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

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"Scenes From an Italian Restaurant"

In the brilliant words of Rob Sheffield, this is Billy Joel's "Jungleland," his multi-part epic that gets crowds singing along at the top of their lungs and even tearing up a little near the end. The actual Italian restaurant that inspired it was Fontana di Trevi, which used to be across the street from Carnegie Hall. Billy Joel had dinner there with Phil Ramone a lot in the early days of conceiving The Stranger, and this song was actually three different tunes they sewed together: "The Italian Restaurant Song," "Things Are Okay in Oyster Bay" and "The Ballad of Brenda and Eddie." Taken as a whole, they chart the doomed marriage of quintessential Long Islanders Brenda and Eddie. It was never a proper single, but it's become perhaps Joel's single most beloved tune. 

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