Billy Joel's 'The Stranger' at 40: A Track-by-Track Guide

The Piano Man was on the verge of getting dropped by his label when he unleashed the biggest album of his career

"Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)"

The first of the many characters we meet on The Stranger is Anthony, a Long Island grocery-store worker with dreams of making it big. "At the time I just pictured some lady yelling out of a house, 'Anthony! Anthony!'" Joel said. "I was thinking about a kid who's been living at home and getting a lot of pressure from his family to go his own way. He isn't buying into the whole upward mobility thing." That sort of resistance to societal pressures was a theme that Joel would hit again and again. The single reached Number 17 on the Hot 100 and has remained a key part of his live show for the past four decades. Its fame only grew when it became the title of his 2002 Broadway show.