Why A New Billy Joel Studio Album Would Break All Sales Records

New Billy Joel Album Would Break All Records

Photo: Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com

If Billy Joel ever released another album, it’s pretty fair to says that no matter how strong or weak the record may be, it will instantly go to number one for so many reasons and break all sales records. Additionally, there is no doubt that a new Billy Joel album would hit number one before it was even released probably just on presales alone. A new Billy Joel album would not only go to number one on the Billboard Top 200 Albums charts, the adult Contemporary charts and various charts around the world, it would probably end up being the biggest selling album of all time. It’s really not a reach to make statements like this as there are many reasons behind why we believe that a  new Billy Joel album would achieve these milestones rather easily. Some people may argue that musical artists do not sell records like they used too. Well take a look at the sales that Adele and Taylor Swift have generated recently in actual vinyl and CD sales and one will see that it’s a matter of lack of major release than has played a role in declining sales instead of just the usual streaming arguments.

There are just a handful of artists in classic rock history that have always appealed to a wide gap of music fans. Bands and artists whose music generated fans from all age groups and cultures. Its started with Elvis Presley and then of course The Beatles became the most popular band in history to attract the widest audience ever. The 1960s generated a few more groups that were able to cut across audiences. Groups like the Beach Boys and the Rolling Stones just appealed to so many. However, in the 1970s more distinct lines were drawn between music fans as the genres of southern rock, progressive rock, pop, disco and many others generated their own fans bases, There were not as many artists that could cut across all genres of fans and age groups.

Elton John and Carole King were probably the first solo artists of the 1970 that generated the mass appeal in the same vein that the Beatles had. Everyone loved Elton John’s music. From his first US album and on, radio could not get enough of him. Of course look at the success of Carole King’s Tapestry album. The Tapestry album would become the biggest selling album of all time for a few years. Sure, she had already proved herself as a champion songwriter during her Brill Building days. The Tapestry album was just an album filled with songs that had already been hits for other artists, Yet, her own versions of the songs became so loved that the album sold like crazy.There was just a certain appeal to her and her music that crossed generation the same way the Beatles music had and the same way Elton John was generating a huge fan base.

Billy Joel’s first album (besides the ill fated Cold Spring Harbor which was mastered at the wrong speed) was released in 1973. The album contained the huge hit entitled “Piano Man.” While the song became universally loved it still had not turned Billy Joel into a major star like an Elton John or a Carole King. Billy Joel’s universal stardom was going to take some time. Billy Joel’s next two albums Streetlife Serenade in 1974 and Turnstiles in 1976 were both brilliant albums that continued to generate buzz that Billy Joel was going to be huge. Yet, he was still not there. Despite being on Columbia Records and releasing three extraordinary  albums, Billy Joel was still not yet a household name. That would all change a year after Turnstiles was released with Billy Joel’s next album.

In 1977, Billy Joel released his breakthrough album entitled The Stranger. All the hoopla surrounding Billy Joel’s potential to be a huge star from the previous four years finally came to light and then some …. by a far margin.  Billy Joel’s The Stranger album would become Columbia Records biggest selling album of all time. Very quickly everyone knew who Billy Joel was. The album spawned multiple big time hits that found an audience that crossed multiple age levels in similar fashion to what The Beatles had done and Elton John and Carole King had carried on.

The Stranger album was the real deal and it did not end there. Billy Joel followed up The Stranger album with 52nd Street a year later and continued to grow his wide audience. Glass Houses followed in 1980 with more hits. Billy Joel dug a little deeper in 1982 with the Nylon Curtain which was his tribute to the Beatles Sgt Pepper album, and yet the album still generated big hits. By the early 1980s, Billy Joel was one of the biggest stars in the world.

In 1989, Billy Joel released the album Storm Front. From that album came the song “We Didn’t Start The Fire,” that even Billy Joel probably didn’t realize would become as big as it did. A short American history lesson in four minutes, the song was so captivating and entertaining it wound up being embraced by elementary and middle school teachers who used the song in their classrooms. Billy Joel had always appealed to a large audience but now he was infiltrating the under twelve year old market. It would become a group of young kids that would become Billy Joel fans for the rest of their lives or at least knew who Billy Joel was and become bigger fans as they grew up.

In 1993, Billy Joel released the River Of Dreams album that once again had such a mass appeal with songs like the title track. Even in the middle of the grunge era, Billy Joel’s music had become so universally appealing his fan base had continued to grow across the globe. Standing in top of the world, Billy Joel looked around and said, okay, I’m done! He really meant it when he wrote in one of his songs on the River Of Dreams album ” these are the last words I’ll ever write.”

Billy Joel has not released a new studio album since 1993. That’s almost thirty years ago. Yet, try to get tickets for a Billy Joel concert in 2021 and you will find it’s not easy to do as he continues to sell out concerts. The man has not released a new album in almost thirty years and still has a fan base that will pay high prices to continue to hear the same songs that they have heard for fifty years. We could probably design an entire college course in what is going on there.  Oldies acts have always generated fans that will go to shows. Yet, Billy Joel seems to be on an entire different level.

Billy Joel has just announced that tickets will go on sale for his 80th show at Madison Square Garden in New York. He has sold out every single one of them. We were at the last one before the pandemic hit and it was like seeing a brand new artist from how exciting the band was. It was electrifying. The audience ate up every moment while wanting more. You looked around and you saw all ages of fans from eight to eighty. The man’s universal appeal has only grown over the years. All of this despite not having released any new material in 30 years.

With an audience still so dedicated to his music and new fans being generated every day by their parents and friends, it’s pretty obvious that if Billy Joel ever released a new album, not only will it go straight to number one, it will probably break all sales records ever held on the planet. Will it ever happen…….we all hope so!

Top 10   article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021

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