KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

LIVING IN A GLASS HOUSE – You May Be Right, I May Be Crazy

Thirty-nine years ago on this date, March 12, 1980, Billy Joel released his 7th studio album, Glass Houses. Although I already liked some of his music and constantly heard all of his hits from the previous few years on the radio, this was the first Billy Joel album I owned, and it has held a special place in my heart ever since. 1980 was a particularly pivotal year for me, as I reached the age of 14, entered high school,  attended my first concert, lost my drumming hero (Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham) and fell in love with dozens of albums released throughout the year. Glass Houses remains at or near the top of my list of favorites from 1980.

Back in 2016 my wife and I moved into our new house, the selling point of which was the “wall of windows” overlooking the wooded lot and seasonal lake view. The following year we completed a whole-house renovation that included some structural adjustments to that wall, which now closely resembled the house pictured on the Glass Houses album cover. Needless to say, I had to attempt a recreation of that photo, as you’ll see below. It’s not a perfect match but, thanks to my wife’s photography skills, I think we captured the essence of that iconic image.

 

One day I hope to write about this album and all of those wonderful records I fell in love with in 1980, so I’ll only offer a brief summary here. This was his second consecutive #1 album, following 1978’s 52nd Street, and third consecutive multi-platinum album. It featured four singles that were released in the United States: “You May Be Right,” “Don’t Ask Me Why,” “Sometimes A Fantasy” and his first chart-topper, “It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me.” He also had a Top 40 hit with “All For Leyna” in the U.K. which probably would have been a hit in his home country had it been released as a single here.

I’ve previously discussed my love of Billy Joel’s music in posts about The Stranger (1977) and The Bridge (1986). As great a songwriter, singer & musician as he is, all of the records I love in his discography would not have been the classics that they are without his core band of musicians, especially guitarists Russell Javors & David Brown, saxophonist Richie Cannata, bassist Doug Stegmeyer and one of my biggest drumming influences, Liberty DeVitto. Everyone knows the hits from Glass Houses, so here are a couple of songs that should have been hits (the aforementioned “All For Leyna” and “Sleeping With The Television On”) as well as the awesome punk/new wave-inspired “Close To The Borderline.”

Does this seem like a silly topic for a blog post? If your answer is “yes,” well…you may be right, I may be crazy.

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21 comments on “LIVING IN A GLASS HOUSE – You May Be Right, I May Be Crazy

  1. 80smetalman
    March 12, 2019

    “Glass Houses” is my favourite Billy Joel album.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. deKE
    March 12, 2019

    That is a great picture Rich..Love it! You even are wearing Joel’s 1980 swag. This is a great album and still tot his day the only Joel album I have ever owned…
    So good!
    Once again awesome pic did u let let go of the rock!

    Like

    • Thanks, Derek. I tried to mimic the look of the album cover as closely as possible. Would have been nice to capture my reflection in the windows but we just couldn’t do it. Hard to believe this is the only Billy Joel album you own. At the very least you should have a nice career-spanning anthology.

      Liked by 1 person

    • As for the rock, yes I did let go. After the money we spent on the renovations, and the work that went into that wall of windows, I was not going to follow through with that rock toss. I think my wife was a bit nervous when I picked it up, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. mikeladano
    March 12, 2019

    Really nice Rich! I love this modern way of reproducing or expanding on album art! This is great!

    Like

    • Thanks, Mike. As soon as my wife & I walked into the house for the first time I envisioned myself recreating the album cover, and that was before we even knew we would but it.

      Like

  4. Aphoristical
    March 12, 2019

    It’s kind of crazy that The Stranger wasn’t number one – I think it got stuck behind Rumours.

    Like

    • You’re probably right about The Stranger getting stuck behind Rumours. I’m sure Billy Joel had no problem “only” reaching #2, especially after his next two releases were chart-toppers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aphoristical
        March 13, 2019

        It was a big improvement from Turnstiles, which made #122….

        Like

      • What a difference having a few high-charting singles will make. I love Turnstiles nearly as much as the classics that came after it, but I guess the general public wasn’t ready to make him a superstar just yet.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Aphoristical
        March 14, 2019

        Turnstiles is really good – just doesn’t have a hit single on it. It belongs in Joel’s peak period (I think everything he did between 1976 and 1983 is clearly better than everything he did before and after), despite a couple of weak songs. Don’t like the reggae one or James, which sounds like bad Wings,

        Like

      • Haha, never thought of “James” as bad Wings but I see your point. At the time I’m sure Mr. Joel would have welcomed the back-handed comparison to McCartney. Turnstiles has enough great songs to make it a classic, even if The Stranger and the several albums that followed too things to a whole new level. I think Phil Ramone had a lot to do with that.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. stephen1001
    March 12, 2019

    Fabulous album art re-creation Rich!
    And this was on my Top 15 list a few years ago, outstanding record – I’m pleased you highlighted my two favourite tracks as well as ones that should have been hits!

    Like

    • Thanks, Geoff. I don’t often get to do creative visuals, like you do on a regular basis, so I was proud of my work here. Glad we share some favorite tracks from this album. For me it’s a perfect record from top to bottom.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sarca
    March 13, 2019

    Great album! Great album cover reproduction!

    Like

    • Thanks Sarca. It was a labor of love and I’m glad it came out the way I had hoped. As someone who always puts together great visuals your compliment means a lot to me.

      Like

  7. Alyson
    March 14, 2019

    What a great picture and a great reason to post a mid-week offering. Those windows, and their similarity to the ones on the cover of a much-loved album, no doubt swung it for you, and why not.

    I wonder though if you had to seek out a 1980 Billy Joel wardrobe for the picture or did you already own those duds? Timeless rock n roll outfit!

    Like

    • Thanks, Alyson. That photo was taken last April and I had planned on posting something shortly after that, but then life got complicated and I put it on the back burner. Once I saw that Tuesday was the anniversary of Glass Houses being released I quickly put together this post. Believe it or not I owned all of those clothes, although the fake-leather jacket started falling apart earlier this year so I donated it to a service that shreds clothing to be used for insulation and other purposes. Otherwise, the jeans, shoes & gloves are still in my house, and the rock is part of a border around one of our trees.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Music Quiz: Cover of Rolling Stone – Aphoristic Album Reviews

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