Video & Audio
The front cover with eyes open. The cover art and photo seemed unusually somber for this collection.
In addition to releasing Billy Joel's Greatest Hits Volume III in 1997, Sony Music also released a special collection containing all three volumes of Billy's Greatest Hits (I, II and III) as The Complete Hits Collection. This was released both as a 3-disc set as well as a 4-disc special boxed set. The boxed set contained a fourth disc, An Evening of Questions and Answers, which is a recording of excerpts from a master class that Billy had done at Princeton. You can find a playlist of the spoken parts of this last disc here.
This is probably the most complete collection of Billy's hit songs and includes several songs that were not released as singles such as "New York State of Mind" and "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant." It does not include, however, other essential songs like "Summer, Highland Falls," "Vienna," and "Miami 2017." And it does not include some moderate hits like "Honesty" and "Sometimes A Fantasy." But it is the best collection of Billy's songs. If you get just one Billy Joel compilation, this is the one to get.
The boxed set also contained a booklet that included an in-depth article about Billy Joel by noted music journalist Timothy White which had appeared in Billboard Magazine when Billy received Billboard's Century Award. In addition, the magazine also contained a short essay from Jon Small, Billy's longtime friend and old band mate in The Hassles and Atilla. It is a very entertaining essay. Small eventually became a successful music and concert video producer.
There is also another essay from Jim Bosse, a band mate from Billy's first band, The Echoes who became The Lost Souls. Bosse is the subject of Billy's song "James," which appears on the Turnstiles album. Bosse has also recorded and release several albums of his classical guitar music, including covers of Billy's songs.
An Evening of Questions & Answers . . .
1. Billy Joel Spoken Intro/
Music Concepts (10:18)
2. Scenes From an Italian Restaurant (7:50)
3. Beatles Influence (5:18)
4. A Hard Day's Night (2:53)
5. Why Vienna? (9:28)
6. Vienna (3:41)
7. History Through the Music (4:31)
8. We Didn't Start the Fire (5:13)
9. Music Source (9:14)
10. The River of Dreams (5:20)
11. Piano Bar (7:46)
12. Piano Man (6:31)
Video Album - The Complete Hits
This is a YouTube playlist of The Complete Hits.
Billy recorded Bob Dylan's "To Make You Feel My Love" for Greatest Hits, Vol. III and The Complete Hits. Billy's version was released before Bob Dylan's version.
The fourth CD disc in The Complete Hits was a Q&A session from 1994. See above playlist, but tracks are in a different order (audio only).