Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time
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.