Billy Joel - Piano Man (1973). Embittered by legal disputes with his label and an endless tour to support a debut that was dead in the water, Billy Joel hunkered down in his adopted hometown of Los Angeles, spending six months as a lounge singer at a club. He didn't abandon his dreams - he continued to write songs, including "Piano Man," a fictionalized account of his weeks as a lounge singer. Through a combination of touring and constant hustling, he landed a contract with Columbia and recorded his second album in 1973. Clearly inspired by Elton John's Tumbleweed Connection, not only musically but lyrically, as well as James Taylor, Joel expands the vision and sound of Cold Spring Harbor, abandoning introspective numbers (apart from "You're My Home," a love letter to his wife) for character sketches and epics…
Piano Man Experience is a concept show of the greatest songs that have marked history. The greatest hits of Elton John, Billy Joel, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles, Michael McDonald, Jamie Cullum, Claude Leveill, Michel Legrand. Also, the greatest songs ever written on the piano from the Beatles to Richard Marx, including Marc Cohn, Sarah MacLachlan, Stevie Wonder and many others.
BGO's 2015 two-fer pairs two mid-'70s albums from Jerry Lee Lewis – 1974's I-40 Country and 1975's Odd Man In – on a single CD. Jerry Lee Lewis didn't get much of a boost out of his 1973 return to rock & roll – a revival arriving on two separate LPs, one recorded in England (The Session) and one back home (Southern Roots) – so he slid back to country, scoring a hit with "Sometimes a Memory Ain't Enough" from the album of the same name. I-40 Country arrived a year later, easing into stores in 1974 under the guise of a truck-driving country LP. While these 11 songs do sound good on the open road, none of them are about big rigs or highways, nor do they roll along to a Bakersfield beat. No, they're straight-ahead barroom weepers punctuated by the very occasional novelty – so occasional, it doesn't extend beyond "Alcohol of Fame."
Although it's missing a few important (not to mention big) hits, Greatest Hits, Vols. 1 & 2 is an excellent retrospective of the first half of Billy Joel's career. Beginning with "Piano Man," the first disc runs through a number of early songs before arriving at the hit-making days of the late '70s; some of these songs, including "Captain Jack" and "New York State of Mind," weren't strictly hits, but were popular numbers within his stage show and became radio hits. Once the songs from The Stranger arrive halfway through the first disc, there's no stopping the hits (although "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant," an album track from The Stranger, manages its way onto the collection). In fact, over the next disc and a half, there's so many hits, it's inevitable that some are left off – to be specific, "Honesty," "Sometimes a Fantasy," "An Innocent Man," "Leave a Tender Moment," and "Keeping the Faith" aren't included.