Top ten best deep cuts by Billy Joel

Joel has given us great singles but some of his best songs are ones we do not hear as much.

Michael Putland/GettyImages
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I wanted to start a series called “Let’s Argue About Deep Cuts: (Insert Artist Here) Edition.” It would be aimed at calling attention to the back catalogs of some of the best musical acts out there. The title grew out of a recent online encounter that has left me scarred.

It was on X (formerly known as…I don’t remember anymore.) Or maybe Facebook. There are a lot of things I don’t remember anymore. And the poster was asking for your favorite “deep cut” from a particular well-known artist. I do remember the artist but am withholding it for my own reasons. As I said, I still have a scar.

Anyway, I knew this artist reasonably well – had seen him (or her) two or three times live – and had some songs I considered deep cuts in mind. I wasn’t sure what qualified as a deep cut, so I scanned Spotify and Apple and ruled out the top 25 songs that appeared in a generic search. I figured anything below that would qualify as “deep.”

Wow – was I wrong.

Ten best deep cuts (and they really are!) from Billy Joel

The vitriol I received! “This is hardly a deep cut. He (or she) has played this in every concert dating back to the Industrial Revolution. You obviously know NOTHING!”

So I realized that if I was going to write about such things, I needed a rule. A rubric perhaps. (I don’t really know what a rubric is, but it sounds like something I would need.) I decided that I would confine my definition of “deep cut” to anything that was not released as a single.

This is hardly foolproof. As we are about to see, some of a popular artist’s most beloved songs were not singles. So this isn’t really about deep cuts. It’s about great songs that were not released as singles when they first appeared. Maybe later as a live track or on a compilation. But not when we all first encountered them.

So on today’s edition of “Let’s Argue About Deep Cuts” (which I don’t think my editor is actually going to let me use as a title), today’s contestant is Billy Joel.

Billy Joel released 12 studio albums between 1971 and 1993. That’s approximately 120 songs. Almost 50 of them were released as singles. That leaves around 75 non-singles to choose from. Never fear. There are some great songs eligible for consideration, including several of his best and most well-known. Here, in countdown fashion, are his ten best non-singles.