Great Rock Albums of 1980: Billy Joel- Glass Houses


Back in the late 1970s, Billy Joel was known as the singer who sat behind a piano and sang such ballads as “Just The Way You Are” or more pop oriented tunes like “Piano Man” or “My Life.” I admit that I liked these very songs back then, after all, they weren’t disco. However, I knew that he had the potential to be a little harder with his sound. Evidence of this can be sighted with songs like “Only the Good Die Young,” (I always thought the song would have been perfect if they used a fuzz box with the guitar) the guitar in “Big Shot” and my all time favourite song of his, “Captain Jack.” In 1980, Billy Joel finally realised this potential with the “Glass Houses” album.

If you asked any hard rocker and many metalheads back in the 80s about Billy Joel, they would probably say they liked “Glass Houses” or at the very least, it was an okay album. It helps a great deal that the album begins with that famous glass breaking sound followed by my all time second favourite Billy Joel song, “You May Be Right.” The rest of the album follows on with catchy rock tunes like, “Sometimes a Fantasy” and the big top forty hit “It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me” which as far as hit singles go, is not that bad. I won’t say that this album ranks with any of the monster metal albums but I have to give Billy Joel and “A” for effort in trying to go harder here.

Track Listing:

1. You May Be Right

2. Sometimes a Fantasy

3. Don’t Ask Me Why

4. It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me

5. All For Leyna

6. I Don’t Want To Be Alone

7. Sleeping With The Television On

8. C’etait Toi (You Are The One)

9. Close To The Borderline

10. Through The Long Night

Billy Joel

Billy Joel

Billy Joel- vocals, piano, synthesisers, harmonica, accordion

Dave Brown- guitars

Richie Cannata- organ, flute, saxophone

Liberty DeVitto- drums, percussion

Russell Javors- guitars

Doug Stegmeyer- bass

“Glass Houses” will go down in history as the one Billy Joel album found acceptable by many metalheads. Unfortunately, his later albums would go down the trail of 1980s commercial rock; although he did play piano on the Twisted Sister song “Be Cruel To Your School.” Even the thought of “Uptown Girl” still makes me want to put on some Venom or Slayer and smash things up. As a rock album, this one is all right with me.

Next post: The Clash- London Calling

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: