Monday, April 30, 2018

"You're Only Human (Second Wind)" by Billy Joel

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2389
Date:  07/13/1985
Debut:  50
Peak:  9
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Following the run of Joel's multi-platinum hit album An Innocent Man, his label thought it would be a good time to issue out a hits compilation. With twenty-six charting songs to his name since 1974 including seven Top 10's, most industry folks would say a hits disc was long overdue. However, Joel had always been opposed to the idea of one as he considered them to be things you did to cap off a career and he was far from being at that point. However, this time around Joel reconsidered and finally agreed to a hits collection. It would be a doozie. Assembled on four LPs (or two CDs), Greatest Hits - Volume I & Volume II would cover Joel's entire career up to this point. It included twenty-five of his most well-known songs along with two brand new tracks that would be used to help promote the compilation. This first single was one of the new tracks and after debuting at the chart's halfway point, it moved on up into the Pop Top 10. It also got to #2 at AC and #26 Rock. The song certainly helped sell the compilation and it reached #6. By January of '86 it had already moved two million copies. (Note: RIAA certification standards counts the number of physical discs towards the total. Therefore, if a double-LP is sold, it would count as two discs sold instead of one for the whole set. So double-platinum for Joel's set could mean that anywhere from 250,000-500,000 actual full copies of the set were sold since the LP version had four discs and the CD version had two.)

ReduxReview:  This shuffle is one in Joel's Top 10 catalog that has kind of been lost over time. I never hear it anymore. It's a nice song with a good message, but I wouldn't rank it high on a list of Joel's best song. He really puts an 80s synth production sheen on the track, which certainly ages it. To me, the track is similar to Julian Lennon's "Too Late for Goodbyes," both in feel and production. Joel was a hot commodity at the time and I think his popularity helped get this song into the Top 10. If any other artist had issued this at the time, I don't think it would have done nearly as well. It's a good tune, but it pales in comparison to Joel's best singles.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The lyrics to this bouncy, upbeat tune are actually about something quite sad an unfortunate. It is about teenage depression and suicide, which is something Joel experienced himself as a youth. Yet instead of making a ballad with gloomy lyrics, Joel focused on a more optimistic message and gave the song a happier feel. Joel also gave all the profits from the song to the National Committee for Youth Suicide Prevention.  2) The GH I&II set would end up being a massive seller over time. By 2011, it was certified for sales of over 23 million in the US alone. However, that is based on number of physical discs (as mentioned above). The actual number of full copies of the compilation sold is around 11 million, which still puts it on the list of best selling albums of all-time in the US and remains Joel's biggest selling title.


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