Billy's earlier music videos were simple promotional videos of him performing songs, such as "Everybody Loves You Now" or "James" or "Say Goodbye to Hollywood." By 1978's 52nd Street, Billy released slightly more sophisticated videos for "My Life," "Stiletto (intro)," "Honesty" and "Big Shot." Then with advent of MTV, Billy released three videos that were in heavy rotation on the fledgling network: "You May Be Right," "It's Still Rock and Roll To Me," and the manic "Sometimes A Fantasy." The music videos for his next studio albums, The Nylon Curtain (1982) and An Innocent Man (1983) were very popular and clever including "Pressure," "Allentown," "Uptown Girl" and "Tell Her About It." He only did one video for The Bridge ("A Matter of Trust") then came back with several more for Storm Front and River of Dreams: "We Didn't Start The Fire," "I Go To Extremes," "Lullabye," and "River of Dreams" among others.
Billy Joel - The Video Album, Volume I(1986) This was the first video (VHS) of Billy Joel's music videos up through 1986. It contained most of his big hits including a new video for "Piano Man" (which was replaced with a live version in The Essential Video Collection in 2001). Videos included are: Piano Man, All For Leyna, Tell Her About It, Honesty, Sometimes A Fantasy, The Night Is Still Young, Pressure, Stiletto/My Life, Keepin' the Faith, and A Matter of Trust. This was popular among Billy Joel fans at the time, as this was well before the advent of the Internet and YouTube, this was the only way to see the videos whenever you wanted. (Note that there is another "Piano Man" video from 1974 which is not available on any VHS or DVD as far as I can tell).
Billy Joel - The Video Album, Volume II(1986) Soon after The Video Album, Volume I was released (or around the same time), Billy released Volume II. This contained another set of great music videos covering the same period, up to 1986. Videos on this tape are: "You're Only Human (Second Wind)," "Everybody Loves You Now," "Uptown
Girl," "You May Be Right," "Big Shot," "The Longest Time," "Allentown,"
"Los Angelenos," "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me," and "Baby Grand." Several years later, these two video albums were released on one DVD as "Billy Joel: The Essential Video Collection" with a couple changes (see below).
Eye of the Storm (1990) This video (VHS) was the accompanying video to the Storm Frontalbum. It contains just five videos: "The Downeaster Alexa," "We Didn't Start The Fire," "Leningrad," "I Go To Extremes" and a live version of "The Downeaster Alexa" which version is only available on this video. It features jazz violinist Jean Luc-Ponty. For me, that's good enough reason to buy it, but for casual fans, they are better off with The Essential Video Collection which has all of these videos except the live video for "The Downeaster Alexa." Neither, however, contains the video for "And So It Goes" from Storm Front, which can be found on Greatest Hits III and The Essential Video Collection. A live version of "Shameless" is on Greatest Hits III (video) but not here nor on the Essential video collection.
Billy Joel: Greatest Hits, Volume III (1997) This was the companion video (VHS and DVD) to Billy's Greatest Hits, Volume III. Before each music video, Billy gives a little bit of background about the song, which is informative. The dialogue, however, cuts into the introduction of each song, which is a bit annoying. There was never a music video for "This Is The Time" which is on the audio album, but this video does include new videos for "Shameless" (live version), "All About Soul," the video for "And So It Goes" (which is not on any other VHS or DVD) and two of the three "new" tracks ("To Make You Feel My Love," "Hey Girl"). There was never a video for Billy's great cover of Leonard Cohen's "Light As The Breeze."
Billy Joel: The Essential Video Collection (2001) This collection of Billy's music videos came out at the same time that The Essential Billy Joel audio CD was released. Columbia had issued a series of these "essential" CDs for its top artist like Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and others. They were very popular. This music video collection contains the same videos as in the 1986's two Video Albums plus videos from after that period. It does not, however, include the "Piano Man" video made for the 1986 Video Album nor the revised "Big Shot' Video made at that time. It substitutes a live version of "Piano Man" (from Live in Yankee Stadium) and has the old "Big Shot' video. It does include a video for "James" and some from after 1986 as well.
Billy discusses the making of music videos in this excerpt from a Q&A session in Germany on June 4, 1995.
All music and lyrics by Billy Joel, except as noted. This is an unofficial fan site providing information and commentary on Billy Joel's music. It is not affiliated, endorsed, or sponsored by Billy Joel, Sony Music, Columbia Records, Maritime Music, or any Billy Joel organization. Billy Joel's official site is at BillyJoel.com.
One Final Serenade: The Songs of Billy Joel (Billy Joel Fan Site)