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December 6, 2013 / thackersam

December 5 – Billy Joel – The Stranger

This is my only Billy Joel album. This and the previously discussed Hassles record. I know. I should be ashamed of myself, right?

So many Billy Joel things I could write about, but regarding this album I will start by weighing in on the “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” controversy. What controversy, you may be asking. Even though he has said that the restaurant was a conglomerate, we Syosseters know that the main impetus was Christiano’s, which had the best pizza going. I remember as a little girl, Jimmy Christiano showing me how the dollar bills got onto the ceiling. It’s an old bar trick using tape and a quarter and a good flipping technique. In those days, Christiano’s was as much about the bar as it was the restaurant. For me, it has both fond and unfond memories as during my high school years one could often find my mother on one of the bar stools. Though Christiano’s doubled in size, it is still there in its original location. I have been there a couple of time in recent years and still enjoyed it, but was dismayed to find this article just now from this past August.

To segue back to Billy Joel, my mother’s favorite song of his was “Only the Good Die Young.” She had been a Catholic girl and her middle name was Virginia. She left the Church as soon as she turned 21. We watched him together on Saturday Night Live in 1978, during which he performed this song and “Just the Way You Are,” both from The Stranger. Mostly though, we were thrilled to see our former neighbor Doug Stegmeyer playing bass.

I’ve heard stories about Billy Joel showing up at Cagney’s in Pine Hollow, I believe between marriages, staying long enough to pick up a girl and leave. I frequented Cagney’s, a small bar with a lot of regulars during those years and never saw the guy, though I kind of doubt I would have left with him if asked. But who knows. It’s a moot point anyway.

Doug’s on the left in the photo from the back of the album.


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