Thursday, October 31, 2019

"This Is the Time" by Billy Joel

Song#:  2938
Date:  11/15/1986
Debut:  78
Peak:  18
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Joel's tenth album, The Bridge, would end up being a double-platinum seller thanks to a pair of #10 hits including the rock-leaning "A Matter of Trust." To try and eke out more sales, this third single was issued out. The reflective tune was a hit at AC where it became his seventh #1 on that chart. The news wasn't quite as good at Pop where the single stalled just inside the Top 20. Still, it was Joel's twentieth Pop Top 20 entry.

ReduxReview:  I'm guessing the sentiment of the song and the chorus is what pushed this up to the top spot at AC. For Pop radio, this was kind of a boring song. It didn't have much to offer besides a somewhat memorable chorus. I was surprised it made the Top 20. After its chart run, the song disappeared. It is rarely heard anymore and often gets left off of his hits collections (usually in favor of his lower charting duet with Ray Charles, "Baby Grand"). Joel's career still had enough gas in the tank to help power this ho-hum tune up the chart.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Joel's tour for The Bridge took him to a place where Western rock music wasn't necessarily accepted. During the Cold War, rock music from Western artists was not allowed in the USSR so virtually no major music stars performed there. In 1979, Elton John submitted a request to perform in the Soviet Union and it was accepted. He performed eight shows and it was seen as a successful event, but it certainly didn't break down the door for other artists to flow in. A few acts, like James Taylor and Santana, did one-off appearances at a festival, but their performances and even John's few theater shows were not like their normal touring productions. As the Cold War began to thaw a bit in the late 80s and the implementation of Gorbachev's "glasnost" openness policy, the Soviet government decided to invite a pop/rock star from the States to do a small, six show, fully produced tour. They settled on Billy Joel as they thought he was a good, safe first choice. Joel accepted and in the Summer of '87 went over. Russians were not used to stadium rock shows, so Joel's shows were a bit awkward at the start, but eventually went well (save for a diva-sized meltdown by Joel at one of his shows directed at his lighting crew). The Russian economy wasn't necessarily the best and so Joel ended up investing a couple million of his own money to support the shows. To help recoup costs, a film crew was sent along to record the shows and plans were made to release a live album. The double disc titled Kohuept (or Kontsert) was issued out in the fall of '87. It would reach #38 and go platinum. There was one single released from the LP, a cover of The Beatles' "Back in the U.S.S.R." It failed to make the Pop chart, but was a very minor entry at Rock (#45). A few more acts would perform in Russia afterwards and more would be able to do so following the end of the Cold War.


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