BILLY JOEL – ” New York State of Mind ” (Live at the Great American Music Hall – 1975)

Posted: October 29, 2021 in MUSIC
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Billy Joel has released an early version of his iconic song “New York State of Mind,” recorded live during a 1975 San Francisco performance.

This recording predates the official release of “New York State of Mind,” which would not occur until it appeared on Joel’s 1976 album, “Turnstiles”.

“We were all living in California in 1974-75,” Brian Ruggles, who was then Joel’s engineer and live sound producer, . “Billy was in Malibu and I was living in Hollywood. He’d been in California for a few years and was really homesick for New York. He wanted to get back there. His roots are in New York and he missed it a lot.

“He came up with the idea for the song as he rode — on the Hudson River Line, actually — to his house in Highland Falls, New York,” Ruggles added. “He wrote the song down when he got home. This was months before we recorded “Turnstiles.

The live version will appear on Joel’s forthcoming box “The Vinyl Collection, Vol. 1“. The set arrives on November. 5th and includes an unreleased live album, “Live at the Great American Music Hall – 1975“, in addition to his first six LPs.

Joel can be heard making a few spontaneous quips while performing “New York State of Mind.” “That’s where John Denver is, I’ve heard,” he jokes after singing the line “Been high in the Rockies under the evergreens.” After rehearsing the song and performing it live, Joel decided to take a similar approach on the subsequent studio version.

Billy liked the arrangement, so they recorded it that way on the album,” Ruggles said. “I remember that the recording truck was owned by the drummer of Creedence Clearwater Revival, and it was parked outside the Great American Music Hall. It was old-school recording, but we were able to put together a pretty good recording for this special release. It stands up really well after almost 46 years or so.”

Billy Joel’s 50 years as a songwriter, performer and recording artist has gifted the world with countless hits and classics.Celebrate his music with The Vinyl Collection, Vol. 1 — consisting of first six solo studio albums (‘Cold Spring Harbor,’ ‘Piano Man,’ ‘Streetlife Serenade,’ ‘Turnstiles,’ ‘The Stranger,’ ‘52nd Street’), his first live album (‘Songs in the Attic’) and an exclusive pressing of the previously unreleased ‘Live at The Great American Music Hall – 1975!’

 With countless hits and influence that spans the globe Legacy will be highlighting Billy Joel’s catalogue for the remainder of the year, with a focus on his early career.  

One aspect of the campaign will be The Vinyl Collection, Vol. 1, an 8 album (9-LP) boxset that includes Joel’s albums from the 1970s  Also included is a previously unreleased live album, Live at The Great American Music Hall, which will only be available in the boxset.  

Though Legacy Recordings insists its exclusive 1975 live disc in their new Billy Joel vinyl box set will not be available outside of the project, they’ve made two tracks from that set available digitally, and it makes us wish it was broken out from the expensive box. It’s one of the better Billy concerts we’ve sampled! (Check out this neat original promo video of “Everybody Loves You Now” the Billy camp has unearthed, too.)

The boxset includes a 50+ page booklet that highlights Joel’s early career through photos, quotes, and an essay.  This project is a wonderful opportunity to remind core fans about Joel’s discography while capturing a new, younger audience, digitally.  Recently Joel’s influence on Gen Z has been showcased through TikTok trend for “Zanzibar,” name-checked in Olivia Rodrigo’s smash “deja vu” lyrics I’ll bet that she knows Billy Joel / ‘Cause you played her Uptown Girl (co-writer and producer Dan Nigro wrote the line and is the Billy Joel fan) and sited as an influence for BTS’ “Butter” video.  The physical product will be for Joel’s established fans,

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