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.

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“VIENNA” from The Stranger (1977)

Except I like this song even more. This is Billy the balladeer, and I think this is where he is at his best. With “Scenes…” there is at least a logic behind why it was never released as a single. There is no such logic that explains “Vienna.”

It is a gorgeous tribute to his father, beginning with a simple piano intro before giving way to Billy’s vocal “Slow down, you crazy child – You’re so ambitious for a juvenile – But then if you’re so smart then tell me why are you still so afraid?” Each verse ends with the soothing reminder that “Vienna waits for you.”

What is Vienna? Joel has talked about it over the years. Clearly, on one level he is talking about the city of Vienna, Austria. But there is a mystery in the place and the meaning. It may be wrapped up in the complex attitudes Joel had toward his father, and to the pursuit of stardom. As in many great songs, each listener can take away her own meaning. I personally think it is the best song Billy Joel ever wrote, and I know I am not alone. It may not have sounded like a single to some A&R man back in 1977, but it has gone on to become one of Billy Joel’s most beloved songs.

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