Glass Houses - A Billy Joel Podcast

Join lifelong Billy Joel fans, Michael and Jack, as they take deep dives in to Billy’s history, songs, albums, tours, band members and more.

EP 069 - Billy Joel In Pop Culture (Part 1)

September 27th, 2022

For someone who hasn’t released an album in nearly 30 years, Billy Joel is all over the TV. His music, his touring band, and his likeness get featured regularly on sitcoms, primetime dramas, prestige shows, and cartoons made for, for lack of a better word, mature audiences. 

 

 

These pop culture references have helped keep Billy in the public eye for the last few decades. They also reveal a lot about how the public’s perception of him has evolved over that time. 

 

 

And, a lot of them are just pretty damn funny. 

 

Join us as we dive deep into just a handful of Billy Joel references in pop culture.



 

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EP 068 - Album Retrospective: The Nylon Curtain

September 13th, 2022

The Nylon Curtain wasn’t nearly as popular as Billy Joel’s albums just before and after this release. But, it still spawned a handful of hits, classics, and perennial fan favorites and concert staples. And today, it’s regarded by fans and critics as Billy’s most accomplished artistic statement.

 

Released in 1982, The Nylon Curtain came just after the string of smash hit albums from The Stranger in 1977 through Glass Houses in 1980, and the live Songs In the Attic that rewrote his early work.

 

And, it was released less than a year before An Innocent Man would race up the charts and capture a new generation of fans.

 

In contrast to the harder-edged rock of Glass Houses and the bouncy fun of An Innocent Man, The Nylon Curtain is a thoughtful, occasionally dark, and sonically adventurous affair.

 

It’s often lauded as his most Beatlesque album. And, it’s certainly one of Billy’s most thoughtful releases as he tackles war, aging, and social dilemmas throughout its nine songs.

 

Join us as we take a long look behind The Nylon Curtain

 

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EP 067 - Year In Review: 1978

August 30th, 2022

Even when looking at five decades of songwriting, album releases and concerts, 1978 stands as arguably the busiest, most successful, and most defining year of Billy Joel’s career.

 

The year began with the smash hit album The Stranger still racing up the charts after its release the previous fall. 

 

12 months later, Billy would wrap up 1978 with a string of hit songs, gold and platinum albums and singles, dozens of reviews, interviews and media appearances and tour dates around the world. 

 

And, of course, he would also release 52nd Street, an album that rivals even The Stranger in terms of album sales, hit songs, fan reception, and accolades. 

 

There’s a lot to cover in the year that laid the foundation for the next two decades of Billy Joel’s music. 

 

Join us as we dig deep into Billy Joel in 1978.

 

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EP 066 - Billy Joel Live At Yankee Stadium (with Steve Cohen & Jon Small)

August 16th, 2022

This fall, an often-overlooked live Billy Joel release is getting a second lease on life. 

 

The 1990 video release Live At Yankee Stadium is getting a makeover with remixed and remastered sound, an extra song, and a brand new edit. And, after a limited run in theaters, it’ll be available on Blu-ray along with a 2-CD or 3-LP release featuring 11 never before released performances. 

 

While the Yankee Stadium home video was a hit after its release, it’s been largely overlooked in the decades after that. It came on the heels of the definitive Live From Long Island in 1982 and the historically seismic Russia shows in 1987. 

 

Those live releases featured mostly members of Billy’s longtime core band. Later, 2006’s 12 Gardens Live and Live At Shea Stadium, released in 2011, spotlighted a lineup that’s gone largely unchanged since then. 

 

By contrast, Live at Yankee Stadium features a transitional lineup. And, it didn’t help that the fast cuts and frenetic camera angles locked it squarely as an early-90s MTV relic. 

 

But that’s changing with this new release. The longer cuts and enhanced sound give the entire production a more organic and immersive feel. And, the accompanying audio discs reveal even more of Billy’s two-night stand. 

 

To learn more about the new release, we spoke with Steve Cohen, Billy’s longtime lighting director and producer of the re-released film. And with director and original producer Jon Small, who’s worked with Billy since the late 60s and has either directed or collaborated on virtually every Billy Joel concert film or music video. 

 

They gave us an amazing behind-the-scenes look at the making of the original film, the inspiration for its reimagining, and the process of bringing it back to life. 

 

Join us as we dig deep into the original Live At Yankee Stadium and the story behind its new look and sound. 

 

www.billyjoel.film

 

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EP 065 - Concert Classics: Live in London, 1984

August 2nd, 2022

By 1984, Billy Joel was known for changing styles from album to album. What’s less recognized was how often he changed voices. And, one night that year in England, those voices were all on display. 

 

Close listening to any Billy Joel record reveals a variety of tones, accents, and affectations in the singing. Add to that the many impressions he’s done over the years in interviews and concerts. 

 

Many of them were on display, and front and center, when BIlly and the band took the stage at Wembley Arena in June of 1984. Deep into the An Innocent Man tour, the concert was simulcast on radio and television in Europe. 

 

As a result of it being broadcast, the mix is often more dry and a little muted with the singing more prominent than usual. At the same time, Billy seemed to be leaning into the many different vocal affectations more often than usual. 

 

The concert itself is a great performance, with the band augmented by a horn section and a guest star and a baby on the way. But in particular, it’s an excellent showcase for Billy’s so-called rubber voice. 

 

Join us, as we dig deep into Billy Joel at Wembley Arena in 1984.

 

 

Date: June 8, 1984
City/Country: London, England
Venue: Wembley Arena

 

 

The band:

  • Billy Joel - Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Guitar
  • Liberty DeVitto - Drums
  • Doug Stegmeyer - Bass, Vocals
  • David Brown - Lead Guitar
  • Russell Javors - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
  • Mark Rivera - Saxophone, Percussion, Vocals
  • David Lebolt - Keyboards
  • Peter Hewlett - Vocals
  • Frank Simms - Vocals

The Affordables

  • Larry Etkin, Glen Stulpin, Bob Livingood - Horns

 

The Setlist: 

  1. Prelude / Angry Young Man
  2. My Life
  3. Piano Man
  4. Don't Ask Me Why
  5. Allentown
  6. Goodnight Saigon
  7. Pressure
  8. Leave A Tender Moment Alone
  9. An Innocent Man
  10. The Longest Time
  11. This Night
  12. Just The Way You Are
  13. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
  14. Sometimes A Fantasy
  15. It's Still Rock And Roll To Me
  16. Uptown Girl
  17. Big Shot
  18. Tell Her About It
  19. You May Be Right
  20. Only The Good Die Young

 

 

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EP 064 - Billy Joel 1980-1984 TV Appearances (Part 2)

July 19th, 2022

This is the second installment of our two-part series covering Billy Joel’s television appearances from 1980 through 1984. While the bulk of the spots we’ve covered so far found him promoting The Nylon Curtain, the latter batch has him on the promotional trail for the An Innocent Man album and addressing his tabloid notoriety with then-girlfriend, soon-to-be wife Christie Brinkley. 

 

Join us as we continue digging deep into Billy Joel's television appearances from 1980 to 1984.

 

Watch the videos HERE.

 

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EP 063 - Billy Joel Back Covers Ranked

July 5th, 2022

If people used to buy albums for the front cover, then they got to know the music at home while checking out the back.

 

The flip side of a record jacket should complement the album and front artwork while giving listeners more to explore as they listened at home. 

 

Billy’s albums are no exception. While there’s plenty of variety on his front covers, the back covers are surprisingly uniform. 

 

Still, there’s plenty of insight into the state of BIlly’s career, and plenty to discuss about the artwork, when it comes to his back covers. 

 

In this episode, we’re ranking 15 of Billy’s back covers. We’re discussing the designs, how they represented the music inside the sleeve, and which ones we just preferred the most. 

 

Join us, as we go skin deep in our rankings of Billy Joel’s back cover artwork.

 

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EP 062 - Billy Joel 1980-1984 TV Appearances (Part 1)

June 21st, 2022

By 1980. Billy Joel was ready for prime time. Starting with a feature on 20/20 during the lead up to Glass Houses,  he graduated  from just playing a song or two on a talk show to getting regular MTV spotlights, being the subject of news features, and appearing on morning shows for a week at a time. 

 

As Billy's popularity reached its peak, he also honed his interview style. Over multiple appearances, he develops his stories, talking points and jokes, and refines them over time. 

 

The second half of the 80s would find him coasting on the new media personality he developed, even as his band, personal, and business relationships got rocky. But at the start of the decade, Billy was riding high on the small screen. 

 

Join us as we dig deep into Billy Joel's television appearances from 1980 to 1984.

 

Watch the videos HERE.

 

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EP 061 - Glass Houses Playlist #5 - The Nylon Curtain Live Through The Years

June 7th, 2022

When Billy Joel's The Nylon Curtain was released into the world in the fall of 1982, it was considered one of his most ambitious albums to date. 

 

Despite the rich layer and textures of the album's sonic landscape, many of the songs translated to a live setting with apparent ease. The Nylon Curtain saw our first glimpse of many of these songs on stage. While the singles "Allentown," "Pressure," and "Goodnight Saigon" quickly became staples, the remaining 6 would become the elusive deep cut that would be a treat on the rare occasions they'd make their way to a setlist.

 

For this playlist episode, Michael is presenting The Nylon Curtain Live Through The Years... in album sequence, hear the entire album spanning nearly 40 years of live performances.

 

Track listing:

  1. Allentown (Live From Long Island - December 29, 1982 - Uniondale, NY - Nassau Coliseum)
  2. Laura (12 Gardens Live - Spring 2006 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden)
  3. Pressure (Live At Yankee Stadium - June 1990 - Bronx, NY - Yankee Stadium)
  4. Goodnight Saigon (Концерт - Live in the U.S.S.R - Summer 1987)
  5. She's Right On Time (December 20, 2021 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden)
  6. A Room of Our Own (12 Gardens Live - Spring 2006 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden)
  7. Surprises (March 21, 2014 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden)
  8. Scandinavian Skies (Live From Long Island - December 29, 1982 - Uniondale, NY - Nassau Coliseum)
  9. Where's The Orchestra? (MTV Night School - Fall 1982)

 

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EP 060 - MTV Night School 1982

May 24th, 2022

Years before Billy Joel started doing master classes, and long before MTV stopped showing music videos, there was Night School. 

 

Broadcast in late 1982, Night School was a half-hour show on MTV where Billy fielded questions from an audience of young fans. Fresh off the success of The Nylon Curtain, he tells stories, gives some behind-the-scenes glimpses of the music industry and, of course, plays      piano. 

 

The program turned out to be a one-off event. There was never a second episode or another version with a different host or musician. At the time, MTV was a new and untested concept, and Night School is a relic of when the channel was at its most daring and experimental. 

 

The show is a diamond in the rough for Billy Joel fans. It’s currently only available on YouTube and it doesn’t get much mention in fan forums, biographies, or any official publications. 

 

But, it features Billy in a great mood, cracking jokes and telling stories he’d refine and rehash for later interviews. It’s a rare, candid insight to the artist, in between the release of his most artistically ambitious album and just before the lighter, more pop-oriented An Innocent Man would launch him into the next level of superstardom with a new generation of fans. 

 

Join us as we dig deep into Billy Joel’s MTV Night School from 1982. 

 

 

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