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#2939741 - 07/26/18 06:51 PM Billy Joel is everywhere
Synthaholic Offline
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A good, sometimes combative interview:

http://www.vulture.com/2018/07/billy-joel-in-conversation.html

A companion piece rating all of his songs:

http://www.vulture.com/2015/02/complete-works-121-billy-joel-songs-ranked.html

I would put ‘Just the Way You Are’ in the top 3, if not #1. I also think ‘Honesty’ should be much higher on the list than #47.

There’s also his appearance on CBS Sunday Morning:

https://www.cbs.com/shows/cbs-sunday-mor...ing-beethoven-/

And now, today’s New York Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/25/arts/music/billy-joel-100-shows-interview.html
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#2939742 - 07/26/18 06:55 PM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: Synthaholic]
Synthaholic Offline
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Originally Posted By: Vulture
43. “The Entertainer,” Streetlife Serenade

The Piano Man finds success! And hates his record company, and writes about it. The synths sound terrible now, and the petulance is creeping in, which does him no favors. But “Gotta have a hit / So they cut it down to 3:05” is clever, for sure.


I love the synths and think they still sound great! What did he use, anyone know?
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#2939754 - 07/26/18 08:10 PM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: Synthaholic]
harmonizer Offline
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I agree with the high ratings for many of the songs from his album "The Stranger". It featured some great songwriting, with the line "I never want to work that hard" representing how he seemed not to overthink it when he wrote those songs. They just work.

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#2939820 - 07/27/18 06:12 AM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: Synthaholic]
Music Bird Offline
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Originally Posted By: Synthaholic
Originally Posted By: Vulture
43. “The Entertainer,” Streetlife Serenade

The Piano Man finds success! And hates his record company, and writes about it. The synths sound terrible now, and the petulance is creeping in, which does him no favors. But “Gotta have a hit / So they cut it down to 3:05” is clever, for sure.


I love the synths and think they still sound great! What did he use, anyone know?


Minimoog. Even in the video.
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#2939821 - 07/27/18 06:20 AM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: Synthaholic]
SteveCoscia Offline
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Good for Billy Joel. He's achieved much and seems to be enjoying his senior years. I wish him many years of good health and happiness.

Back in the 1970s, he was the Long Island Guy Who Made It and many of us shared in his success. Seeing his Calderone Theater concert after Streetlife Serenade was a BIG DEAL. WLIR radio featured his songs often.

He was and still is our guy.
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#2939825 - 07/27/18 06:42 AM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: SteveCoscia]
Bobby Simons Offline
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His band, the Hassles, played a dance in my high school gym in the late 60's. He was not yet a front man - in fact, I think he was parked behind a B3 for that show. I was in my very first band at the time, and we were covering some of the Hassles covers (Got Me Hummin', Coloured Rain, and another that escapes me at the moment). They were a pretty hip, blue-eyed soul band, that didn't quite make it big enough. A lesser Rascals, if you will.

Billy Joel's hugeness has created a cottage industry, certainly here on the Island. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a BJ tribute act. One of the guys actually worked his way into Billy's current band, plays mostly rhythm guitar instead of piano and with a voice that sounds enough like BJ to be pretty useful, I imagine. another good friend of mine is doing it, very successfully, down in Florida. There are plenty Billy Joel fans who retired in that direction.

I don't think you could overstate just how great a hit song writer he was; he had a truly remarkable run, and deserves everything he has achieved in his lifetime. Long Island, whose list of great musicians and other stars is beyond impressive, is immensely proud of him.
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#2939841 - 07/27/18 07:51 AM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: Bobby Simons]
Marzzz Offline
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I grew up on L.I. in the 60's-70's, and heard countless stories from friend's older sibs who "saw Billy Joel play at my HS Prom" and whatnot. Yes, a lot of early airplay on WLIR, WBAB, etc., and with Capt. Jack and Piano Man away he went. For me, I think his songs sounded like he was writing for a Broadway Musical, and just weren't to my personal taste. In 1978 the band I was in was playing "Just the Way You Are" constantly at gigs, proms, and auditions (I had a Rhodes and a Small Stone phase shifter that nailed the sound), drove me crazy but we had to do it.

But if the only song he ever wrote was "New York State of Mind" he would still live forever. Blows "New York, New York" away...

btw- among many "Long Island guys who made it" was Steve Vai- his Lawn Guyland accent still comes across in interviews.

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#2939844 - 07/27/18 08:04 AM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: Marzzz]
Rod S Offline
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Very familiar (and fan) from my time in the US, but never hit it big here in Brazil; most people I mention don't know him.

Howevever, I enjoy his mellow stuff (amazing songwriting in many and some of my favorite songs), but a lot of the upbeat, "rock" songs (pressure, big shot, you may be right) I find rather annoying.

When I mention the great concert where Elton John and he did together, everyone is like "Billy who???"
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#2939846 - 07/27/18 08:24 AM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: Rod S]
Al Quinn Offline
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Billy Joel grew up about 15 minutes from where I grew up in Massapequa but he's a few years older. I don't know him personally but we have several mutual friends (i.e., the guitarist in my jazz organ trio used to ride motorcycles with him). I liked his music upon first hearing the Piano Man album and saw him play in small places like the the Stony Brook University gym before he made it big. I've been a fan from early on.
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#2939850 - 07/27/18 08:30 AM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: Al Quinn]
Outkaster Offline
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Why didn't critics care for him? I remember reading somewhere that he wasn't respected well as a songwriter, personally I think it's BS though.
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#2939852 - 07/27/18 08:38 AM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: Outkaster]
Al Quinn Offline
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I think critics are BS
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#2939860 - 07/27/18 09:02 AM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: Al Quinn]
Legatoboy Offline
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I played a gig out East (Montauk, LI) 'Nicks on the Water' with the LoneSharks who I was working with often then (11 years ago) and 1st song, had my eyes closed and a positronic image started flashing in my mind of a man's face and opened my eyes and Billy was sitting right in front of me in the audience..right there..scary! We opened with 'Mercy Mercy Mercy'. A part of my mind knew he was there, I didn't consciously notice him being busy with the gig... He was friends with the band leader who also lived in Sag Harbor where Billy had(has?) his boat building business and a residence...think he still owns that business, not sure?

The Lonesharks 'Own' the East End of the Island for gigs talk about own.... Billy has good taste.. they were my favorite band to play with on the Island - 'Moonlight in Vermont' to "Huey Piano Smith R&R standards", Great 50's NO music, Jazz/Rock etc... just great musical choices especially for keys from that outfit....just a bit of a hike for me at this tender age to drive with the horrible East End traffic! Just said hello to Billy and shook his hand....he left after about 20 min time....the crowd of about 120+ people started buzzing about him being there....The bandleader said he often takes off when that happens, can't really relax.

Funny I had a hot day there (Nick's) on another gig with the Lonesharks and people started yelling at me "Billy WHO!!" Jez....it's not a contest, embarrassing . .


Edited by Legatoboy (07/27/18 09:24 AM)
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#2939863 - 07/27/18 09:13 AM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: Bobby Simons]
EscapeRocks Offline
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Originally Posted By: Bobby Simons


Billy Joel's hugeness has created a cottage industry, certainly here on the Island. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a BJ tribute act. One of the guys actually worked his way into Billy's current band, plays mostly rhythm guitar instead of piano and with a voice that sounds enough like BJ to be pretty useful, I imagine.


Mike DelGuidice. Awesomely talented multi-instrumentalist, as well as being a great singer.
If you get a chance, check his performances of Nessum Dorma that they do as part of Billy Joel's concert set.

Based on an online chat I had with him last year, he's a cool dude as well. I had asked him about who made the piano shell he uses with his band Big Shot. In a couple hours he replied, and we went back and forth for a bit about that, some tech stuff, and how cool it is for him to be living his dream right now.

One of my favorite BJ tunes is Stiletto. That was the very first piano solo I learned way back in the day when it was new. I was 16 at the time. I still work it into my solo break in my current gig, now and then.
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#2939877 - 07/27/18 10:30 AM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: EscapeRocks]
Bobby Simons Offline
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The friend I mentioned that does the BJ tribute down in Florida has a piano shell company, don't know if that's what Mike uses. (I know that they know each other.)

Grandstand piano shells

His name is Tony Monaco. No, not THAT Tony Monaco.
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#2939894 - 07/27/18 11:36 AM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: Bobby Simons]
EscapeRocks Offline
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Originally Posted By: Bobby Simons
The friend I mentioned that does the BJ tribute down in Florida has a piano shell company, don't know if that's what Mike uses. (I know that they know each other.)

Grandstand piano shells

His name is Tony Monaco. No, not THAT Tony Monaco.


That's a cool looking stand. Mike's is from Plan B in Phoenix.
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#2939901 - 07/27/18 12:06 PM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: Outkaster]
samuelblupowitz Offline
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Registered: 08/09/17
Posts: 230
Loc: Ithaca, NY
Originally Posted By: Outkaster
Why didn't critics care for him? I remember reading somewhere that he wasn't respected well as a songwriter, personally I think it's BS though.


As a younger guy, I'm always fascinated by what critics from the classic rock era seem to latch onto as cool or "authentic" and what they dismiss. A lot of them seem like English majors who can sort of play guitar. They'll go nuts over Springsteen's earthy-yet-erudite lyrics when paired with music that has the aesthetic of 1950s rock 'n' roll writ large, or Elton John's early, conceptual English-boy-in-love-with-Americana approach, but they'll balk at someone like Billy Joel, whose lyrics and attitude are similar to Springsteen's, but his writing and playing make them think "uh oh, this guy took some classical music lessons -- he must be a PHONY." If I recall, the critics didn't really love Keith Emerson, either. And there's some quote from Robert Christgau about how Billy Joel was a great "Tin Pan Alley songwriter," comparing him to Irving Berlin, and that he wished Billy Joel would just accept that -- to Christgau, his streetwise attitude and musical ambition were pretentious.

I grew up listening to Billy Joel's music and learning to play his songs on the piano; my dad was a huge fan from the late 70s and 80s. It wasn't until I got to college and started playing more solo gigs (billing myself as a piano-playing singer/songwriter a la Billy, Elton, Ben Folds, etc) that I realized that for a lot of post-Boomers, Billy Joel was super uncool -- "dad rock," or, as one venue booker described it to me over the phone, "A lot of the kids who come here are real hipsters, so to them saying you sound like Billy Joel is saying you sound like Journey or something, you know what I mean?"

I've been glad to see a wider sort of grudging re-evaluation of him as an artist on par with some of his more lauded contemporaries in the past few years.

And for the record, I was an English major, who can sort of play guitar. wink
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#2939905 - 07/27/18 12:16 PM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: samuelblupowitz]
Outkaster Offline
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Yeah it's kind of not fair. He is excellent at writing bridges also. I have an interview where he said it was something he really liked to do. It's weird people would be concerned with his classical background because not all of his songs have signature hooks or piano parts. In that same interview he talked about being younger and just being behind a B3 in a blues band.
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#2939917 - 07/27/18 01:22 PM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: Outkaster]
Bobby Simons Offline
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He had a long visit with Howard Stern that I see is on Soundcloud. Say what you will about Stern, but he is a great interviewer. Howard is a true fan and insists on him doing a number of tunes. Billy is game but it is an ungodly morning hour to be singing, some of them are very high, and he's transposing down on the fly when he needs to. It's remarkable, just him and a piano - a good song is a good song. Billy has plenty to say about music, careers, etc., level-headed and sensible. I actually sat through it twice.

Billy Joel on Howard Stern


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#2939922 - 07/27/18 01:45 PM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: Bobby Simons]
Zalman Stern Offline
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Respect unto Billy Joel. Dig some of his songs and hate others, but he's definitely one of the top talents of the modern era. I've very much enjoyed reading a few interviews with him and get the sense he's still very much real despite all the success. That said, *Elvis* is everywhere. Billy Joel is having a surge of publicity.

Re: LI, I was listening to the Slacker "Southern Rock" channel the other day and they played "Burnin' For You". I thought to myself, not only is that stylistically wrong as hell but Blue Öyster Cult isn't even from the southern side of Long Island :-)

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#2939932 - 07/27/18 02:47 PM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: Zalman Stern]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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I was quite impressed by his Chopin-inspired solo piano "classical" pieces.

Wasn't he a critic's darling? I no longer recall animosity towards his writing; just his personality and how he treats women (just for starters).

I saw him live in the mid to late 80's, after "The Bridge" album, which brought him back to a more reflective mood after having spent a couple of albums doing more mainstream rock 'n' roll. He was SO energetic!


Edited by Mark Schmieder (07/27/18 02:48 PM)
Edit Reason: auto-correct is rarely right
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#2939946 - 07/27/18 03:48 PM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: Outkaster]
Bill H. Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Outkaster
Why didn't critics care for him? I remember reading somewhere that he wasn't respected well as a songwriter, personally I think it's BS though.


Quoting a Rolling Stone reviewer's thoughts about Glass Houses (lifted from Wikipedia):

his material's catchy. But then, so's the flu.

That doesn't seem to be the consensus though. Just glancing over reviews of Billy Joel albums listed in Wiki, most are positive. He's won a ton of awards, and The Stranger is high on Billboard's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.


I've always appreciated that cat's uncanny ability to both sing and play complex lines at the same time. It's so hard to do.

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#2939948 - 07/27/18 03:52 PM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: Bill H.]
Bobby Simons Offline
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Quote:
It's so hard to do.

So is selling out the Garden a hundred times, I suspect.
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#2940016 - 07/27/18 10:32 PM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: Bobby Simons]
MathOfInsects Offline
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I had my couple of years liking him, right in the "Carole King" stage. I have to say that once I saw him live I lost interest in him, and that's when the albums got awful too, and I slowly backed out of the room. (I just didn't buy him as a rocker or even a blueser; it all ended up sounding cheesy and shrill to me, and his live shows are ESPECIALLY cheesy with extra shrill for freshness.)

Yes, I know we should all be so lucky to be so awful. And some great songs happened in that stretch. But also so did Uptown Girl and We Didn't Start the Fire.

Great band. Crystal alone is worth the price of admission. And some of those early songs are really good.
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#2940018 - 07/27/18 10:42 PM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: MathOfInsects]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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I would NEVER use Rolling Stone as an example of the norm, or average, when it comes to what critics think. That magazine has always been snotty, snobby, pretentious, etc.
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#2940023 - 07/27/18 11:38 PM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: Mark Schmieder]
MathOfInsects Offline
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I don't think he's ever been especially beloved by critics, but I also don't think that has ever meant anything.

“Definition of rock journalism: People who can't write, doing interviews with people who can't think, in order to prepare articles for people who can't read.” --Frank Zappa
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#2940043 - 07/28/18 06:12 AM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: MathOfInsects]
AnotherScott Online   content
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Being from Long Island, I've kind of crossed paths with BJ tons of times, but never met him. We had the same piano teacher. He was at one of my band's gigs in Huntington (and went over to our sound person to compliment the band). I went to high school with one of his keyboard players. One of his sax players was a customer at a computer place I used to work at. And so forth.

Personally, I was okay with his early stuff, disliked many of the huge hits, but then really enjoyed a lot of his later stuff. An Innocent Man may be the first album of his that I throughly enjoyed from start to finish, and The Bridge may be my favorite of his, I think his voice was really coming into its own. Ironically, I see in the Vulture interview that he doesn't think that's one of his stronger albums. But then, some of my favorite Tull and Genesis albums are not favorites of their creators' either, so maybe I just have odd taste.
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#2940047 - 07/28/18 06:26 AM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: AnotherScott]
Math&Music Offline
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Originally Posted By: AnotherScott
Personally, I was okay with his early stuff, disliked many of the huge hits, but then really enjoyed a lot of his later stuff.

Yes, I too disliked many of his huge hits, but I really like a number of his lesser hits and other songs. Funny how that works out -- the musician's versus pop audience's point of view. I wonder if he too has a similar mindset, but just knows how to write the big hits too...
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#2940061 - 07/28/18 08:21 AM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: Math&Music]
LarsHarner Offline
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I liked the vulture article a lot- one of the top two in my opinion, the other an interview with Nick Paumgarten in the New Yorker 3 years ago.

I've been listening to his music now for 40 years and play the piano because of him. I went to his concert last night in Philadelphia- it was actually my 95th time seeing him.

He did offer some album cuts (Vienna, Zanzibar have been regulars though) and did Half A Mile Away (last 3 shows it has been done) and A Room of Our Own from the Nylon Curtain.

He does audience choices but normally the song is already picked (i.e. Vienna always beats Just The Way you Are, my favorite All For Leyna loses to Don't Ask Me Way, and Stiletto - great song to play on the piano loses to Zanzibar.

They cut Captain Jack from the setlist- due to a rain delay (yes in a baseball stadium !) he played from 9:40-12:00. Ben Folds opened and did a great job.

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#2940080 - 07/28/18 09:52 AM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: Mark Schmieder]
harmonizer Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark Schmieder
I would NEVER use Rolling Stone as an example of the norm, or average, when it comes to what critics think. That magazine has always been snotty, snobby, pretentious, etc.


I have a copy of the "Rolling Stone Record Guide", second edition update from 1983. For the album "The Stranger" they rate it 3 stars (the top possible rating is 5 stars). It's just another example of their tendency to underrate music which they either don't understand, or does not fit in their narrow definition of what is good. If the Rolling Stone had gotten some help from people with more diverse points of view, they could have created a better book.

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#2940088 - 07/28/18 10:31 AM Re: Billy Joel is everywhere [Re: harmonizer]
Synthaholic Offline
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Originally Posted By: harmonizer
Originally Posted By: Mark Schmieder
I would NEVER use Rolling Stone as an example of the norm, or average, when it comes to what critics think. That magazine has always been snotty, snobby, pretentious, etc.


I have a copy of the "Rolling Stone Record Guide", second edition update from 1983. For the album "The Stranger" they rate it 3 stars (the top possible rating is 5 stars). It's just another example of their tendency to underrate music which they either don't understand, or does not fit in their narrow definition of what is good. If the Rolling Stone had gotten some help from people with more diverse points of view, they could have created a better book.


Now look up any Springsteen album. Then look up any Gino Vannelli album. These people don’t know good music. Not that Bruce is bad, by any stretch. But he ain’t head and shoulders above everyone else, either.
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