Year Released: 1983

Notable Songs: “Tell Her About It”, “Uptown Girl”, “An Innocent Man”, “The Longest Time”, “Leave a Tender Moment Alone”, “Keeping the Faith”, “This Night”

Album MVP: “Uptown Girl”

Why I Loved It: I’m hoping I can sneak this selection past my wife, who is literally one of the biggest Billy Joel fans on earth and will call me an idiot for not having this higher.  Ironically this album cover of Joel sitting on steps at 142nd in New York City adorns the wine rack in our apartment—her doing.  Don’t believe me?

For me Joel’s music, as incredible as it was in the 70’s and very early 80’s sort of lacked one thing—- fun.  An Innocent Man, for the most part was a lot of fun with Joel homage to many different styles on it, ranging from soul, doo-wop and modern pop.  “Tell Her About It” and “Uptown Girl” (No. 95 on my Favorite Songs of the 80s countdown last year) are two doo-wop tributes I love most.  Til this day, the video for “Uptown Girl” is one of the coolest videos I’ve ever seen, featuring Christie Brinkley, who not long after became Joel’s wife. He was in love with Brinkley something fierce when he penned most  these tracks and you can hear it in his voice. Completely unrelated to a relationship with her, “An Innocent Man” is some of the best and deepest lyrics you’ll ever hear in a tune. This was a great album and while it didn’t have a single knockout track, it scored with a bunch of  jabs that would win most fights.

Commercial Success:  This was arguably Joel’s last great studio album and certainly one of his biggest successes commercially, selling more than seven million copies in the United States.  An Innocent Man peaked at number-four on the Billboard Top 200 and it’s staying power landed it at four on the 1984 year-end Billboard chart and also 67th in 1985. “Tell Her About It” was his lone Billboard Hot 100 number-one single on the album, spending one week at the top before Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” took over for four consecutive weeks. “Uptown Girl” reached number-three on the charts and one in Australia, because clearly Australia is way cooler. The title-track “An Innocent Man” was his third top 10 hit on the album, peaking at 10.   “The Longest Time” reached No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 while “Keeping the Faith” topped off at No. 18.  “Leave a Tender Moment Alone” climbed to No. 27, giving the album an incredible six top 40 singles. An Innocent Man was nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys while “Uptown Girl” was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male but Joel lost out to Michael Jackson both times. 

Fun Facts: As legendary as Joel’s career has been, “Tell Her About It” was one of only three Billboard Hot 100 hits he had.  The others were “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” (1980) and “We Didn’t Start The Fire” (1989).  He had had four more top three hits: “Just the Way you Are” (1978), “My Life” (1978), “Uptown Girl” and “The River of Dreams” (1993). Joel actually had more Billboard-topping albums (four) than singles, although shockingly his epic The Stranger wasn’t one of them (it only reached number-two.)  52nd Street (1978), Glass Houses (1980), Storm Front (1989) and River of Dreams (1993) all reached the pinnacle of Billboard.


 100.  Van Halen – OU812 

99. Stevie Wonder – In Squared Circle

98. Taylor Dayne – Can’t Fight Fate

97. Kool & The Gang – Emergency 

96. Stevie B – In My Eyes 

95. Keith Sweat – Make It Last Forever 

94. Michael Bolton – Soul Provider 

93. Go Go’s – Beauty & The Beast 

92. LL Cool J – Bigger And Deffer (Bad) 

91. Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry 

90. Def Leppard – Hysteria

89. New Edition – Heartbreak

88. Don Henley – Building A Perfect Beast

87. Beverly Hills Cop – Movie Soundtrack

86. Culture Club – Kissing To Be Clever 

85. Rolling Stones – Tattoo You

84. Asia – Asia 

83. Tiffany – Tiffany 

82. Lionel Richie – Dancing on the Ceiling

81. Barbara Streisand – Guilty 

80. Phil Collins – …But Seriously 

79. Air Supply – The One That You Love

78. J. Geils Band – Freeze Frame

77. Duran Duran – Rio 

76. Billy Ocean – Suddenly 

75. Run DMC – Raising Hell

74. Pat Benatar – Crimes of Passion

73. John Cougar – American Fool

72. Huey Lewis and The News – Picture This

71. Top Gun – Movie Soundtrack

70. Steve Winwood – Back In The High Life

69. Air Supply – Lost In Love

68. LL Cool J – Radio

67. Journey – Frontiers 

66. Styxx – Paradise Theater

65. Madonna – Like A Prayer

64. Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full 

63. Tears for Fears – Songs From The Big Chair

62. Tina Turner – Private Dancer 

61. Steve Nicks – Bella Donna

60. U2 – The Joshua Tree

59. Bon Jovi – New Jersey 

58. Huey Lewis and the News – Fore!

57. Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation 1814

56. Prince – 1999

55. ZZ Top – Eliminator 

54. Survivor – Vital Signs

53. New Edition – New Edition 

52. Dirty Dancing – Movie Soundtrack

51. Foreigner – 4

50. Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back

49. Lionel Richie – Lionel Richie 

48. Men at Work – Business As Usual

47. Run DMC – Run DMC

46. Richard Marx – Richard Marx

45. Paula Abdul – Forever Your Girl 

44. Rocky IV – Movie Soundtrack 

43. Tom Petty – Full Moon River 

42. Whitney Houston – Whitney 

41, REO Speedwagon – Hi Infidelity 

40. Christopher Cross – Christopher Cross

39. Culture Club – Colour By Numbers 

38. Chicago – Chicago 17

37. Bryan Adams – Reckless

36. Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet

35. Heart – Heart 

34. Def Leppard – Pyromania 

33. Toto -Toto IV

32. The Police – Ghost In the Machine 

31. Madonna – Madonna

30. New Kids On The Block – Hangin’ Tough

29. Hall and Oates – H20

28. Don Henley – The End Of The Innocence

27. The Police – Synchronicity 

26. Phil Collins – No Jacket Required

25. Beastie Boys – Licensed To Ill

24. Hall & Oates – Private Eyes

23. Neil Diamond – The Jazz Singer

22. Madonna – Like A Virgin

21. Debbie Gibson – Out Of The Blue

20. Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel 

19. Journey – Escape