Greatest Hits Volumes 1 & 2 (1985)

Disc One 1. Piano Man 2. Captain Jack 3. The Entertainer 4. Say Goodbye to Hollywood 5. New York State of Mind 6. The Stranger 7. Scenes From an Italian Restaurant 8. Just the Way You Are 9. Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) 10.Only the Good Die Young 11.She's Always a Woman Disc Two 1. My Life 2. Big Shot 3. You May Be Right 4. It's Still Rock and Roll To Me 5. Don't Ask Me Why 6. She's Got a Way 7. Pressure 8. Allentown 9. Goodnight Saigon 10.Tell Her About It 11.Uptown Girl 12.The Longest Time 13.You're Only Human (Second Wind) 14.While the Night is Still Young


This really isn't so much of a review as it is a rant. I really felt ripped off by this one. This is something that could have been a thing of beauty, but was purposely botched that left me feeling cold and angry.

First, though, the positives: It seemed obvious that Joel needed a Greatest Hits package at this stage of his career and it didn't bother anyone that it was stretched to a double album. I mean, it was a necessity to have a double record. Joel simply had too many hits at this stage to try to cram them all onto one record.

Then, another decision was made that since the compact disc was just being introduced to the record buying public, why not tack on some extra songs for that particular format since they could accommodate more music? O.K., you might have felt a little gypped if you owned the actual vinyl record album, but moves like this weren't all that uncommon during this time. Many artists were already tacking on extra songs onto cassettes for the same reason. So this was o.k. as well.

What is completely unforgivable is that several of the songs here are butchered by several minutes from their original versions due to, what I guess were time restrictions. I mean, wasn't this the guy who complained about radio doing this to his music on his song The Entertainer?? So why is he doing the same thing here? O.K., you could argue that the cuts to Say Goodbye To Hollywood and My Life don't affect the music that much. He just takes a couple of snips here and there. But when you cut entire verses including over 90 seconds to such classics as Just the Way You Are and Pressure, you can't honestly expect anyone to feel satisified. These two songs were butchered so badly, you don't even feel like you're listening to the song at all, but rather a commercial for the song. Also, if you're going to backstab the record buying public with this tactic, you might want to also modify the lyrics in the album package to reflect the hacking and cutting. At least this way you can fool some of the people.

I think this was my first Billy Joel album, so it wasn't like I could put on other albums if I wanted to hear the proper recording of those particular butchered songs. This one still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Now, you might argue that album limitations forced some of the songs to be shaved, but then why weren't they restored on the CD format? Especially when you took it upon yourself to add more songs to the compact disc?? Fortunately, these issues were fixed on The Complete Hits Collection which copied this album song for song along with future hits. This makes a good argument why no one should ever ever buy this record again. Ever.

O.K. Rant done.

PS: There are two new songs. They're pretty good. Not enough to justify the above sins, but.....

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