right the First Time’ and ‘Everybody Has a Dream’ — are just as strong.