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The Legacy of Billy Joel’s The Stranger Lives on at Madison Square Garden: The Opus

How the Piano Man has played 133 nights at MSG -- despite not releasing a new album since 1993

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billy joel madison square garden the stranger opus podcast
The Opus: Billy Joel’s The Stranger, artwork by Steven Fiche

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    Billy Joel hasn’t put out a rock album since 1993 — but since 2014, he’s sold out Madison Square Garden once a month, every month. He first played the iconic New York City venue in 1978, a year after releasing The Stranger and just a few months after its followup, 52nd Street. In total, he’s performed at MSG an insurmountable 133 times (as of January, 13th, 2023), a record that’s hard to fathom ever being broken.

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    What is it about Joel’s catalog that allows him to keep playing shows like this? What keeps people filling those seats, and perhaps even more interesting, what keeps the man himself excited to play his old hits in front of all those fans? On the final episode of The Opus: The Stranger, we’ll answer these questions by looking at just what it is about Billy Joel the songwriter that has made him such a lasting icon.

    Adam Unze is joined by a number of fans who have been inspired by Joel’s indelible songwriting and witnessed his MSG performances first hand: Ben Folds, Regina Spektor, Bayside’s Anthony Raneri, Rozzi, Billy Joel: The Definitive Biography author Fred Schruers, and music publicist Ken Weinstein. Listen to Episode 4 of The Opus above.

    The Opus is presented by Consequence Podcast Network and Sony Legacy. For updates on future seasons, make sure you like, review, and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. You can also stream and download The Stranger here, and vicariously experience Joel’s live show with the recently released Live at Yankee Stadium. You can also get tickets to his ongoing MSG residency — as well as his upcoming co-headlining tour with Stevie Nickshere.

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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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