Monday, February 15, 2016

"Tell Her About It" by Billy Joel

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  1552
Date:  07/30/1983
Debut:  38
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  With his album The Nylon Curtain, Joel had something to prove. He wanted everyone to know that he could be a serious songwriter and not just an entertaining pop piano man. For the most part it worked with the album hitting the Top 10 and receiving a Grammy nod for Album of the Year. But its dark tone shut out some listeners and sales of the album were far less than that of his three previous studio albums. It didn't help that singles from the album only did minor business with "Allentown" doing the best at #17. With that out of his system, Joel then decided to pay tribute to music styles from the 50s and 60s that influenced him as a teenager. The far more upbeat An Innocent Man would reignite Joel's pop star thanks to this first single that became his second Pop #1 (#1 AC/#17 Rock/#38 Dance). The album would be a major hit reaching #4 and eventually selling over 7 million copies. It's success led to a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year.

ReduxReview:  As much as I loved The Nylon Curtain, it really did suck all the air out of the pop room. Many folks didn't know what to make of it and even wondered if it might have lost him a chunk of his audience. And then Joel opened a window and let this big breath of fresh air in. There seemed to be a collective sigh from everyone when this hit the airwaves. It was a brilliant move by Joel to go retro and present it in and updated pop/rock way. It had cross-generation appeal and a video that secured heavy rotation on MTV. I don't think he could have released a better song at the time.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The video for this song has Joel and his band performing as "B.J. and the Affordables" on a 1963 episode of The Ed Sullivan Show. A Sullivan impersonator introduces the band after the famous Topo Gigio finishes (for those who don't know, Topo Gigio was a talking mouse from an Italian children's show that became internationally famous thanks to Sullivan's show). Sullivan's variety show ran from 1948 to 1971 on CBS and he is credited for introducing major stars like The Beatles to audiences. The video's scenario worked perfectly for Joel's retro song. 2) Each song on An Innocent Man was meant to pay homage to a different artist and style from the 50s/60s eras. This song was meant to be a take on the Motown sound and groups like The Supremes and The Temptations.


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