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Glass Houses - A Billy Joel Podcast

EP 073 – Glass Houses Playlist #6 – Thundercats (Larry & Anthony’s Song)

Did you know there’s a connection between Billy Joel and one of the most popular cartoons of the 1980s? 

We didn’t know either until a few weeks ago. 

Recently, Michael and I interviewed Larry Franke, who was second engineer on Songs in the Attic and the Nylon Curtain. During the conversation, Larry mentioned that, after working with Billy and Phil Ramone, he worked on the cartoon Thundercats, which ran in syndication from 1985 to 1989. 

During the show’s run, that cartoon was about as big a deal to me as Billy Joel – maybe even more (Hey, I was in elementary school). 

And, hearing that Larry was an integral part of one of my favorite childhood shows meant I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hear more about it. 

We’ll hear Larry’s memories of working with Billy in a few weeks. For my playlist episode this year, however, I’m doing something a little different. 

Instead of playing songs I worked on or by artists I really enjoy, I spoke with Larry and Anthony Gioveniello, who was on the production staff and occasionally directed episodes, about how they put together 130 episodes over four years. 

If you’re around my age and remember rushing home from school every afternoon to catch the latest adventures on Third Earth, you’ll love this intimate look at how a piece of your childhood was made. 

And, even if you’re too young, or too old, or just weren’t into the show, you’ll still enjoy the stories, behind-the-scenes information, and the memories of how important the show was for Larry and Anthony – not only for their careers, but also for the fun they had and the close friends they made during the show’s run. 


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Produced by Michael Grosvenor & Jack Firneno for Groove Music Marketing


EP 072 – Billy Joel Live At Yankee Stadium (Unboxing + Track By Track Overview)

Filmed over two nights in June 1990, Live at Yankee Stadium was a hit on VHS and on cable TV upon its release later that year. But, it’s been overlooked in the decades after, with only a handful of songs available and a production style that quickly felt dated.



But, that’s all changed with a deluxe release in the fall of 2022. Fans got to see a newly-edited version of the film in theaters, complete with footage of an unreleased song. That new cut is now available on Blu-ray with a 2CD set featuring those tracks plus 11 never-before-heard performances from the historic two night stand. The full, 22-song live album is also out as a 3LP vinyl set. 



Over the summer, we spoke with director Jon Small and producer Steve Cohen about the making of the original film and the story behind its reimagining. Now, we’re getting the full picture with the official, updated release. 



In this episode, we’ll recount our unboxing of the Blu-ray + 2CD package and vinyl edition. Then, we’ll share our comments and observations on each song in the 22-track set. 



Join us as we dig deep into the remixed, remastered, and expanded version of Billy Joel: Live At Yankee Stadium.





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Produced by Michael Grosvenor & Jack Firneno for Groove Music Marketing




EP 071 – Michael & Jack Meet + Conversation with Russell Javors & Dan Orlando

This episode is all about meeting new people in the Billy Joel world. 


First, we’re telling the story of when we, your hosts, finally met after recording virtually for nearly three years. We’ve hinted at it online and some listeners asked about it. So, we thought we’d tell the story here along with our memories of seeing the new Live At Yankee Stadium sneak preview in Sag Harbor this summer 


Then, we’re speaking with Dan Orlando and Russell Javors. Dan is currently the piano player and singer for the Lords of 52nd Street. After a few gigs at the end of 2019, he’s played regularly with the band since venues began re-opening in 2021. 


Join us for two stories about newcomers, new connections,  and new experiences.





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Produced by Michael Grosvenor & Jack Firneno for Groove Music Marketing




EP 070 – Concert Classics: Roxy Theatre – Northampton, PA – November 28, 1973

There are make-or-break moments in every successful musician’s career. Sometimes they’re huge, cataclysmic events. Other times, they’re subtle nods that point a performer in the right direction. 

For Billy Joel, a pair of shows in November of 1973 was the latter. And, we have the tapes to prove it. Piano Man had just been released, and Billy was grinding out dates opening for the Beach Boys and the Doobie Brothers. 

Being an opening act wasn’t suiting Billy, so he took up a local DJ on his offer to play a show at the Roxy Theatre in Northampton Pennsylvania, a few miles north of Allentown. 

By all known accounts, it would be his first time headlining a theater. And, put into the context of his career up to that point, it’s safe to say that this engagement informed his business strategy, as well as some of his song material, afterward. 

The DJ, Denny Somach, recorded the shows and rediscovered the tapes a few years ago. He made four of the songs available on YouTube, including one that was never released on an album. 

As intriguing as these early renditions are, the big draw here is Billy’s off the cuff comments that reveal much about his career and outlook up to this point. 

In this episode, we’re exploring both the songs and the conversation on the Roxy tapes. We also spoke with Denny Somach and also Rick Wolfe, who worked at the theater during those concerts and is still there today. 

We also spoke with Denny Somach to learn more about the events leading up to the shows. 

Join us, as we dig deep into the audio artifacts of Billy Joel’s first headlining theater engagement.


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EP 069 – Billy Joel In Pop Culture (Part 1)

For someone who hasn’t released an album in nearly 30 years, Billy Joel is all over the TV. His music, his touring band, and his likeness get featured regularly on sitcoms, primetime dramas, prestige shows, and cartoons made for, for lack of a better word, mature audiences. 



These pop culture references have helped keep Billy in the public eye for the last few decades. They also reveal a lot about how the public’s perception of him has evolved over that time. 



And, a lot of them are just pretty damn funny. 


Join us as we dive deep into just a handful of Billy Joel references in pop culture.




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EP 068 – Album Retrospective: The Nylon Curtain

The Nylon Curtain wasn’t nearly as popular as Billy Joel’s albums just before and after this release. But, it still spawned a handful of hits, classics, and perennial fan favorites and concert staples. And today, it’s regarded by fans and critics as Billy’s most accomplished artistic statement.


Released in 1982, The Nylon Curtain came just after the string of smash hit albums from The Stranger in 1977 through Glass Houses in 1980, and the live Songs In the Attic that rewrote his early work.


And, it was released less than a year before An Innocent Man would race up the charts and capture a new generation of fans.


In contrast to the harder-edged rock of Glass Houses and the bouncy fun of An Innocent Man, The Nylon Curtain is a thoughtful, occasionally dark, and sonically adventurous affair.


It’s often lauded as his most Beatlesque album. And, it’s certainly one of Billy’s most thoughtful releases as he tackles war, aging, and social dilemmas throughout its nine songs.


Join us as we take a long look behind The Nylon Curtain




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EP 067 – Year In Review: 1978

Even when looking at five decades of songwriting, album releases and concerts, 1978 stands as arguably the busiest, most successful, and most defining year of Billy Joel’s career.


The year began with the smash hit album The Stranger still racing up the charts after its release the previous fall. 

12 months later, Billy would wrap up 1978 with a string of hit songs, gold and platinum albums and singles, dozens of reviews, interviews and media appearances and tour dates around the world. 


And, of course, he would also release 52nd Street, an album that rivals even The Stranger in terms of album sales, hit songs, fan reception, and accolades. 


There’s a lot to cover in the year that laid the foundation for the next two decades of Billy Joel’s music. 


Join us as we dig deep into Billy Joel in 1978.





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EP 066 – Billy Joel Live At Yankee Stadium (with Steve Cohen & Jon Small)

This fall, an often-overlooked live Billy Joel release is getting a second lease on life. 


The 1990 video release Live At Yankee Stadium is getting a makeover with remixed and remastered sound, an extra song, and a brand new edit. And, after a limited run in theaters, it’ll be available on Blu-ray along with a 2-CD or 3-LP release featuring 11 never before released performances. 


While the Yankee Stadium home video was a hit after its release, it’s been largely overlooked in the decades after that. It came on the heels of the definitive Live From Long Island in 1982 and the historically seismic Russia shows in 1987. 


Those live releases featured mostly members of Billy’s longtime core band. Later, 2006’s 12 Gardens Live and Live At Shea Stadium, released in 2011, spotlighted a lineup that’s gone largely unchanged since then. 


By contrast, Live at Yankee Stadium features a transitional lineup. And, it didn’t help that the fast cuts and frenetic camera angles locked it squarely as an early-90s MTV relic. 


But that’s changing with this new release. The longer cuts and enhanced sound give the entire production a more organic and immersive feel. And, the accompanying audio discs reveal even more of Billy’s two-night stand. 


To learn more about the new release, we spoke with Steve Cohen, Billy’s longtime lighting director and producer of the re-released film. And with director and original producer Jon Small, who’s worked with Billy since the late 60s and has either directed or collaborated on virtually every Billy Joel concert film or music video. 


They gave us an amazing behind-the-scenes look at the making of the original film, the inspiration for its reimagining, and the process of bringing it back to life. 


Join us as we dig deep into the original Live At Yankee Stadium and the story behind its new look and sound.




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EP 065 – Concert Classics: Live in London, 1984

By 1984, Billy Joel was known for changing styles from album to album. What’s less recognized was how often he changed voices. And, one night that year in England, those voices were all on display. 


Close listening to any Billy Joel record reveals a variety of tones, accents, and affectations in the singing. Add to that the many impressions he’s done over the years in interviews and concerts. 


Many of them were on display, and front and center, when BIlly and the band took the stage at Wembley Arena in June of 1984. Deep into the An Innocent Man tour, the concert was simulcast on radio and television in Europe. 


As a result of it being broadcast, the mix is often more dry and a little muted with the singing more prominent than usual. At the same time, Billy seemed to be leaning into the many different vocal affectations more often than usual. 


The concert itself is a great performance, with the band augmented by a horn section and a guest star and a baby on the way. But in particular, it’s an excellent showcase for Billy’s so-called rubber voice. 


Join us, as we dig deep into Billy Joel at Wembley Arena in 1984.




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EP 064 – Billy Joel 1980-1984 TV Appearances (Part 2)

This is the second installment of our two-part series covering Billy Joel’s television appearances from 1980 through 1984. While the bulk of the spots we’ve covered so far found him promoting The Nylon Curtain, the latter batch has him on the promotional trail for the An Innocent Man album and addressing his tabloid notoriety with then-girlfriend, soon-to-be wife Christie Brinkley. 


Join us as we continue digging deep into Billy Joel’s television appearances from 1980 to 1984.


Watch the videos HERE.




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EP 063 – Billy Joel Back Covers Ranked

If people used to buy albums for the front cover, then they got to know the music at home while checking out the back.


The flip side of a record jacket should complement the album and front artwork while giving listeners more to explore as they listened at home. 


Billy’s albums are no exception. While there’s plenty of variety on his front covers, the back covers are surprisingly uniform. 


Still, there’s plenty of insight into the state of BIlly’s career, and plenty to discuss about the artwork, when it comes to his back covers. 


In this episode, we’re ranking 15 of Billy’s back covers. We’re discussing the designs, how they represented the music inside the sleeve, and which ones we just preferred the most. 


Join us, as we go skin deep in our rankings of Billy Joel’s back cover artwork.




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EP 062 – Billy Joel 1980-1984 TV Appearances (Part 1)

By 1980. Billy Joel was ready for prime time. Starting with a feature on 20/20 during the lead up to Glass Houses,  he graduated  from just playing a song or two on a talk show to getting regular MTV spotlights, being the subject of news features, and appearing on morning shows for a week at a time. 

As Billy’s popularity reached its peak, he also honed his interview style. Over multiple appearances, he develops his stories, talking points and jokes, and refines them over time. 

The second half of the 80s would find him coasting on the new media personality he developed, even as his band, personal, and business relationships got rocky. But at the start of the decade, Billy was riding high on the small screen. 

Join us as we dig deep into Billy Joel’s television appearances from 1980 to 1984.

Watch the videos HERE.


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EP 061 – Glass Houses Playlist #5 – The Nylon Curtain Live Through The Years

When Billy Joel’s The Nylon Curtain was released into the world in the fall of 1982, it was considered one of his most ambitious albums to date. 


Despite the rich layer and textures of the album’s sonic landscape, many of the songs translated to a live setting with apparent ease. The Nylon Curtain saw our first glimpse of many of these songs on stage. While the singles “Allentown,” “Pressure,” and “Goodnight Saigon” quickly became staples, the remaining 6 would become the elusive deep cut that would be a treat on the rare occasions they’d make their way to a setlist.


For this playlist episode, Michael is presenting The Nylon Curtain Live Through The Years… in album sequence, hear the entire album spanning nearly 40 years of live performances.


Track listing:

  1. Allentown (Live From Long Island – December 29, 1982 – Uniondale, NY – Nassau Coliseum)
  2. Laura (12 Gardens Live – Spring 2006 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden)
  3. Pressure (Live At Yankee Stadium – June 1990 – Bronx, NY – Yankee Stadium)
  4. Goodnight Saigon (Концерт – Live in the U.S.S.R – Summer 1987)
  5. She’s Right On Time (December 20, 2021 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden)
  6. A Room of Our Own (12 Gardens Live – Spring 2006 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden)
  7. Surprises (March 21, 2014 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden)
  8. Scandinavian Skies (Live From Long Island – December 29, 1982 – Uniondale, NY – Nassau Coliseum)
  9. Where’s The Orchestra? (MTV Night School – Fall 1982)





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EP 060 – MTV Night School 1982

Years before Billy Joel started doing master classes, and long before MTV stopped showing music videos, there was Night School. 

Broadcast in late 1982, Night School was a half-hour show on MTV where Billy fielded questions from an audience of young fans. Fresh off the success of The Nylon Curtain, he tells stories, gives some behind-the-scenes glimpses of the music industry and, of course, plays      piano. 

The program turned out to be a one-off event. There was never a second episode or another version with a different host or musician. At the time, MTV was a new and untested concept, and Night School is a relic of when the channel was at its most daring and experimental. 

The show is a diamond in the rough for Billy Joel fans. It’s currently only available on YouTube and it doesn’t get much mention in fan forums, biographies, or any official publications. 

But, it features Billy in a great mood, cracking jokes and telling stories he’d refine and rehash for later interviews. It’s a rare, candid insight to the artist, in between the release of his most artistically ambitious album and just before the lighter, more pop-oriented An Innocent Man would launch him into the next level of superstardom with a new generation of fans. 

Join us as we dig deep into Billy Joel’s MTV Night School from 1982. 


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EP 059 – Video Retrospective: The Video Album Volume I

Billy Joel may not be the first artist that comes to mind when you think of MTV. But, he was making music videos before the landmark cable channel got its start in 1981. 


A close look at those videos reveals the progression of the medium as it became more popular, more stylized, and more important as the decade went on. 


A handful of those videos were released on home video in 1986 as Billy Joel: The Video Album Volume 1 and 2.


The first volume features 10 videos covering songs from 1973’s Piano Man through The Bridge album in 1986. 


And, they run the gamut from pre-MTV promotional videos and bare-bones performances of hit songs, to surreal and conceptual visual re-imaginings of Billy’s songs. 


There’s a lot to unpack as different directors put their stamp on various eras of Billy’s music. We get behind-the-scenes glimpses of the musicians and close readings of their performances. And, different angles on classic songs. 


Join us, as we dig deep into Billy Joel: The Video Album Volume I.

Watch the music videos featured on The Video Album Volume I.

Music Videos:

  • Piano Man
  • All For Leyna
  • Tell Her About It
  • Honesty
  • Sometimes a Fantasy
  • The Night Is Still Young
  • Pressure
  • Stiletto / My Life
  • Keeping The Faith
  • A Matter of Trust





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EP 058 – Year In Review: 1969

1969 should have been the year Billy Joel broke through. Today, we know it would be another few years before his solo career began, and a few more after that until things really took off. 


Instead, the end of the decade saw his longtime band put out a second album that went nowhere. Then, the duo he formed after barely got off the ground. 


It must have felt like an anticlimactic end to a decade that saw Billy’s career gaining momentum over the previous five years. Especially without the knowledge of what was ahead. 


Now, in hindsight, 1969 holds few clues to Billy’s work in the decades to come. Apart from a few interesting press clips and a couple notable encounters, there’s not much on the record. 


We may get more information on this part of Billy Joel’s history in the form of a new biopic that’s now in pre-production. But for now, 1969 feels like a footnote at the beginning of the big story we all know today. 


Join us, as we dig into Billy Joel in 1969, and the news of a movie that may explore that period even further. 






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EP 057 – Concert Classics: Kirin Dry Gigs ’88 – Tokyo, Japan

With the appearance of the Kirin Dry Gigs from 1988 appearing on YouTube earlier this year, a long-lost footnote in Billy Joel history has finally resurfaced. 


This one-off gig in Japan finds Billy performing with just one member of his longtime touring band. They’re joined by players who performed on other tours in the 80s, musicians who would go on to tour with Billy in support of Storm Front, and a few guests who would only share the stage this one time. 


That combination of musicians makes BIlly’s only major concert appearance from this year a unique and intriguing listen. The arrangements stay close to the Bridge tour and Russia shows, but streamline in places and stray in others. 


And, the discerning ear may even notice a mistake or two from the temporary ensemble. 


Join us, as we dig deep into BIlly’s show at the Tokyo Domein Japan on July 24, 1988.


Date: July 14, 1988
City/Country: Tokyo, Japan
Venue: Tokyo Dome
Event/Festival: Kirin Dry Gigs ’88


The band:

  • Billy Joel – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Guitar
  • Liberty DeVitto – Drums
  • David Lebolt – Keyboards
  • Schuyler Deale – Bass
  • Peter Hewlett – Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
  • John McCurry – Lead Guitar
  • Eric Bazilian – Saxophone


The Setlist: 

  1. A Matter of Trust
  2. Pressure
  3. Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)
  4. Honesty
  5. The Stranger
  6. An Innocent Man
  7. Big Man On Mulberry Street
  8. Only The Good Die Young
  9. It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me
  10. You May Be Right
  11. Big Shot
  12. My Life
  13. Keeping The Fatih
  14. Back In The U.S.S.R.
  15. I Saw Her Standing There





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EP 056 – Reimagining The Nylon Curtain with Johnny Lied

The Covid-19 pandemic and quarantines of 2020 caused disruptions in the music industry that we’re still feeling a few years later. But while we’re fortunate that the lack of live music will fade into memory, the releases of quarantine albums may very well add up to an interesting reflection of these unprecedented times. 

With no opportunities to tour and limits on how and when musicians could gather to write and record songs, many artists created and recorded music in isolation. Or collaborated remotely to produce new music. 

One of those projects was Johnny Lied, a collaboration between two longtime friends. Jon Herchert, a veteran Minnesota musician and accomplished producer John Fields used their time in 2020 to reimagine classic albums. 

Their second effort was a full rearrangement and recording of Billy Joel’s The Nylon Curtain. The song-by-song remake stripped down Billy’s most meticulously-orchestrated album and built it back with entirely new instrumentation and perspective. 

The duo released a song a week with accompanying videos on YouTube. As the last track hit the internet, we sat down with Herchert and Fields to learn about why they chose this album, how they recorded separately from each other, and how they see the album as relevant to the world today. 

Along the way, we also talked about the state of the music industry today and got a glimpse of the Midwest rock scene. 

Join us as we dig deep into a unique reimagining of The Nylon Curtain.

Listen to / watch Johnny Lied’s unique take on The Nylon Curtain.


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EP 055 – 2008 Tour, Walmart Vinyl, Billy Joel & Metallica Vegas Weekend

2022 is turning out to be a big year for Billy Joel. Just by the end of February, fans enjoyed a unique weekend of music in a city where Billy doesn’t often play. And, new vinyl releases expanding on last year’s box set, include an album few fans have ever owned on vinyl before. 

We’re covering these events in this episode while also looking at a much quieter, often overlooked point in Billy’s career: his 2008 tour of Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.

By the end of the new century’s first decade. Billy’s career appeared to be winding down. It’d been seven years since his last release of new music, and 15 since his last pop album. And, his touring schedule was dwindling with fewer dates each year. 

Billy would hit the road again with Elton John in 2009. For this year, however, fans would only get a handful of television appearances and a run of tour dates on the other side of the world from his home on Long Island.

He’d still be years away from the Garden residency that fueled a renewed interest in his live performances and a critical reassessment of his place in pop culture history. For those keeping score 14 years ago,  it may have looked like his number was up. 

But, as we’ve seen just by the news this year, Billy still had a lot to offer. 

Join us, as we recap the last few weeks of Billy Joel news, and dig deep into his 2008 tour.


Michael’s  Billy Joel Walmart Vinyl Unboxing Video

Michael’s guest appearance on Metal Up Your Podcast



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EP 054 – Album Retrospective: Piano Man

Billy Joel’s second solo album included his most iconic song. And the one that provided his breakthrough success and pointed the way for his post-West Coast work. But surrounding the title track and “Captain Jack” are the sounds of a songwriter still finding his way. Fortunately for us, that path is still pretty exciting. 


Released in 1973, Piano Man lays much of the blueprint for the hits to come. We hear great melodies, virtuosic piano playing, and a variety of styles. There’s also that flair for theatrical drama that earned him just as many comparisons to Great American Songbook-style writing as it did to rock and roll. 


But, there are also country and gospel elements that Joel would soon abandon. And, the lyrical and songwriting skills that would provide him with dozens of hit records later were still developing here. 


In fact, as we’ll learn, it was once slated to be his last album for a major label instead of the start of his ascent to global superstardom. 


Despite all this, Piano Man is a record filled with big hits, classic songs, and fan favorites. And, it was an important step toward the turns Billy’s career would take in just a few short years. 


Join us as we dig deep into Billy Joel’s major-label solo debt, Piano Man.




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EP 053 – Year In Review: 1997

For Billy Joel, or at least his record label, 1997 seems to be a year of acknowledgement. It had been four years since his last album, and since then Billy had been telling anyone who’d listen that he was finished writing pop songs. 


Now, it seemed like Columbia Records was ready to accept that – on their terms, of course. 


1997 saw the release of Billy Joel: Greatest Hits Volume III and a companion VHS and DVD release of his music videos from the same era. Then came a box-set-style release of all three Greatest Hits editions. 


Meanwhile, Billy hit the press circuit to promote Volume III and the cover songs he recorded for it. Along the way, we get hints and clues to projects he’d develop early the next decade. And, in lieu of touring, fans got his VH1 “Behind The Music” and Storytellers episodes. 


All this pointed the way for how Billy would handle the next phase of his career. And how his record label would make the most of its assets. 


Join us as we dive deep into Billy Joel in 1997.




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EP 052 – In Conversation with Billy Joel Art Director Edward O’Dowd

If you’ve gone to one of Billy Joel’s Madison Square Garden residency shows, saw one of his concerts near your hometown, or picked up any of his reissues or box sets over the past decade plus, then you’re familiar with the work of Edward O’Dowd. 

Since 2008, the graphic designer and art director has created the iconic logos Billy uses for tour dates, show announcements, and album covers. He’s responsible for the “live” logo where photos of Billy are in the letters of his name as well as tour books and the Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden logo. 

On record, he was instrumental in creating the Bridge to Russia cover and design as well as the Stranger and Piano Man box set concepts and designs. Most recently, he designed the booklet that accompanies the Vinyl Collection Volume One and carefully recreated each album’s original artwork and liner notes. 

For this episode, we spoke with Edward O’Dowd about how he came to work with Billy. And the stories behind both creating new imagery for Joel’s work and recreating the classics. 

O’Dowd tells us about the craft behind his work, the inspiration for the designs, and the state of the music industry in general. The conversation also celebrates the life of the late Jeff Schock, an important figure in Billy’s camp and with whom O’Dowd was close on both personal and professional levels. 

Join us, as we dive deep into the man behind Billy Joel’s newest t-shirts, album covers, tour books, and more. 


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EP 051 – Billy Joel Album Covers Ranked

Whoever said, “You can’t judge a book by its cover” never had to design the front of a rock and roll album. Before the internet put all the music in the world at everyone’s fingertips, that front cover first served as a siren call to anyone browsing in a record store. 


Then, when you sat down and listened to the songs while checking out the artwork and liner notes, that image had to complement and enhance what you were hearing. 


The best album covers worked hand-in-hand with the music to bring each fan a full, exuberant, multi-sensory experience. The worst, well, the songs better be great. 


Billy Joel was no exception to this rule. And, like the songs underneath them, each album cover was distinctly different from the ones before and after it. 


For this episode, we’re diving only skin-deep into 15 of Billy’s albums. This time around, the subject is only their covers: Which ones were great, which ones were so-so, and which were flops. 


Join us as we rank the artwork of Billy Joel’s most significant records.




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EP 050 – Havana Jam ’79 (with documentarian Ernesto Juan)

Spread over three days in Cuba, the Havana Jam ‘79 featured Columbia recording artists alongside native musicians and bands. It was a monumental, historic event that hardly anyone knows about anymore. 


But Ernesto Juan knows the story. And, he’s been trying to tell it for the past decade. 


The Cuban-born journalist, documentarian and translator became engrossed with the festival around the time of its 30th anniversary in 2009. Since then, he’s been collecting interviews and footage with plans to release a feature-length film about the event. 


He’s also spoken at length with one of the concert’s biggest names: Billy Joel. And, Ernesto has near-exclusive audio recordings of the performance that hardly anyone knew existed. 


Right before Billy and the band took the stage, Elizabeth Joel, Billy’s wife and manager at the time, ordered Columbia Records personnel to turn off all audio and visual recording. But, two bootleg copies exist, and both found their way to Ernesto. 


Since then, he’s been flying all over the world gathering more first hand accounts and documents from an unprecedented three days of performances by American recording artists in Communist Cuba. 


But the story goes well beyond the concert. In our own interview, Ernesto also talks about how Western music was villainized by Fidel Castro and his followers, but sought out by many others. He gives his perspective and memories of his homeland along with long-forgotten lore about the Havana Jam and striking up a friendship with Billy Joel. 


In this special episode of Glass Houses – A Billy Joel Podcast, Ernesto Juan joins us as we dig deep into Havana Jam ‘79, and what life was like decades ago in Cuba.


Havana Jam Links:
ZuDhan Productions Website
Contact: [email protected]
Havana Jam ’79 on Facebook




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EP 049 – 2021 Odds & Ends (with Liberty DeVitto & Jesse Javors)

Sometimes the best part about the holidays are the leftovers. Picking at the feast you just enjoyed the day before can taste better than when it was just cooked.


And, as the 2021 holiday season wraps up, we’re bringing you a second helping of Glass Houses – A Billy Joel Podcast.


It’s been an amazing year for us, and with all the great topics and interviews we touched on, not everything made it into the episodes you’ve heard so far. 


So, we’re bringing you interview excerpts, extraneous conversations, and a few extra emails from listeners that didn’t make it onto the show. 


There’s plenty of gravy to go around, so sit back and unbutton your pants as we throw some turkey legs and mashed potatoes in the microwave with our first-ever, end-of-the-year, odds-and-ends episode.




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EP 048 – Glass Houses Playlist #4

Once again, we’re taking a break from Billy — mostly, anyway — during those weird weeks between Thanksgiving and the winter holidays to bring you some different music.


Jack’s at the board with a playlist that’s split into three categories.


First up is “I’ve Loved These Days.” It’s a somewhat tongue-in-cheek way of looking at artists who spent 2020 writing new music that got released in 2021.


Next is “My Life.”which is a collection of songs featuring Jack on drums.


Finally, Jack spotlights great new music from today’s artists in “Keepin’ the Faith.” Because the good ole days weren’t always good, and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.


I’ve Loved These Days

Interview: Mariel Beamount

“Dune” by Church Girls

“Look Out Desdemona” by Joe Pug

“All My Love” by Carsie Blanton

“I Can’t Wait To Break Your Heart,” by Carsie Blanton

“Working All the Time” by Xenia Rubinos


My Life

“Faded Flowers (alternate version)” by The Yarrows

Listen to the official version here.

“Loaded” by Dime Street Joker

“I Will” by Cicada Jade

“Maybe You Forgot” by Chris Trainor


Keeping the Faith

“The Other Day” by Bees!





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EP 047 – Russell Javors Part 2 (in conversation with Russell Javors)

Welcome back to our two-part series on Russell Javors. As the rhythm guitarist for Billy Joel, Russell was a fixture in Billy’s band on record and on stage for much of their storied run from 1976’s Turnstiles through 1986’s The Bridge. 


His playing was always understated and in service to the song, but at the same time an integral part of each track. And, he’s a celebrated songwriter in his own right, contributing to artists including Karen Carpenter and Phoebe Snow.


In our last episode, we spoke to Russell’s longtime bandmates Richie Cannata and Liberty DeVitto. We also heard from his son, Jesse Javors. For our conclusion, we’re talking to the man himself, Russell Javors. 


We’ll hear about his teen years coming up with Liberty and Doug Stegemeyer, taking the stage with Billy, moving into a new career after the music business and much more. 


Along the way, Russell reveals insights about his contributions to classic records and memories from the road. And, he adds his trademark wit to every story. 


Join us as we speak with legendary rhythm guitarist Russell Javors.   




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EP 046 – Vinyl Box Set, Return to The Garden, Billy & Metallica in Vegas …and more!

Billy Joel released his first solo album, Cold Spring Harbor, in November 1971. Almost 50 years to the day, his fans are celebrating a string of exciting new announcements. 


In our most timely episode yet, we’ll cover the latest developments in the Billy Joel world. 


On Friday, November 5, Billy brought his record-breaking residency back to Madison Square Garden after a nearly two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.


Also on November 5, Billy released the Vinyl Collection, Vol. 1. It’s a boxed set containing new masters of his first six studio albums, Songs in the Attic, and an unreleased concert from 1975. 


In the lead up to the box set, Billy also released a new animated video for Scenes From An Italian Restaurant. 


And, in an announcement that seemed tailor-made for our co host Michael, we learned that Billy and Metallica will soon play at the same venue on the same weekend in Las Vegas. 


It’s a lot at once, and we’re here to share in the excitement. Join us, as we dig deep, into the latest and greatest Billy Joel news.


Check out our video unboxing of Billy Joel – The Vinyl Collection, Vol. 1 here:




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EP 045 – In Conversation with Mike Delguidice

Billy Joel’s monthly residency at Madison Square Garden resumes on November 5th after nearly a year and a half off due to the pandemic. In the leadup to the show, we sat down with guitarist Mike DelGuidice to talk about what he’s been up to during that time. 



Even with the Garden shows and annual summer tour off the calendar, Mike made the most of the shutdowns. He formed a new band, retooled his solo act, and is now gearing up to release an album of his own music. 



We’ll hear about how Mike used the time off from Billy’s band to re-center his career. And how he returned to the big stage by filling in on a role that has a deep connection to his roots in Billy’s music. 



Join us as we dig deep into 2020 and the first half of 2021 with Mike DelGuidice.





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EP 044 – Russell Javors Part 1 (with special guests)

Probably the last thing you think of when it comes to Billy Joel’s music is reggae but that influence is there. And if it’s subtle, it’s because it comes from arguably the most understated member of the classic Lords of 52nd Street, Russell Javors.


In a band where the spotlight is squarely on the piano, Russell’s rhythm guitar playing was tight, economical, and often in the background.


But it was always in the right place at the right time. To paraphrase drummer Liberty DeVitto, “You don’t always notice what Russell is playing, but you’ll notice when it’s not there.”


Russell played on many of Billy’s biggest hits and logged hundreds of shows over more than a decade touring with the band. Before that, he was part of Topper, the group that would become the longtime backing band for Billy.


And, he was always writing his own songs in the background. A few of which were released by different artists. His music, both with Billy and on his own, has shades of classic 70s singer/songwriters while also portraying his love of The Beatles, rockabilly, and reggae among other influences.


After departing the Billy Joel band before the Storm Front album, Russell made a radical, while ultimately fulfilling career change. And today, he’s back on tour with the Lords of 52nd Street. Celebrating the music he and his friends help make into modern classics.


For this episode, we spoke with Liberty DeVitto, Richie Cannata, and Russell’s son, Jesse Javors.


Join us for Part 1 of a very special two-part series on Russell Javors where we talk with some of the people who know him best.




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EP 043 – Concert Classics: Thunder Road – Live in Miami, 1977

The fact that a Billy Joel bootleg is named after a Bruce Springsteen song should clue in the listener that this show’s a little different from what you may expect. 


Recorded at Maurice Gusman Concert Hall in Miami, FL on October 31, 1977,  Thunder Road isn’t a radical change from the Billy we know. But, there’s a big focus on a part of live act that never quite made it onto official records.


It’s his skill at impersonating other musicians — both their playing and their personalities — that shine at this show. 


This recording also captures a curious moment in Billy’s career. It’s at the beginning of the Stranger tour, just before the record broke wide open and made Billy a household name.


The show is more streamlined than recordings from a few years prior, but not quite as realized as his performances would be in just a few more months. It also features a temporary lineup with a short-lived guitar player. 


Join us as we dive deep into a show from Billy Joel on the eve of superstardom.



Date: October 31, 1977
City/State: Miami, FL
Venue: Maurice Gusman Concert Hall

The band:

  • Billy Joel – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards
  • Liberty DeVitto – Drums
  • Doug Stegmeyer – Bass, Vocals
  • Richie Cannata – Saxophone, Flute, Keyboards, Accordion, Vocals
  • Frank Vento – Guitar


The Setlist: 

  1. The Stranger
  2. Somewhere Along The Line
  3. Summer, Highland Falls
  4. Piano Man
  5. Thunder Road
  6. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
  7. Travelin’ Prayer
  8. Let ‘Em In
  9. Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)
  10. Still Crazy After All These Years
  11. Just The Way You Are
  12. Prelude / Angry Young Man
  13. New York State Of Mind
  14. The Entertainer
  15. Vienna
  16. Root Beer Rag
  17. You Are So Beautiful
  18. She’s Always A Woman
  19. I’ve Loved These Days
  20. Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway
  21. The Ballad Of Billy The Kid
  22. Captain Jack
  23. Say Goodbye To Hollywood
  24. Only The Good Die Young
  25. Get It Right The First Time
  26. Weekend Song





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EP 042 – Album Retrospective: The Bridge

Almost a decade after the breakout hit album The Stranger, the Billy Joel machine was showing some signs of wear. That strain was evident on his 1986 album The Bridge


After a string of multi-platinum, chart-topping, and award-winning records, Billy was worn out and wanted to be home with his family instead of back in the studio. 


Meanwhile, relationships were strained between his long-time band mem bers after years and years in and out of tour busses and recording studios. 


All this was weighing on Billy and the band as they headed back into the studio to record their followup to An Innocent Man. That album felt light and breezy, and was stacked with bright and bouncy pop hits. By contrast, The Bridge would sound more labored and strained, and would explore more turbulent themes. 


But, even one of Billy’s least-regarded albums still contains flashes of brilliance that are worth seeking out. On one hand, the record sounds dated and locked in the 80s. But on the other, it’s like a time capsule to the pop music of that decade. 


The album is also dotted with guests that personify the era in which it was recorded while also tracing the roots of Joel’s career and musical influences. 


Join us as we dive deep in Billy Joel’s 1986 album The Bridge






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EP 041 – In Conversation with Richie Cannata

Here’s an interview with Richie Cannata. That’s it. No great fanfare, no big intro. We just had a blast talking with Billy Joel’s longtime sax, organ, flute, accordion, and piano player, and we’re sharing that conversation with you. 


There’s a lot of great stuff here: Deep trivia about Billy Joel tracks and live performances, stories about the Lords of 52nd Street reunion and post-pandemic shows, and Richie’s takes on today’s music and recording practices. 


Sit back and join us as we chat with Richie Cannata.




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EP 040 – Year In Review: 1980

The Stranger made Billy Joel a superstar back in 1977. Three years later, his career really launched into overdrive.


In 1980, Billy was still reaping the benefits of two Grammy-Award winning albums. In March, he took his next step forward by releasing Glass Houses. That album would become a smash hit with a leaner sound that would propel him into the 80s.


And during the Glass Houses tour, Billy and the band would begin recording live versions of songs from Billy’s back catalog. These tracks would go on to comprise 1981’s Songs In The Attic.


All this activity made the beginning of the new decade a time where the past, present, and future of Billy’s career all happened at once.


Join us as we dig deep into Billy Joel in 1980.




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EP 039 – Video Retrospective: Eye of The Storm + More

In the mid 80s, Billy Joel penned the lyric “After 1986 what else could be n ew?” If you were to judge that based on his 1989 hit “We Didn’t Start The Fire,” you’d think he meant it.

But a closer look at that video and the others from the Storm Front album suggest otherwise.

For this episode we’re looking at Eye Of The Storm. Released in 1990, it’s a home video collection of the videos from the multi-platinum album Storm Front.

While that album contained many songs about personal relationships and Billy’s life, the videos focus much more on the world at large at the end of the 1980s.

We’ll dig deep into the five music videos. And, we’ll take a look at a soundcheck and radio broadcast recording from early in the Storm Front tour. 

Join us as we dig deep into Eye of The Storm and more.


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EP 038 – Glass Houses Playlist #3

We’re back with another playlist episode this week. We have so much fun putting these together and sharing some of our favorite music with you all.

Michael is back with another playlist of some favorites over the past several years. From 90s alternative to 2010s soul and singer/songwriters, these have been mainstays for Michael and we are excited to share them with you!

Again, if you dig what you hear, we’d appreciate you checking out and picking up some new music by these artists wherever you get your music!


  • ATHENAEUM – “Flat Tire”
  • PAPA VEGAS – “No Destination”
  • THE VERVE PIPE – “Out Like A Lamb”
  • EMERSON HART – “I Wish The Best For You”
  • OUR LADY PEACE – “Somewhere Out There”
  • BLISS 66 – “Not Quite Paradise”
  • 19 WHEELS – “I Want You Here”
  • TYRONE WELLS – “In Between The Lines”
  • THE NIGHT GAME – “The Outfield”
  • OWSLEY – “She’s The One”
  • NINE DAYS – “Still Here”
  • KACEY MUSGRAVES – “Space Cowboy”
  • SPLENDER – “The Loneliest Person I Know”
  • GRAHAM COLTON – “On Your Side”
  • SEBASTIAN KOLE – “Love’s On The Way”


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EP 037 – Face to Face Tour 1994 with Elton John

Twenty-seven years ago this month, two titans of pop music teamed up for a run of sold-out shows that would set the tone for tours to come.


We’re talking about the first Face to Face tour featuring Billy Joel and Elton John. In the summer of 1994, the two hit-making piano players shared the stage for a then-unprecedented run of twenty-one sold-out shows in the United States


In hindsight, the tour could have been a disaster with a huge crew, two full bands, an exceptionally long show, and even a bout of food poisoning. But audiences loved it, and the pair would go on to team up for a total of seven tours over fifteen years. 


It’s been more than a decade since the last Face to Face concert. But, this summer, we’re diving deep into the very first shows featuring Elton John and Billy Joel. 




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EP 036 – Concert Classics: Live in Houston, 1979

By the end of the seventies, Billy Joel had found success with a formula that blended elements of pop, rock, and jazz around a singer-songwriter frame. And, he was about to turn all that on its side. The Live In Houston 1979 bootleg is proof of it.


The video features Billy and the Lords of 52nd Street at the Summit in Houston, TX on November 25th. Their sound has been streamlined since the frenetic free-for-all on 1977’s CW Post radio broadcast. But, they’re not quite as settled into the arena stage show they’ll have perfected by 1982’s Live From Long Island. 


Instead, this concert presents a top-tier rock and roll band at the top of their game, with an audience of thousands cheering them on. But, for as revelatory as this concert is, it’s shrouded in a bit of mystery. 


The show took place well after the 52nd Street tour ended. It was professionally shot and edited, but never officially released. As a result, the only video footage available is grainy and suffering from generation loss. Finally, the show features three songs from the forthcoming Glass Houses. That album would mark a stylistic shift, and Billy even mentions that producer Phil Ramone is in the audience. 


But it’s easy enough to put those lingering questions about the how and why to the side and just enjoy the show. And, that’s what we’re doing with this episode. Join us, as we dig deep into Billy Joel: Houston 1979.


Date: November 25, 1979
City/State: Houston, TX
Venue: The Summit

The band:

  • Billy Joel – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards
  • Liberty DeVitto – Drums
  • Doug Stegmeyer – Bass, Vocals
  • Russell Javors – Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
  • David Brown – Lead Guitar, Vocals
  • Richie Cannata – Saxophone, Flute, Keyboards, Accordion, Vocals


The Setlist: 

  1. Only The Good Die Young
  2. Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)
  3. Honesty
  4. My Life
  5. Piano Man
  6. All For Leyna
  7. Prelude / Angry Young Man
  8. New York State of Mind
  9. The Stranger
  10. Sometimes A Fantasy
  11. Root Beer Rag
  12. She’s Always A Woman
  13. Stiletto
  14. Zanzibar
  15. You May Be Right
  16. Just The Way You Are
  17. Big Shot
  18. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
  19. Get It Right The First Time




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EP 035 – Album Openers Ranked

An album’s first track has a lot to live up to. The song must engage the listener right away and get them excited for what’s to come. Sometimes, it’s the record’s lead single and hopefully the band’s next hit. Other times, it’s just the song most likely to get people excited. Or, it’s a little of both.


In this episode, we’re giving our opinions on Billy’s best and worst album openers. We are ranking the first songs on his 12 studio pop albums and the live Songs In the Attic. We’ll compare notes, and maybe argue a little, over which ones set up the album perfectly, and which were the least effective. 


Join us, as we scratch the surface of every Billy Joel album, with our worst-to-best album opener rankings.




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EP 034 – Album Retrospective: 12 Gardens Live

Usually, a late-career live album is a victory lap, an excuse to tour, or at worst, an excuse to make some extra cash. For Billy Joel, however, it was a sign that he was back on the scene. 


Released on June 13, 2006, 12 Gardens Live is a two-disc set. It features performances from Billy’s groundbreaking run of a dozen shows at Madison Square Garden between January 23 and April 24 of that year.


In many ways, it feels like a retrospective: You have all the big hits, fan favorites, plus a handful of rarities that even hardcore fans never though they’d hear live. 


But, 12 Gardens Live also serves as proof of concept for Billy’s return to touring after a two-year sabbatical. And, it sets the tone for his monthly Garden residency that began in 2014. 


With the exception of Mike DelGuidice, who joined the fold in late 2013, the album features the new solidified lineup he’s used ever since. The exception to that is the return of saxophonist Richie Cannata, who played alongside Mark Rivera on this tour. 


Other than that, this document laid the groundwork for the next 14 years and, hopefully many more to come. 


Join us as we dig deep into 12 Gardens Live.




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EP 033 – Year In Review: 1988 + Awards Show Appearances Part 2

Pardon the pun, but for Billy Joel, 1988 was the calm before the storm. 


Billy and the band had just come off an exhausting, groundbreaking two-year tour that saw them on four continents. And, they capped it all off with a historic run of six shows in the now-former USSR. Billy was the first pop act from the west to get this kind of access behind the iron curtain. 


Behind the scenes, Billy was ready for a break. In fact, he was ready to take some time off even before The Bridge came out in 1986. But, the record label insisted on a new album and tour. 


By the time this cycle was done, Billy powered down for a year. Aside from a few cameos, his work as a pop star was on hold. But, he pulled double duty on his work as a Dad. 


He spent time with his daughter, Alexa Ray, who was now two years old. And, when he went to work, he appeared on TV shows and in movies that would appeal to kids her age. 


The next year would be a busy one:A new album, a new lineup of musicians, and a lawsuit that would drag on for years. His career would look vastly different than it had just 12 months prior. 


We’ll get to that year in a future episode. But for now, let’s dig deep into 1988.


We also pick up where we left off with our Part 2 of covering Billy Joel’s awards show appearances and nominations.




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EP 032 – Interpreting Billy Part 2 (with Hyung-ki Joo)

What changes when other piano players perform Billy Joel’s music? What elements shine through? What’s it like to be tasked with performing music written by one of the most popular recording artists of the 20th century? 


This is the second installment of our two-part series where we talk with piano players who have been tasked with interpreting and performing Billy’s music. Previously, we spoke with Michael Cavanaugh, who led the pit band through hundreds of performances of the hit Broadway production Movin’ Out


This time, we’re speaking with Hyung-ki Joo, the classical pianist and comedian who arranged and performed the recordings on 2001’s Fantasies & Delusions


Join us, for the second installment of our two part series, where we dig deep into the music of Billy Joel with musicians who learned and interpreted these pieces.

Hyung-ki Joo –




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EP 031 – Awards Show Appearances Part 1 + Conversation with Evan Toth

Billy Joel is no stranger to awards shows and other accolades. Following 1977’s The Stranger, he’s won a handful of industry awards, was nominated for plenty more, and gave a few memorable — and in, one case, literally show stopping — performances.

And, when you’re tracking award show appearances over three decades, you also start noticing trends and changes within the industry and its major players over the years.

But before taking a look back, we have some exciting news for Billy Joel fans: The core of the classic Lords of 52nd Street band has reconvened to record with another East Coast piano player.

This year, Evan Toth recorded his new album, The Show, at Richie Cannata’s Cove City Sound Studios on Long Island in Glen Cove. The record features Richie on sax and organ along with Russell Javors on guitar, Liberty Devitto on drums, and current Lords bass player Malcolm Gold.

This marks the first time since 1981’s Songs In The Attic that Richie, Russell, and Lib have all been on the same album. So, we sat down with Evan to discuss his music and his experience recording with the Lords of 52nd Street.

So before we dig deep into Billy Joel’s award show appearances, nominations, performances and awards from 1978 through 2013, we’ll find out more about what it was like getting the band back together.

Evan Toth:


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EP 030 – Interpreting Billy Part 1 (with Michael Cavanaugh)

After 1993’s River of Dreams, fans waited and wondered if Billy Joel would ever release another pop album. The answer, as we know now, turned out to be no. But, nearly a decade after that release, we saw a new development for Billy’s music. 


The first years of the new century saw three new releases that featured Billy Joel’s music, but without him playing on two of them. In 2001, Sony Music released the two-disc Essential Billy Joel. 


But, in terms of new music, Billy also released Fantasies and Delusions that year. It premiered music that Billy had written in the style of 19th century romanticism. Then came the award-winning Broadway production Movin’ Out in 2002, which strung many of his hit songs into a loose dance-based narrative.  


The styles of these two projects are very different. But, they shared a common thread: Both featured other musicians interpreting Billy’s music. In Movin’ Out, Michael Cavanaugh led the pit band through hundreds of sold out shows. And, the Fantasies and Delusions recordings were arranged and performed by classical pianist Hyung-ki Joo. 


What changes when other piano players perform Billy’s music? What elements shine through? What’s it like to be tasked with performing music written by one of the most popular recording artists of the 20th century? 


In a special two-part series, we’re asking just that. And, we’re going right to the sources. This episode features a new interview with Michael Cavanaugh about his Broadway experience. And, stay tuned for the second installment featuring our conversation with Hyung-Ki Joo. 


Join us, as we dig deep into the music of Billy Joel, with two players who learned and interpreted the pieces.




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EP 029 – Album Retrospective: River of Dreams

Billy Joel’s last album is a study in contrasts. It sounds like a new beginning, when it was really the end of an era. It alternated between gritty, angular rhythms and sweet, flowing melodies. It’s arguably one of his most divisive albums. Yet it earned him a handful of award nominations, a new generation of fans, 5 million in record sales in America alone, and a pair of songs that would become classics and mainstays in his live shows  

River of Dreams was released on August 10, 1993. It’s Billy’s 12th studio album, and the last pop record he’d release. He switched producers once again after Storm Front, and jettisoned the last of his classic lineup mid-way through the production to complete it. 

As a result, fans have mixed feelings about the record. But a close listen reveals lyrical and arrangement motifs that weave through the whole album. Put together, they form a narrative arc that starts with the frustrations and turmoil of everyday life, leads to a spiritual reawakening, and comes to rest with a peaceful reconciliation with the world and sense of optimism for what’s to come. 

 Join us as we dig deep into River of Dreams.



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EP 028 – Year In Review: 1971

Apart from the botched release of Cold Spring Harbor, 1971 was a surprisingly low-key year for Billy Joel. His teenage band collapsed a few years before. And the proto-metal power duo that rose from its ashes failed to gain any traction. 


Broke, depressed, and aimless, Billy was ready to leave the music industry for good. And, he may have done just that, if his manager at the time didn’t come through with a last-minute deal. 


Of course, that deal would haunt Billy for years to come. After the album was released in November, he played a sparse handful of dates in New York at the end of the year. Meanwhile, there are no reviews, interviews, or press clippings to speak of. 


But look closely, and you’ll see a lot of small things develop, arrive, or otherwise get set in motion and affect his trajectory for decades to come. Join us as we dive deep into 1971.




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EP 027 – The Bridge Tour 1986-87

It’s easy to overlook most of Billy Joel’s The Bridge Tour concert dates from 1986 and 1987. The shows, which spanned four continents, were in support of one of Billy’s arguably weakest albums. 


Meanwhile, these dates are eclipsed by the handful of landmark shows he played in the USSR at the tail end of the tour. 


But it turns out there’s enough going on to warrant a closer look. Perhaps most notably, we know now that these were the last dates to feature the core Lords of 52nd Street lineup. 


And, the shows featured sleek and subtle state-of-the-art stage and sound designs. 


There’s more than meets the eye with these mid-80s concerts. Join us as we dive deep into the Bridge tour from 1986 and 1987.



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EP 026 – Superfan Round Table #1

This may be the beginning of 2021, but this installment marks the end of our first 12 months of episodes. So, we decided to do something special for the occasion. 


We’re hosting a round table with some of the biggest Billy Joel fans we know. It’s an opportunity for us all to chat about the music we love. 


Our conversation uncovered new stories about Billy and the band that we’d never heard. And, we got a glimpse of just how fun and tight knit the fan community can be.


Our guests on this episode are:


Mike Stutz (Billy Joel Completely Retold)

Melissa & Teddy Boileau (Songs From The Attic radio show)

Matt DiMarino (Musician)

Billy Handy (Musician)




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EP 025 – Year In Review: 1976

WIlliam Martin Joel had released three solo albums by the beginning of 1976. In many ways, however, that was the year he became the Billy we all know today. 


It was the year he recorded and released Turnstiles, finally winning his battle with CBS records to cut an album with his touring band. That band, of course, was now almost entirely the classic Lord of 52nd Street lineup. 


By then, Billy and his wife Elizabeth had moved from California back to New York. In the process he jettisoned any lingering west coast singer-songwriter stylings for East Coast grit. 


There were more changes behind the scenes, too. While not as well-known, these business moves and strategies played huge roles in his upcoming accomplishments.. 


True stardom wouldn’t come until the following year. But for now, we’re diving deep into 1976, and the 12 months that primed Billy Joel for the decades of success to come.




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EP 024 – Looking Forward & Looking Back (with Love Raptor & Bradshaw Leigh)

We’re kicking off 2021 with a look back and a look forward at Billy Joel’s work, his fans, and the music industry in general.

This episode features two sets of interviews. The first is with Mikhail Pivovarov and Billy Ruegger from the online music collective Love Raptor. We’ll go behind the scenes of their funk covers of “Movin’ Out” and “She’s Got A Way” and also talk about some of the latest trends when it comes to new musical artists today.

Then, it’s the return of Bradshaw Leigh, the engineer who worked with Phil Ramone and Billy Joel on some of Billy’s biggest records. He’ll tell never-before-heard stories about the recording sessions and sheds new light on the famed trip to Russia in 1987.

Join us as we dive deep into the past, present, and possibly the future of Billy Joel’s catalog.

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EP 023 – Phil Ramone (with Bradshaw Leigh & Russell Javors)

When it comes to Billy Joel’s most successful run of albums, you can’t talk about the man behind the piano without also talking about the man behind the board: Phil Ramone


By the time Phil and Billy teamed up, Ramone was already a renowned engineer and innovator in the recording studio. His discography included landmark albums by Stan Getz, Frank Sinatra, John Coltrane, Paul Simon and Elton John, along with soundtracks, musicals, and live recordings. 


Working primarily at  Ramone’s own A&R Recording in New York, Phil and Billy put out a string of best-selling and award-winning albums. Beginning with 1977’s The Stranger through The Bridge in 1986. 


After the one-off song “Why Should I Worry” from Disney’s “Oliver and Company,” in 1988, nearly two decades would pass before they worked together again. But, Ramone returned to the control room for All My Life, Billy’s last single, released in 2006. It was a fitting end to their partnership. 


In this episode, we’re exploring the life and work of Phil Ramone. We’ll talk about his work with Billy Joel, and so much more. Along the way, we’ll speak with Bradshaw Leigh, an engineer who worked alongside Ramone on many classic albums.  And, we have a special message from Russell Javors, Billy’s former guitarist and current member of the Lords of 52nd Street. 


There’s too much to cover in one episode. And we recommend reading Phil’s Book, Making Records, if you’d like to learn more. But for now, let’s dive deep into the works of Phil Ramone. 



The Phil Ramone Orchestra for Children

Learn More & Donate at:
or Text RAMONEKIDS to 44321




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EP 022 – 2006-2007 World Tour

Billy Joel’s World Tour from 2006 through 2007 turned out to be a true page-turner in his career. He’d played virtually no concerts the previous two years. And by the end of 2003 his performances were getting just a little stale. 


But, you’d never know that from the 110 or so dates he mounted when he got back into touring mode. And, from all the high-quality footage that’s available, he seemed more energetic and excited about playing live than he’d been for a while. 


The biggest change was a new drummer, Chuck Burgi. Otherwise, the players were familiar from the previous decade or so. With a seven-piece powerhouse in tow, Billy quickly served up 12 Gardens Live, a new two-CD album culled from a dozen shows at Madison Square Garden in the first half of 2006. 


In retrospect, that album, and this tour, set the stage for the next 15 years of Billy’s career, which continues today with his historic Garden residency. 


But the monthly Manhattan shows were still almost a decade away when Billy hit the road again. For now, let’s dive deep into Billy Joel’s 2006 / 2007 World Tour.




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EP 021 – Glass Houses Playlist #2

This holiday week, settle in with some classic songs, a small glimpse into the Philadelphia music scene, and some exciting new artists making music today! 


This is our second playlist episode, where Jack and Michael take turns playing DJ to spin some tunes and tell some stories behind them. 


Jack’s on the turntable (literally, in some cases) this time to bring you: 


All You Wanna Do Is Dance: Classic Songs Ripped Directly From 45s 

  • Lover’s Concerto by The Toys
  • Devil With The Blue Dress / Good Golly Miss Molly by Mitch Ryder & The Detroit 
  • Wheels
  • Jumpin Jack Flash by The Rolling Stones
  • Whiskey Man by The Who
  • Sweet Things You Do by Eddie Floyd
  • Reach Out (I’ll Be There) by The Four Tops 


My Life: Songs Featuring Jack On Drums

  • Thousand Lives by Church Girls
  • Impossible One by The Yarrows
  • Sangamon River Lament by Gavilan
  • Tree Beard’s Journey by Borrowed Equipment


Keeping The Faith: New Music!

  • So Ferocious by Carie Blanton
  • Civic Duty by Chipocrite
  • Yellow Dandelion by Jo-Armon Jones feat. Georgia Ann Muldrew
  • Ours by Joe Pug
  • Right by Xenia Rubinos




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EP 020 – Concert Classics: Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA, 1974

Date: May 14, 1974

City/State: Boston, MA

Venue: Orpheum Theatre

Supporting: Jesse Colin Young & Livingston Taylor


The Setlist: 

  1. Travelin’ Prayer
  2. Somewhere Along The Line
  3. Technical Difficulty Blues
  4. Piano Man
  5. The Entertainer
  6. The Ballad of Billy The Kid
  7. Worse Comes To Worst
  8. Everybody Loves You Now
  9. Captain Jack
  10. Ain’t No Crime




In less than 50 minutes, the bootleg recording of Billy Joel at the Orpheum Theater in 1974 reveals the trajectory of his career up to that point and hints toward the challenges and major changes to come. 


It’s not his most popular bootleg, but as a warts-and-all snapshot of this moment, it’s surprisingly revelatory. 


The show, recorded on May 14th of that year, is Billy’s first performance in Boston, Massachusetts. He’s the first opener on a three-band bill with Livingston Taylor and Jesse Colin Young. 


But, already there are hints of his future success  and the changes he’d make over the next few years.


Of the nine songs Billy plays here, Three will get updated on 1981’s Songs in the Attic and you can already hear some of the changes taking form. All but two are from Piano Man. And, one is only a few weeks old. But more than the songs themselves, this recording is a rare glimpse of Billy between his first hit song, Piano Man, and Streetlife Serenade, an album he felt was a failure out of the gate. 


You’ll hear the west coast feel of his live band, an approach that he’d soon consciously jettison for the tougher East Coast sound that would become his hallmark. And, you’ll hear him wrestle with technical issues, often humorously. He’s also developing his rapport with his audience, and their response points to where his career would soon go.


Join us as we dive deep in Billy Joel, live at the Orpheum Theater in 1974.




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EP 019 – Year In Review: 1983

They say it’s always darkest before the dawn. If that’s true, then the sun rose for Billy Joel in 1983. That’s not to say things were bleak before then. But the past year or so carried a more somber tone. In 1982, Billy was in a bad motorcycle accident that left his hands severely injured for months. Despite this, he completed, released, and toured behind The Nylon Curtain. That album is arguably his most ambitious, and also his most serious and thematically heavy release. 


But, that all turned around the next year. 1983 found Billy Joel jet-setting to private islands, dating supermodels and releasing his ninth studio album, An Innocent Man.  Stylistically, the music harkened back to the 50s and early 60s. And, in contrast to its predecessor, it was one of his biggest sellers, and easily his most light-hearted. 


An Innocent Man would go platinum seven times and spawn seven charting singles. In 1984, Billy would tour in support of his blockbuster hit. But, the previous year, he was enjoying life. 


In this episode, Michael & Jack are diving deep into 1983. The year that saw an album release, hit singles, heavy-rotation videos, tabloid-pages romance, and more for Billy Joel.




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EP 018 – Billy Joel Cover Songs By Other Artists

Sometimes, the best way to find out what makes a songwriter special is hearing someone else sing their songs. Listening to how other artists interpret their work brings out aspects of the music that weren’t as obvious before. 


That’s what Michael and Jack discovered when they put this episode together. This week, They’re diving into versions of Billy Joel songs performed by other people. To do it, we compiled more than two dozen versions of Billy’s music performed by other artists. 


For the most part, we stuck to songs that were officially released or performed on television. The styles range from 60s blue-eyed soul to 80s pop, country sensations to punk and indie rockers. The arrangements varied from straight-ahead covers to nearly unrecognizable renditions.  Also featured are 2 Billy covers by drummer Liberty DeVitto’s former band The Fun(k) Club that have never before been released!


Join us, as we go through the good, the great, the bad, and the bizarre Billy Joel covers. We’ll talk through these new versions and what we learned about the original performances along the way.


Songs covered include:


  • Beyonce – Honesty
  • Diana Krall – Just The Way You Are
  • Joan Baez – Goodnight Saigon
  • Ladysmith Black Mambazo – River of Dreams
  • The Hoosiers – We Didn’t Start The Fire
  • The Creak – Sleeping With The Television On
  • Sheena Easton – The Entertainer
  • Garth Brooks – Shameless
  • Westlife – Uptown Girl
  • Dolly Parton – Travelin’ Prayer
  • Helen Reddy – You’re My Home
  • Jennifer Warnes – And So It Goes
  • TexasFrets – Souvenir
  • The Manhattans – Everybody Has A Dream
  • Andy Mientus feat. Jennifer Hudson – Everybody Loves You Now
  • Me First and the Gimme Gimmes – Uptown Girl
  • Me First and the Gimme Gimmes – Only The Good Die Young
  • Me First and the Gimme Gimmes – The Longest Time
  • Barry White – Just The Way You Are
  • Bayside – Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)
  • Copeland – She’s Always A Woman
  • Ronnie Spector and The E Street Band – Say Goodbye To Hollywood
  • Richard Marx – Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)
  • Peter, Paul & Mary – Summer, Highland Falls
  • Bill Medley – Until The Night
  • The Fun(k) Club – Handball
  • The Fun(k) Club – You May Be Right (Glass Houses Exclusive)
  • The Fun(k) Club – She’s Got A Way (Glass Houses Exclusive)






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EP 017 – Album Retrospective: Streetlife Serenade

1974 saw Billy Joel back in the studio mere months after 1973’s Piano Man.  Billy wasn’t ready for a new album but pushed his way through to complete Streetlife Serenade which was released October 11, 1974 on Columbia Records.

The album peaked at #35 on the album charts and featured the single “The Entertainer,” which is the sole song that has gotten a significant amount of live performances since its release.


Michael & Jack discuss this often forgotten and under documented album and shed some light on some lesser known gems.

They also go song by song through the album and discuss each track and their reflections on each.



One side
1. Streetlife Serenader
2. Los Angelenos
3. The Great Suburban Showdown
4. Root Beer Rag
5. Roberta

Another side
6. The Entertainer
7. Last of the Big Time Spenders
8. Weekend Song
9. Souvenir
10. The Mexican Connection





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EP 016 – Billy Joel 1970s TV Appearances

Artists who rose to stardom in the 1970s were the first generation to have that rise documented on TV cameras. Billy Joel was no exception.

Michael & Jack comb through as many of Billy’s 1970’s TV appearances as they could find to share their observations along the way. Watching these in chronological order, you really get the feel with how Billy’s stage presence and live band developed throughout the decade.

Join us as we discuss all things Billy Joel on TV in the 1970s.


Appearances include:


  • Old Grey Whistle Test – 1973
  • Speakeasy – 1974
  • Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert – 1974
  • Midnight Special – 1975
  • Mike Douglas Show – 1976
  • Old Grey Whistle Test – 1978
  • Beat Club – 1978
  • Saturday Night Live – 1978




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EP 015 – Year In Review: 2003

The year was 2003 and once again, Billy was at a crossroads. He mounted a shorter Face To Face tour with Elton John before taking one of the longest hiatuses of his career which would stretch into the end of 2005.


Michael & Jack chronicle a year in which saw depression, Billy vocally discussing retiring, and the end end of the professional relationship with the longest tenured band member. But the year wasn’t all bad. Billy & Twyla Tharp launched the hugely successful broadway show Movin’ Out, had another successful run with Elton John and more. Michael attended 3 shows on that tour which we discuss as well.


Join us as we talk all things Billy Joel in 2003.





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EP 014 – 1987 Tour of Russia

The year was 1987. Billy and the band were well into their tour supporting The Bridge album. An incredible opportunity came along that would change everyone involved’s life forever.


Billy Joel and his band became the first American pop act to bring a full-scale touring production to Russia.  While other US artists had played behind the Iron Curtain before, never had the Russians experienced a full on rock show until now.


Join Michael & Jack as they go back to 1987 and discuss this monumental 6 date tour that helped thaw relations between the two nations, and saw musicians and crew alike come away touched by the warmth and kindness they received throughout. 




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EP 013 – Video Retrospective: Shades of Grey

In 1993, Billy Joel began work on what would become his final pop studio album, River of Dreams. What began with he and his live band tracking in a makeshift studio in a boathouse on the east end of Long Island, ended with a new producer, new musicians, and a new direction.


Michael & Jack revisit the Shades of Grey documentary that chronicles the journey of arguably Billy Joel’s most personal album to date.




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EP 012 – In Conversation with drummer Liberty DeVitto

Liberty DeVitto is the drummer that Billy Joel chose to record those unforgettable albums and memorable tours between 1975 and 2005.  Michael & Jack discuss his brand new autobiography Liberty: Life, Billy and the Pursuit of Happiness which is out now from Hudson Music.

Join us for a special candid conversation with Liberty DeVitto as he discusses the book and much more.

In this episode, Michael & Jack also share their thoughts after reading the book which chronicles Liberty’s family history, as well has his personal life and playing career.  Early announcements promised two things: A foreword by Billy Joel and Liberty discussing every song they recorded together. This book delivers on that and so much more.

Among the great stories, we also learn the news of the long-overdue reconciliation between Liberty and Billy and the reclamation of this great friendship.

Order Liberty’s new book:         Hudson Music      |      Amazon


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EP 011 – Concert Classics: Live At C.W. Post, 1977

Michael & Jack take their first dip into a classic Billy Joel concert from the past. They discuss the famed C.W. Post College concert recorded in Greenvale, NY on May 6, 1977. This concert was also broadcast live in New York and Philadelphia as Billy and the band tear through some classics and road test two brand new songs that would be recorded for The Stranger soon after. 


Date: May 6, 1977
City/State: Greenvale, NY
Venue: Dome Auditorium at C.W. Post College

The band:

  • Billy Joel – Vocals, Piano, Moog Synthesizer
  • Liberty DeVitto – Drums
  • Doug Stegmeyer – Bass, Vocals
  • Richie Cannata – Saxophone, Flute, Percussion, Keyboards
  • Howard Emerson – Guitar


The Setlist: 

  1. Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)
  2. Somewhere Along the Line
  3. Summer, Highland Falls
  4. Piano Man
  5. Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
  6. James
  7. Prelude/Angry Young Man
  8. New York State of Mind
  9. Travelin’ Prayer
  10. Just the Way You Are
  11. The Entertainer
  12. You’re My Home
  13. Root Beer Rag
  14. She’s Got a Way
  15. The Ballad of Billy the Kid
  16. I’ve Loved These Days
  17. Captain Jack
  18. Worse Comes to Worst
  19. Ain’t No Crime
  20. Say Goodbye to Hollywood
  21. Weekend Song
  22. Souvenir

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EP 010 – Doug Stegmeyer (with special guests)

On this episode, Michael & Jack celebrate the life and music of Billy Joel bassist Doug Stegmeyer. Known as The Sergeant, Doug played bass in the Billy Joel band from 1975 which he joined for the Streetlife Serenader tour and continued on through the end of The Bridge Tour in 1988.

We discuss many of the facets that made Doug so special and integral to the magic of Billy’s recordings.

We also are joined by 5 special guests with unique connections to Doug:

  • Mike DelGuidice – Guitar and vocals in the Billy Joel band and frontman for tribute band Big Shot. Mike also worked with Doug extensively in the early 1990s.
  • Malcolm Gold – Bassist for The Lords of 52nd Street and the Movin’ Out touring band. Malcolm also often plays Doug’s basses during Lords shows.
  • Sue Stegmeyer & Kevin Ege – Doug’s sister and her husband.
  • Andy Gilmartin – A friend of Doug’s when Andy was a teenager, Andy spearheaded getting Doug, Liberty DeVitto, Richie Cannata & Russell Javors inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2014. Andy now is the manager for The Lords of 52nd Street.

For context, here are the albums Doug performed on: Turnstiles, The Stranger, 52nd Street, Glass Houses, Songs In The Attic, The Nylon Curtain, An Innocent Man, Greatest Hits Vol. I & II, The Bridge, KOHUEPT, Greatest Hits Vol. III.


EP 009 – Glass Houses Playlist #1

We’re bringing you something a little different for this episode. To say things have been crazy lately, is an understatement. We weren’t able to pull together a regular episode in time but still wanted to bring you something.  

Introducing the GLASS HOUSES PLAYLIST. Michael & Jack will take turns playing DJ to spin some tunes and tell some stories behind them. First up is Michael as he plays some songs from some great artist he has worked with over the years. The song list is below. If you dig what you hear, we’d appreciate you checking out and picking up some new music by these artists wherever you get your music!




THE FUN(K) CLUB – “38 Graymont”

SEPTEMBER ON – “On The Outside Again”

KNEE DEEP SHAG – “Faded And Live”

CIDER – “This Life”

AN AMERICAN UNDERDOG (Andy Reed) – “Put Out The Fire”


COLIN HAY – “Send Somebody”

BIG SKY – “Waiting”

DONNY BROWN – “Losing A Part of Your Soul”

JESSE YOUNG – “The Distance”

MILE – “The Way Home”

PETE SCHMIDT – “Someday”

THE VERVE PIPE – “Never Let You Down”

ASHTON ALLEN – “If You Leave”


Glass Houses Playlist #1

EP 008 – Album Retrospective: Billy Joel Greatest Hits Volume I & II

1985 brings us Billy Joel’s first Greatest Hits release with Greatest Hits Volume I & II which covered songs from 1973’s Piano Man through the two new songs for 1985, “You’re Only Human (Second Wind)” and “The Night Is Still Young.” Greatest Hits Volume I & II has gone on to be one of the greatest selling albums of all time.

Michael & Jack discuss the various formats and track listings of this set, their memories on it as well as the different radio edits that were used in the initial releases.

We also hear from Billy himself from this great archival interview with Dan Neer from the Billy Joel album party radio celebration from 1985 where he discusses the two new songs mentioned above.

To kick things off, we have a very special performance from Billy from May 11th as a part of the virtual telethon Rise Up New York, the Robin Hood Relief Benefit.


EP 007 – Live Album & Video Retrospective: Live At Shea Stadium

Michael & Jack revisit the historic 2008 Shea Stadium concerts from Flushing, New York in Queens. The Beatles performed the first concert at Shea and New York’s son, Billy Joel, appropriately closed out the stadium with the final two concerts before the Shea’s ultimate demolition.

This viewing / listening companion goes song by song through the live CD / DVD highlighting special moments and special guests along the way.

Special guest performers during the two concerts that are included in this set are: Tony Bennett, Garth Brooks, John Mayer, Steven Tyler, Roger Daltrey, John Mellencamp, and of course, Sir Paul McCartney.

EP 006 – Year In Review: 1994

The year was 1994 and Billy Joel is a few months into his hugely successful River of Dreams Tour. Michael & Jack look back at this year in review which proved to be a pivotal year for Billy as he wrapped up support for his final studio album, launched the first incarnation of the hugely successful Face 2 Face Tour with Elton John, and began talking about the current tour being his last long tour.

Personally this was a big year for the both of us. We discuss each of us seeing Billy live multiple times this year. We also dig into media archives with some fun interview and performance clips we’ve uncovered. Join us as we go back to 1994.

EP 005 – B-Sides, Rarities and Soundtrack Songs

Michael & Jack dust off the crates and reminisce about some classic Billy Joel 45s, soundtrack appearances, remixes and more!

The songs covered in this episode are:

– Elvis Presley Blvd.
– You’ve Got Me Hummin’ (Live)
– I’ll Cry Instead (Live)
– House of Blue Light
– You Picked A Real Bad Time
– Nobody Knows But Me
– Why Should I Worry?
– When You Wish Upon A Star
– All Shook Up
– Heartbreak Hotel
– In A Sentimental Mood
– Where Were You On Our Wedding Day?
– All My Life
– Christmas In Fallujah
– New York State Of Mind (Alt. Mixes)
– Sometimes A Fantasy (Long Single Version)
– The River Of Dreams (Alternate Mix)
– Tell Her About It (12″ Remix)
– Keeping The Faith (Special Mix)

LIVE EP 002 – Stay At Home Special #2

While keeping at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael & Jack decided to launch a sub-series of live episode broadcasts on Facebook. This first live episode was recorded on Tuesday April 7, 2020. 

Here, we discuss a few top 5 Billy lists, talk about how we are keeping busy while under stay at home orders, and talk with our special guests Melissa & Teddy Boileau from the Songs From The Attic radio show in Syracuse, NY.

EP 004 – Video Retrospective: Live From Long Island

Michael & Jack present a song by song companion of the 1983 home video concert release Live From Long Island. Having been out of print for some 30+ years now, this concert is a must see and highlights Billy and the band firing on all cylinders as they transition into an arena touring band in the early 1980s.

Live From Long Island was recorded on December 29, 1982 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, NY and originally broadcast on HBO in the summer of 1983 before being released on video cassette and laser disc.


LIVE EP 001 – Stay At Home Special #1

While keeping at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael & Jack decided to launch a sub-series of live episode broadcasts on Facebook. This first live episode was recorded on Wednesday March 25, 2020. 

Here, we discuss how the podcast came to be, roll out a few top 5 Billy lists, discuss some of our other favorite artists, read some great listener emails and so much more.

EP 003 – Album Retrospective: Cold Spring Harbor

Michael & Jack revisit Billy’s first album, from its pre-production demos, to the botched finished product under Artie Ripp’s Family Productions, Columbia’s 1983 remix and reissue, and everything in between.


EP 002 – Billy Joel Tidbits & Trivia

Michael & Jack discuss some tidbits and trivia surrounding Billy Joel’s career.

Topics include:

  • Albums sales and stats

  • Billy’s role in new digital technology during the 80s

  • Different versions of the Big Shot music video

  • Early touring days in the Lehigh Valley

  • And more!

EP 001 – Our Backstory

Michael & Jack discuss how and when they discovered Billy Joel’s music, their connections  to former drummer Liberty DeVitto, the first albums they bought, their concert experiences, and more. 

Trailer: Glass Houses – A Billy Joel Podcast

Life-long Billy Joel fans, Michael Grosvenor and Jack Firneno, team up to share stories and take deep dives into Billy’s songs, tours, albums, band members and much more. Join us in celebrating the life and music of Billy Joel.