A few days ago, I was in the car driving to do a collection of errands including the joyous experience of picking up an ice-cream birthday cake for one of our lads (his favourite dessert, at least at some time, and now a tradition), to share at our first family gathering in a year.
I was listening to The Bridge on SiriusXM radio, a channel that features soft-rock, with a lot of it coming from the 1970s. One of the songs that played was “Just the Way You Are,” one of several major hits from American singer-songwriter, composer and producer Billy Joel’s fifth record, The Stranger (1977), an album that launched him into commercial and critical success.
I’ve never really followed Joel’s career though I do like some of his songs, particularly today’s selection. I remember it being played as a late-in-the-evening waltz at most if not all social evenings I attended back in the 1970s and 80s (please check out my post on “Sunshine on Leith” for my take on the Manitoba phenomenon, the “social” or “social evening”). It’s also a standard at weddings due to its romantic theme and lyrics about accepting and cherishing each other, as we are. (Well, mostly… there’s a line or two that are not quite on-point, in that regard.)
Hearing “Just the Way You Are” the other day, I was drawn in by the production of it. Even in the 1970s, without the benefits of today’s computerized technologies, producers were using innovative techniques to create unique sounds like the multi-tracked vocal loop that appears throughout the song. It’s been recognized as similar to the effect in the British group 10cc’s, “I’m Not in Love” (in which, as stated in a Wikipedia article, co-producer and band member Eric Stewart “… spent three weeks recording [band members] Gouldman, Godley and Creme singing ‘ahhh’ 16 times for each note of the chromatic scale, building up a ‘choir’ of 48 voices for each note of the scale.”). Please, while you’re here anyway, why not check out my post on that song. The production room magic by Joel and co. adds a wonderful, dreamy layer to “Just the Way You Are.”
Here’s to accepting everyone — including ourselves. And having folks around us to support, honour, celebrate and cherish us all in that; and yeah, just the way we are.
Have a wonderful weekend.
Now you know a little about why this is my Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.
Here’s the official audio from Billy Joel’s YouTube channel:
Unofficial lyrics are courtesy of AZLyrics.com.