Billy Joel’s “Songs in the Attic”: Music review

This 1981 live album captures Billy Joel at a moment in his career when he was just breaking through into massive stardom and fame with a tight band behind him. The album features tracks from 1971’s “Cold Spring Harbour,” 1973’s “Piano Man,” 1974’s “Streetlife Serenade,” and 1976’s “Turnstiles,” four albums which perhaps hadn’t seen huge recognition along the same lines as 1977’s “The Stranger.” Already two albums down the road from “The Stranger” by the time of release (1978’s “52nd Street” and 1980’s “Glass Houses”), not only did Joel introduce old songs to new audiences with “Songs in the Attic,” he produced arguably much better versions of many of those songs, in some cases the definitive versions.
The wistful but powerful “Summer, Highland Falls” and “I’ve Loved These Days” are timeless and epic pieces of songwriting. My personal favorite moment on the album is the break in “Los Angelinos” where the band falls out and the organ plays solo for a moment before the guitar leads the rest of the band back in. It’s a priceless live moment and it sounds pretty damn good on vinyl, let me tell you.


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