|An Innocent Man|
|Studio album by|
|Released||August 8, 1983|
|Recorded||Chelsea Sound and A&R Recording, Inc., New York, NY Spring, 1983|
|Billy Joel chronology|
|Singles from An Innocent Man|
|Christgau's Record Guide||B+|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
An Innocent Man is the ninth studio album by American singer-songwriter Billy Joel, released on August 8, 1983. The concept album is a tribute to the American popular music of Joel's adolescent years with Joel paying homage to a number of different and popular American musical styles from the late 1950s and early 1960s, most notably doo-wop and soul music. The album cover artwork was taken on the front steps of 142 Mercer Street, just north of the intersection of Mercer and Prince Street in the SoHo neighborhood in New York City.
The album featured three Billboard Top 10 hit singles: "Tell Her About It" (No. 1), "Uptown Girl" (No. 3) and "An Innocent Man" (No. 10). Four other singles were released from the album: "The Longest Time" (No. 14), "Leave a Tender Moment Alone" (No. 27), "Keeping the Faith" (No. 18) and "This Night" (US B-side of "Leave a Tender Moment Alone"). "Tell Her About It" and "Uptown Girl" garnered international success--"Uptown Girl" reached No. 1 in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. An Innocent Man remained on the US Pop album chart for 111 weeks, becoming Joel's longest charting studio album behind The Stranger. For over a year, the album remained on the charts in the UK, Japan and Australia.
Like his three previous efforts, Joel's An Innocent Man received a nomination for the 26th Grammy Award for Album of the Year, although the award went to Michael Jackson's Thriller. The album was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "Uptown Girl," but again was beaten by Thriller.
In an interview about the making of the album, Joel talks about the fact that at the time that he was recording An Innocent Man, he was newly divorced from his first wife, Elizabeth Weber, and was single for the first time since achieving rock star status. He had the opportunity to date supermodels like Elle Macpherson and Christie Brinkley, and because of these experiences, he said, "I kind of felt like a teenager all over again."  Joel started writing songs in the same styles as pop songs that he remembered from his teenage years, citing pop music from the late 1950s and early 1960s, including "early R&B songs and The Four Seasons, and the Motown music, soul music." According to Joel, the various songs weren't meant to be autobiographical, and instead center around various made-up characters.
Joel explained, "When you're gonna write [songs for a new album], you write what you're feeling. And I didn't fight it. The material was coming so easily and so quickly, and I was having so much fun doing it. I was kind of reliving my youth. ... I think within 6 weeks I had written most of the material on the album." Joel also said that he was pleasantly surprised to have hit records in the 1980s with retro songs like the mostly a cappella doo wop song "The Longest Time." The song "Easy Money", which was made as a tribute to early R&B, was initially written for the 1983 film of the same name starring Rodney Dangerfield, and was the song that "kicked off" the creation of An Innocent Man, according to Joel. Dangerfield later made a cameo appearance at the end of the music video for the song "Tell Her About It". The song "Christie Lee" describes a narrative about a saxophone player who has his heart broken by a woman he falls in love with, whom he later realizes is only interested in him for his saxophone skills.
All songs by Billy Joel, except for the chorus for "This Night," which is credited on the sleeve to L. v. Beethoven.
The track listing on the LP is slightly different from that on the cassette and original CD pressings, with the latter swapping the places of "The Longest Time" and "Uptown Girl" respectively. However, on the actual cassette shell and disc label, the songs are listed (and play) in the correct order as printed on the LP.
|1.||"Easy Money" (Homage to James Brown and Wilson Pickett)||4:04|
|2.||"An Innocent Man" (Homage to Ben E. King and The Drifters)||5:17|
|3.||"The Longest Time" (Homage to doo-wop groups like Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers)||3:42|
|4.||"This Night" (Homage to Little Anthony and the Imperials; also to Ludwig van Beethoven's Pathetique sonata)||4:17|
|5.||"Tell Her About It" (Homage to Motown groups like The Supremes and The Temptations)||3:52|
|6.||"Uptown Girl" (Homage to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons)||3:17|
|7.||"Careless Talk" (Homage to Sam Cooke)||3:48|
|8.||"Christie Lee" (Homage to Little Richard or Jerry Lee Lewis)||3:31|
|9.||"Leave a Tender Moment Alone" (Homage to Smokey Robinson)||3:56|
|10.||"Keeping the Faith" (Lyrical homage to Pre-British Invasion Rock n Roll)||4:41|
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|1984||An Innocent Man||Album of the Year||Nominated|
|"Uptown Girl"||Best Pop Vocal Performance - Male||Nominated|
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|1983||Billy Joel (performer)||Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist||Nominated|
|"Tell Her About It"||Favorite Pop/Rock Video ||Nominated|
|Australia (ARIA)||5× Platinum||350,000^|
|Canada (Music Canada)||3× Platinum||300,000^|
|Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)||Gold||10,000*|
|Japan (Oricon Charts)||--||510,000|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Platinum||15,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||3× Platinum||900,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||7× Platinum||7,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone