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…
Forget for a moment that this double-disc, 36-track collection isn't presented in strict chronological order – it does roughly divide into two parts, with the pre- Innocent Man material largely taking up disc one and the post-Innocent Man selections on disc two (yes, there are some exceptions to the rule, but it generally follows this rule).
With over 100 million albums sold in the course of a career now in its fourth decade, Billy Joel is one of the most beloved entertainers in the world. Now, for the first time on DVD, a comprehensive selection of Billy's innovative, visually compelling music videos have been brought together for The Ultimate Collection.
The Greatest Hits Volume III album includes hits from 1983 to 1997. Three previously unreleased studio tracks are included, "To Make You Feel My Love", "Hey Girl", and "Light as the Breeze". All three tracks are covers songs (a rare occurrence in his catalogue), and although "To Make You Feel My Love" and "Hey Girl" were recorded to be singles for this album, Joel originally recorded the song "Light as the Breeze" for a Leonard Cohen tribute album, Tower of Song, released in 1995. Chronologically, Greatest Hits Volume III overlaps slightly with Volume II, as the first two tracks, "Keeping the Faith" and "An Innocent Man", first appeared on his album An Innocent Man.
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.