The Vinyl Dialogues Blog

Stories behind memorable albums of the 1970s as told by the artists

Tag: Billy Joel

Mike DelGuidice and Big Shot bring the Billy Joel big time

From the very first song I heard Mike DelGuidice and his band Big Shot perform at last year’s Ambler Arts and Music Festival, my thought was, “Hey, this guy is pretty good. He really nails those Billy Joel songs.”

Well, that’s because DelGuidice and Big Shot have been performing Billy Joel’s music for nearly two decades. In fact, DelGuidice  is so good that in 2013, Joel hired him to be a backing vocalist and guitarist for Joel’s band. If you do an artist’s songs so well that the artist hires you to help him do his own songs, that’s pretty doggone good. 

But I didn’t know any of that the first time I heard DelGuidice and Big Shot. And I love those moments when I first discover an artist whose work I hadn’t previously known. I research the artist, listen to his/her stuff, become a fan and start to follow … Read more

The Lords of 52nd Street: We still like them just the way they are

Billy Joel had made four albums for Columbia Records in the early to mid-1970s – “Cold Spring Harbor” in 1971; “Piano Man” in 1973; “Streetlife Serenade” in 1974: and “Turnstiles” in 1976. Joel had moderate success with a couple of those albums, but not enough for the Columbia suits. They wanted better sales results.

Columbia thought that Joel needed a strong producer on his next album, which would be called “The Stranger.” And Sir George Martin, the man who had produced the Beatles and was famous enough at that time to be known as “the Fifth Beatle,” was interested. He was coming to see Joel and his band, which included Liberty DeVitto on drums, Doug Stegmeyer on bass, Russell Javors on electric and acoustic guitar and Richie Cannata on saxophone and clarinet, all of whom had contributed to the “Turnstiles” album.

Martin liked what he saw and after the show … Read more

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