Monday, November 1, 1971

Billy Joel’s Cold Spring Harbor released

First posted 5/9/2011; updated 9/21/2020.

Cold Spring Harbor

Billy Joel

Released: November 1, 1971

Peak: 158 US, 95 UK, -- CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US and UK)

Genre: pop/rock singer-songwriter


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. She’s Got a Way (11/21/81: live version, 23 US, 16 CL, 4 AC, 46 CN)
  2. You Can Make Me Free
  3. Everybody Loves You Now
  4. Why Judy Why
  5. Falling of the Rain
  6. Turn Around
  7. You Look So Good to Me
  8. Tomorrow Is Today
  9. Nocturne
  10. Got to Begin Again

Total Running Time: 33:07


3.404 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)

About the Album:

Cold Spring Harbor was Billy Joel’s first solo endeavor after albums with the groups the Hassles and Attila flopped. Unfortunately, this one still “bombed so badly that he fled the East Coast for California (and, as Bill Martin, hit the piano-lounge circuit, inspiring ‘Piano Man’).” DB

On the album, Joel “reinvented himself as a sensitive singer/songwriter.” AMG Joel “may have been in his formative stages as a craftsman, but his talents are apparent, and he never made an album as intimate and vulnerable ever again.” AMG “The record was uneven but very charming, boasting two of his finest songs – the lovely She's Got a Way and the bitterly cynical Everybody Loves You Now.” AMG

There were also some “flawed but nicely crafted songs that illustrated Joel’s gift for melody, as well as his pretensions” AMG such as “the mock-gospel in Tomorrow Is Today [and] a classical stab entitled Nocturne.” AMG Overall, though, the album was weighed down by “an overabundance of simpy ballads in which his pugnacious appeal was buried in lyrics about ‘misty satin dreams’ and too many references to crying.” DB

“Ironically, it didn't sound right upon its original release. Through a bizarre mastering error, the tapes were sped up – legend has it that upon hearing the completed album, he ripped it off the turntable, ran out of the house, and threw it down the street. It wasn't until 1983 that Columbia released a corrected reissue.” AMG

There were also some drastically edited songs. “You Can Make Me Free, one of the standouts, was chopped by nearly five minutes and instruments and backing vocals were stripped away from numerous tracks. It may be a bastardization of the original release, but it's an acceptable one, since these changes only accentuate the intimacy and vulnerability of the recording.” AMG

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