From the Vault...


Billy Joel
"Cold Spring Harbor"

© Columbia Records

Year of Release: 1972

track listing
  • She's Got A Way
  • You Can Make Me Free
  • Everybody Loves You Now
  • Why Judy Why
  • Falling Of The Rain
  • Turn Around
  • You Look So Good To Me
  • Tomorrow Is Today
  • Nocturne
  • Got To Begin Again

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    Billy Joel
    "Cold Spring Harbor"

    Billy Joel protrayed himself as a premiere piano player in his very early years. His debut album in 1972, Cold Spring Harbor, showcases his expert piano playing, as it displays a particular kind of music (classical) which he would focus on this type of music 25 years later. It just didn't seem at the time that his kind of piano playing would relate to classical, it just reminded us of the lone player in a smoke-filled bar room, collecting tips for playing some beautiful sounding tunes from the piano, naming Billy Joel the Piano Man in his early years.

    "She's Got A Way" is a very touching song, with its loving lyrics, and it features Billy Joel on vocals with only his piano. It is probably the only song on this album that most Billy Joel fans may remember right away. "You Can Make Me Free" starts out with just vocals and piano, then kicks in with the band. However, his vocals are just a trend high, and some of these high notes seem to struggle in Joel's vocal range.

    "Everybody Loves You Now" features a ragtime piano style. "Why Judy Why" is another touching ballad, as it features the accoustic guitar and vocals. "Falling Of The Rain" returns the piano playing, as it has a more classical (in a fast tempo) than ragtime style.

    "Turn Around" has an early Elton John style. "You Look So Good To Me" has a nice, bouncy pop beat. "Tomorrow Is Today" is another ballad in the style of "She's Got A Way" and "Why Judy Why".

    "Nocturne" is a very, very beautiful classical music instrumental, and we can easily see why there aren't any vocals in this song. It doesn't need any, as 25 years later, Billy Joel is now concentrating on this particular style of music. And in looking at the liner notes, all of the songs on this album were written solely by Billy Joel.

    The album closes with "Got To Begin Again", and again, it is in the same musical style as the previous ballads, like "She's Got A Way".

    The touching ballads are the ones that stand out the most on Cold Spring Harbor, as it focuses a promising star (at that time), writing love songs and especially featuring his piano style playing. Another artist in that same time in music was another promising piano player by the name of Elton John.

    Both Elton John and Billy Joel had one thing in common when they first started out in their early years: They both wrote (well, in EJ's case, co-wrote) songs in a beautiful ballad style, that would interest anyone's love for this kind of music. And they both went on to write songs in the pop/rock style, and continue writing more ballads.

    Billy Joel's Piano Man comes to mind in comparing Cold Spring Harbor, likewise the early works of Elton John. If this is the kind of music that inspires and entertains you, then Cold Spring Harbor is an album that will surely get some "airplay" on either your CD and/or cassette machines.

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    Previous Review: #636
    Barbara Mandrell--Greatest Hits
    Next Review: #638
    Rick Springfield--Tao