Billy Joel Almost Didn’t Record One of His Biggest Hits [VIDEO]
Billy Joel almost didn’t record one of his biggest hits, and the song that is credited with saving his nearly floundering career. In an article he wrote for Rolling Stone, Joel talks about his days with Phil Ramone, who recently passed away.
While Ramone was the only producer at the time who would allow Billy Joel to record with his rough and tumble road band of Long Islanders, he was also the one who had to convince Joel to include “Just the Way You Are” on the record the Stranger.
As Joel wrote for Rolling Stone:
He really had to convince me. One day we were in the studio and he goes out and comes back in with Linda Ronstadt and Phoebe Snow. He goes, “I’m gonna play you a song.” I’m sitting there, and I’m looking bummed out, he says, “What’s the matter?” I say, “I don’t like this song, I don’t think I’m gonna put it on the album.” And he knew that they were gonna like the song, before they even heard it. It’s a girls song. They heard the song, and Linda Ronstadt goes, “Are you crazy? That’s a great song!” And Phoebe says, “You gotta put that on the album!” I was like, “Really?” I hadn’t really had a woman’s input. And Linda Ronstadt was pretty cute. I said, “Oh Linda Ronstadt likes it? Okay!”
“Just the Way You Are” restarted Billy’s career, which had by then pretty much stalled. It became his first top 10 hit and his first gold single, and eventually won Grammys for Record and Song of the Year.