Thursday, 29 August 2013

I GO TO EXTREMES, THE BILLY JOEL STORY – Bill Smith, 2007

Smith claims to have been granted access to sources no one else has, including Billy himself. If so, I wonder why he squandered such an opportunity.
Almost half the book is concerned with Billy’s early life but old school chums can only tell you so much and there are many gaps. We get the picture that he was a bit of a rebel and that he felt abandoned when his dad left but there is no real analysis. Inexplicably there is a set of letters written to an old girlfriend included as part of the glossy photo section. These show a desperately insecure young man but they are not commented on at all in the text.
Then, after the release of Cold Spring Harbour, about halfway through the book, we speed at breakneck pace through the rest of Joel’s career. The albums are not critically evaluated and the artistic process is almost brushed aside to concentrate on petty squabbles and how much alcohol was consumed.

Too much sensation and not enough feeling.

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