Thirty years ago, Billy Joel released what he said would be his final album, The River Of Dreams. A lot of artists announce “final” albums. Billy Joel actually stuck with it…at least as of now. He’s released a handful of new songs in the years since. Recently, Joel released the moving ballad “Turn the Lights Back On.” He then returned to the stage at the Grammy Awards for the first time in 30 years and performed his new song. The Piano Man was met with a standing ovation.
While there have been some fans who want more new music from him, Billy seemed to be aware that he’d said everything he wanted to say: In “Famous Last Words,” the last song on The River of Dreams, he sings, “And these are the last words I have to say/It’s always hard to say goodbye/But now it’s time to put this book away.”
The lack of new material hasn’t slowed him down as a performer. He still headlines arenas and stadiums, and is now wrapping up his years-long residency at Madison Square Garden, where he’s been playing a show per month (not including during the pandemic) since January 2014.
The final show of the MSG residency has been officially set for July 25, 2024. During a June 2023 press conference about the end of his residency, “I’m kind of flabbergasted that it lasted as long as it did. My team tells me that we could continue to sell tickets, but ten years … 150 shows — all right already!”
But his twelve albums have an embarrassment of riches: he’s had over thirty top 40 hits. But his album tracks and deep cuts have some true jewels as well.
So here, we’re attempting to rank his best songs: some of the bigger singles didn’t make our list. But some deep cuts did: if you’re not familiar with them, check them out now, and thank us later.
(BI)=Written by Brian Ives
(EB)= Written by Erica Banas