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Billy Joel’s The Stranger Plays Like a Greatest Hits Album: The Opus

Regina Spektor, Ben Folds, Bayside's Anthony Raneri, and more discuss their favorite tracks

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the opus billy joel the stranger podcast episode 3 greatest hits
The Opus: Billy Joel’s The Stranger, artwork by Steven Fiche

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    Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits – Volume I & Volume II — certified double diamond — features 23 of his classics, 26% of which all come from The Stranger. That’s six tracks from a nine-song album making their way into the “greatest” category. Were the compilation to be released today, you’d almost have to include “Vienna” as well, thanks to its social media-spurred resurgence in popular culture.

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    Essentially, Joel’s fifth full-length is in and of itself a greatest hits collection. It includes four Top 40 hits (“Just the Way You Are,” “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song),” “Only the Good Die Young,” and “She’s Always a Woman”), a TikTok anthem (“Vienna”), and one of the greatest medley tracks ever recorded (“Scenes from an Italian Restaurant”). On Episode 3 of The Opus: The Stranger, we explore each of these classic tunes to discover what made them such lasting contributions to American music.

    Helping host Adam Unze examine these iconic pieces and explaining their personal connections to them are Regina Spektor, Ben Folds, Bayside’s Anthony Raneri, The Arkells’ Anthony Carone, and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. Plus, you’ll hear insightful archival interviews with Billy Joel himself as well as producer Phil Ramone.

    Coming from Consequence Podcast Network and Sony Legacy, you can listen to the new episode above. Follow along with the rest of The Opus Season 19 by liking, reviewing, and subscribing wherever you get your podcasts. You can also stream and download The Stranger here, and relive Joel’s 1990 concerts at Yankee Stadium with the recently released Live at Yankee Stadium. To catch a more modern Joel concert — including his co-headlining tour with Stevie Nicks — get tickets here.

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    The Opus podcast listeners can also pick up an official Opus hoodie or T-Shirt at the Consequence Shop or by using the buy-now buttons below.

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