Top Artists – Billy Joel

Billy Joel – An Innocent Man – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

More Billy Joel

An Innocent Man

xxxxx

A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

On many pressings, the vocals can get hard and harsh on the uptempo tracks (“Uptown Girl” is a notable offender, and never sounds quite as good as the rest of the album), but this copy manages to fix that problem (mostly) without sacrificing transparency or top end. 

Both of these sides easily defeated all comers in our shootout. They have the huge soundstage and startlingly clarity and immediacy that characterizes this album, but they also add an ingredient missing from most we heard — a full, rich, musical midrange! On many pressings, the vocals can get hard and harsh on the uptempo tracks (“Uptown Girl” is a notable offender, and never sounds QUITE as good as the rest of the album), but this copy manages to fix that problem with no sacrifice in transparency or top end. They just don’t get any better than this one, folks. (more…)

Billy Joel – Glass Houses – Our Shootout Winner from 2014

More Billy Joel

Glass Houses

xxx

A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

A truly stunning copy of one of Billy Joel’s best-loved albums! We recently finished a massive shootout for Billy Joel’s hard-rockin 1980 release and most copies were pretty dreadful. Thankfully for us (and the Billy Joel fans out there) we managed to find a few copies that really work! This one absolutely nails it — they just don’t get much better than this, folks. 

Most of the copies we’re played were pinched in the midrange, which gave a hard, unpleasant copy to the vocals. Many pressings lack the kind of top end extension that helps the music come out of the speakers and gives it the energy it needs to rock. And make no mistake — this album NEEDS to rock for these songs to work. This is probably the most pure rock and roll album Billy Joel ever put out, and it’s a shame to hear these songs fall flat when they run into the problems of the typical pressing. The copies that keep you engaged are the Hot Stampers, plain and simple. Unfortunately, most copies won’t get you there.

If you’ve enjoyed a 52nd Street Hot Stamper from us, or just happen to be a huge fan of this album (and I certainly know there are more than a few of those out there) I imagine you will be very happy with the sound here! Leave the grueling work of huge shootouts to your friends at Better Records, and spend your free time enjoying great sound… not searching for it. (more…)

Billy Joel – Songs in the Attic – CBS Half-Speed Debunked

More Billy Joel

More Songs in the Attic

xxxxx

Sonic Grade: F

Hall of Shame pressing and another Half Speed debunked.

Records with too much bass and especially too much top end can’t be played loud. The louder you play them the worse they sound. Try playing the average MoFi at a loud volume. All that extra 10k starts to make your brain hurt. The CBS half-speed of this album is like that. It’s frustrating — the music makes you want to turn it up but the sound says forget it. Not the good pressings. They sounds BETTER when you play them loud.  

Billy Joel – The Stranger – Our Shootout Winner from 2008

More Billy Joel

The Strangere

xxx

A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

THE BEST SOUNDING COPY OF THE STRANGER THAT WE’VE EVER HEARD! We just finished a major shootout for this album, and no copy came close to this bad boy. Side one has incredibly lively, MASTER TAPE quality sound, and side two isn’t far behind. (more…)

Letter of the Week – Billy Joel

Billy Joel

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom,  

Hey, I think you guys made a mistake! The card states A+, but I think you gave me an A++++ ! I was never a huge Billy Joel fan, but to get that Hot Stamper for 50 bucks; well I had to go for it. I was not disappointed: tremendous power especially in the bass, but his voice came through like he was standing there. It’s just so damn musical. Oh, and dead quiet too! This is my new “demo disk”. 

Thanks,

Gordon R.

Billy Joel – Piano Man – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

More Billy Joel

Piano Man

xxxxx

A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This is the first Super Hot Stamper copy of Billy Joel’s classic Piano Man to ever hit the site! We’ve been trying to find great copies of this one for ages, but it is TOUGH. This copy gets you much better sound than most of them out there — it’s cleaner, clearer and more open with the kind of vocal presence needed to make the title track come to life. So many copies we played were thin, dry and grainy — sonic issues that really gets in the way of enjoying this music.

The vocals are full-bodied and breathy, the bottom end is clean and punchy, and there’s more richness than we heard on practically any of the other copies we played. The overall sound is very lively – you’ll have a very hard time finding a copy that sounds remotely as good. (more…)

Billy Joel – Songs in the Attic- Listening in Depth

More Billy Joel

More Songs in the Attic

xxxxx

Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series.

You know how you can tell when you have a Hot Stamper? It’s the side you play through to the end. When the sound is right you want to hear more. Since the opening track of this record is one of the keys to knowing whether it’s mastered and pressed properly, once you get past the sibilance hurdle on track one, the next step is to find out how the challenges presented by the rest of the tracks are handled on any given LP. Some advice follows.  (more…)

Billy Joel – Songs in the Attic – Our Shootout Winner from 2007

More Billy Joel

More Songs in the Attic

xxxxx

A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

DEMO DISC LIVE ROCK CONCERT SOUND, Baby! This one has it ALL. The sound has so many wonderful ANALOG qualities when you get a good copy — the hash and hardness of the typical pressing just disappears, leaving surprisingly transparent and sweet sound on virtually every track. The WHOMP FACTOR here is off the scale. There are few studio recordings that have these kinds of dynamics. We forget how compressed most of them are. It takes a record like this to show you how much LIFE there is in LIVE MUSIC. (more…)

Billy Joel – 52nd Street

More Billy Joel

52nd Street

xxxxx

A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Both of these copies have one killer A+++ side and one that just didn’t impress us, so we’ve paired them up to give you the best sound we possibly can for the entire album! This is in our opinion the Best Sounding Billy Joel Album, and when you hear this pressing you’ll understand exactly why. Super open and transparent with real detail and texture, they just don’t get any better than this. (more…)

Billy Joel – Streetlife Serenade

More Billy Joel

Streetlife Serenade

xxxxx

A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Two big and solid Triple Plus sides, the best we’ve heard in years. Los Angelenos and The Entertainer both sound wonderful on this copy. Most copies won’t come close in terms of energy, transparency, punch or presence.  

The best copy to hit the site in many years! The sound here is clean and clear with a punchy bottom end. There’s lots of energy here and the piano sounds correct. This copy will show you what this music can sound like when mastered and pressed correctly. (more…)