Billy Joel

The Hits

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The inaugural release in the Columbia/Legacy 2011 Billy Joel reissue series, The Hits is the first-ever U.S. single-disc overview of the piano man’s full career. Even his first compilation, 1986’s Greatest Hits, Vols. 1-2, was a double-LP set and so was 2001's The Essential, so just having a 19-track summation of Joel’s career is useful, but fortunately, The Hits accomplishes its job well. True, it bends the rules a little -- the opening “Everybody Loves You Now” never charted, nor did “New York State of Mind,” and there are some notable absences, chief among them his first Top Ten hit “Just the Way You Are” and “Uptown Girl,” along with the anthem “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” -- but what’s here constitutes Billy’s basic canon: “Piano Man,” “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song),” “Only the Good Die Young,” “My Life,” “You May Be Right,” “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” “Allentown,” “Pressure,” “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” Those double-disc sets dig deeper, offering other hits and album tracks, but there’s always been a need for a single disc with most of Joel’s hits, and that’s what The Hits delivers.

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