Saturday, October 21, 2017

"Keeping the Faith" by Billy Joel

Song#:  2199
Date:  01/26/1985
Debut:  57
Peak:  18
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  Joel's album An Innocent Man had already spawned five singles. With the fifth one, "Leave a Tender Moment Alone," not performing as well as the previous singles (it peaked at #27), it seemed like that would be it for the album. However, the song was the LPs fourth #1 at AC, so with support still happening at that format, the label thought a sixth single might still generate some interest. It did just that with AC taking the song to #3. Those results may not have been all that surprising, but the response at Pop was. It ended up surpassing the previous single and grabbed a spot just inside the Top 20. With that final success, Joel's Innocent Man era came to a close.

ReduxReview:  This nostalgic tune probably should have been issued before "Leave a Tender Moment Alone." It just seemed to be a better fit for pop radio and the associated courtroom video, which featured cameos by Richard Prior and Joe Piscopo, was a fun one for MTV and the just-launched VH1 channel. It's a good tune with a bit of a rock edge and a nice horn/sax section. Besides the reflective lyrics, the song isn't necessarily as retro sounding as others on the album. I guess it's supposed to pay homage to pre-British Invasion rock, but I'm not really hearing that here. Regardless, it was a nice album closer and a good single.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  This song is about a guy who is nostalgically looking back on his years as a young man in the 50s. The lyrics contain references to certain styles and products that were popular during the era. One item mentioned was not all that familiar to a younger generation. A line in the song says "I took a fresh pack of Luckies and a mint called Sen-Sen." While folks were still familiar with Lucky Strike cigarettes, many didn't know about Sen-Sen candy.  Developed in the 1890's, the licorice flavored candy was first marketed as "breath perfume" and was meant to mask odors caused by things like smoking (hence, the candy being mentioned in the same lyric line as a cigarette). It was considered the first breath mint and was quite popular from the 30s through the 50s. Although it got pushed back on the shelves as other new candies and mints came along, it remained popular and was later marketed as a nostalgia item until the candy stopped being made sometime around 2004.


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