Massive waves of Funk and infectious grooves and slathered with scrumptious slide guitar
The Stranger is the fifth studio album by American singer-songwriter Billy Joel, released on September 29, 1977, by Columbia Records. While his four previous albums had been moderately successful, The Stranger became Joel's true critical and commercial breakthrough, spending six weeks at #2 on the U.S. album charts. Considered his magnum opus, it remains his best-selling non-compilation album to date, and was ranked number 70 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
This is a little-known and rather melancholy set, virtually Billy Strayhorn's only recording away from the world of Duke Ellington. The focus is totally on Strayhorn's piano throughout his interpretations of ten of his compositions (including "Lush Life," "Take the 'A' Train," and "Something to Live For"). Three selections have the Paris Blue Notes adding sparse wordless vocals, two other numbers add some quiet playing by the Paris String Quartet, and bassist Michel Goudret is on five of the ten selections (including one apiece with the strings and the voices). "Strange Feeling" and "Chelsea Bridge" are taken as unaccompanied piano solos. Of the ten songs, only "Just A-Sittin' and A-Rockin'" hints at happiness; otherwise, Strayhorn's melodic and concise playing is quite somber, peaceful in volume but filled with inner tension.
By 1990's aptly named Charmed Life, Billy Idol was seemingly more well-known for his excessive lifestyle than his creative zenith of a few years prior. This made his channeling of Jim Morrison on a rowdy cover of "LA Woman" even more apt. He had done so before, of course, most memorably on 1986's Whiplash Smile…