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River of Dreams is the twelfth studio album by American singer-songwriter Billy Joel (and his final rock/pop album), released on August 10, 1993. River of Dreams presented a much more serious tone from Joel than found in his previous albums, dealing with issues such as trust and long-lasting love. It was rumored that the themes of trust and betrayal, particularly certain lyrics from the songs "A Minor Variation" and "The Great Wall of China", stem from Joel's legal disputes with his former manager and ex-brother-in-law, Frank Weber, who reportedly embezzled millions of dollars from Joel and used dubious accounting practices to cover it up.[7]

River of Dreams
Billy Joel - River of Dreams.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 10, 1993 (1993-08-10)
Recorded1992
StudioThe Boathouse at the Island Boatyard, Shelter Island, NY
Cove City Sound Studios, Glen Cove, NY
The Hit Factory, New York City, New York
GenreRock
Length49:10
LabelColumbia
ProducerBilly Joel, Danny Kortchmar, Joe Nicolo, David Thoener
Billy Joel chronology
Storm Front
(1989)
River of Dreams
(1993)
Greatest Hits Volume III
(1997)
A Voyage on the River of Dreams
Australian 1994 box set cover
Australian 1994 box set cover
Singles from River of Dreams
  1. "The River of Dreams"
    Released: July 19, 1993 (UK) September 1, 1993 (US)
  2. "All About Soul"
    Released: 1993
  3. "No Man's Land"
    Released: 1993
  4. "Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)"
    Released: 1994
Music video
"The River of Dreams" on YouTube
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic2/5 stars[1]
Deseret News(Positive)[2]
Entertainment Weekly10/12 stars (A-)[3]
The Los Angeles Times2/4 stars[4]
The New York Times(Not rated)[5]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars [6]

The album cover was a painting by Joel's then-wife, Christie Brinkley. In 1993, Rolling Stone gave her the Top Picks award for "The Best Album Cover of the Year".[8]

The music video for the title track has over 25 million views on YouTube as of July 25, 2019.[9]

BackgroundEdit

In the summer of 1992, Billy Joel held a series of writing and recording sessions on Shelter Island, New York[10]; these sessions eventually produced seven tracks[11], self-produced by Joel.[12]

Joel was dissatisfied with the results, and so, on the recommendation of Don Henley, he brought in session guitarist Danny Kortchmar for another take on the songs. Kortchmar agreed to produce, provided he be allowed to use session musicians on the recordings, to which Joel agreed. Only one song from the Shelter Island sessions, "Shades of Grey", would make the final album in its original produced form.[12]

Track listingEdit

All songs were written and composed by Billy Joel.

Side one
  1. "No Man's Land" – 4:48
  2. "The Great Wall of China" – 5:45
  3. "Blonde Over Blue" – 4:55
  4. "A Minor Variation" – 5:36
  5. "Shades of Grey" – 4:10
Side two
  1. "All About Soul" – 5:59
  2. "Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)" – 3:32
  3. "The River of Dreams" – 4:05
  4. "Two Thousand Years" – 5:19
  5. "Famous Last Words" – 5:01

A Voyage on the River of DreamsEdit

A Voyage on the River of Dreams is an Australian 3-CD box set released in 1994, which includes the studio album, River of Dreams, along with a 6-track live CD from the '93–'94 River of Dreams Tour, plus a Questions & Answers CD recorded at Princeton University.[13] This box set made the charts in Australia (No. 33) and New Zealand (No. 47), the only places besides Japan where the set was officially released.[14]

Disc one (River of Dreams – Studio album) – as per original album

Disc two (Billy Joel Live) All songs written and composed by Billy Joel, except where noted

  1. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" (Elton John/Bernie Taupin) – 5:08
  2. "No Man's Land" – 5:44
  3. "The Ballad of Billy the Kid" – 5:52
  4. "Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)" – 3:40
  5. "The River of Dreams" – 5:28
  6. "A Hard Day's Night" (Lennon–McCartney) – 3:20

Disc three (Questions & Answers Disc)

  1. "Q & A recorded at Princeton University"

PersonnelEdit

  • Billy Joel – lead vocals, clavinet (1, 4), Hammond organ (1, 4, 6, 8, 10), acoustic piano (2, 6-10), organ (2, 9), backing vocals (2), synthesizer (3, 8), keyboards (5)
  • Jeff Jacobs – synthesizer (2), additional programming (8)
  • Tommy Byrnes – guitar (1, 3, 5, 6)
  • Danny Kortchmar – guitar (1-4, 6, 8-10)
  • Leslie West – guitar (1, 2, 4)
  • Mike Tyler – guitar (8)
  • T.M. Stevens – bass (1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 10)
  • Lonnie Hillyer – bass (3, 8)
  • Schuyler Deale – bass (5)
  • Jeff Lee Johnson – bass (8)
  • Chuck Treece – bass (8)
  • Zachary Alford – drums (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8)
  • Liberty DeVitto – drums (5)
  • Steve Jordan – drums (9, 10)
  • Jim Saporito – percussion (2)
  • Andy Kravitz – percussion (8)
  • Arno Hecht – baritone saxophone (4)
  • Richie Cannata – tenor saxophone (4)
  • Osvaldo Melindez – trombone (4)
  • Laurence Etkin – trumpet (4)
  • Ira Newborn – orchestration (2, 6-8)
  • Lewis Del Gatto – orchestra manager (2, 6-8)
  • Frank Simms – backing vocals (1, 2, 8)
  • George Simms – backing vocals (1, 2, 8)
  • Color Me Badd – guest vocals (6)
  • Wrecia Ford – backing vocals (6, 8)
  • Marlon Saunders – backing vocals (6, 8)
  • Crystal Taliefero – backing vocals (6, 8), vocal arrangement (6, 8)
  • B. David Witworth – backing vocals (6, 8)
  • Curtis Rance King, Jr. – choir conductor and contractor (6)
  • Choir on "All About Soul" – Phillip Ballou, Katreese Barnes, Dennis Collins, Will Downing, Frank Floyd, Diane Garisto, Stephanie James, Devora Johnson, Marlon Saunders and Corliss Stafford

Production

  • Producers – Danny Kortchmar (Tracks 1-4 & 6-10); Billy Joel (Track 5).
  • Associate Producer on Track 5 – David Thoener
  • Co-Producer on Track 8 – Joe Nicolo
  • A&R – Don DeVito
  • Production Coordinator – Bill Zampino
  • Engineers – Carl Glanville (Tracks 1-7, 9 & 10); Joe Nicolo and Phil Nicolo (Track 8).
  • Assistant Engineers – Dan Hetzel and Brian Vibberts (Tracks 1-7, 9 & 10); Dick Grobelny (Track 8).
  • Recorded by Jay Healy, Bradshaw Leigh, Bob Thrasher and Dave Wilkerson.
  • Mixing – Niko Bolas (Tracks 1–4, 6, 7, 9, 10); David Thoener (Track 5); Joe Nicolo and Phil Nicolo (Track 8).
  • Assistant Mixing on Track 8 – Dick Grobelny
  • Mastered by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound (New York, NY).
  • Technical Support – Andrew Baker*, Lester Baylinson, Steve Bramberg, Laura Delia, Jon "J.D." Dworkow*, Greg Garland, Peter Goodrich, David Hewitt, Dave Hofbauer, Doug Kleeger, Howie Mendelson, Larry DeMarco, Artie Smith and Courtney Spencer.
  • Art and Commerce – Jeff Schock
  • Art Direction – Christopher Austopchuk
  • Cover Artwork – Christie Brinkley
  • Design – Sara Rotman
  • Photography – Glen Erler

AftermathEdit

River of Dreams stands as Billy Joel's most recent studio album of original pop material. Joel has often stated that the album was designed to stand as his final record and that while he still composes music, he no longer writes within the pop music vein and has no more interest in the recording industry.[15] Accordingly, Joel's succeeding one-off studio album Fantasies & Delusions which was released in 2001 was an instrumental album of classical piano pieces containing no pop songs whatsoever. However, there is currently a petition online at Change.org created by a group of Billy Joel fans asking him to put out at least one more studio album with new songs of original materials in the pop/rock genre.[16]

AccoladesEdit

Grammy AwardsEdit

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1994 River of Dreams Album of the Year[17] Nominated
"The River of Dreams" Song of the Year[17] Nominated
Record of the Year[17] Nominated
Best Pop Vocal Performance – Male[17] Nominated

ChartsEdit

Certifications and salesEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[49] 3× Platinum 210,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[50] Platinum 50,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[51] 3× Platinum 300,000^
Germany (BVMI)[52] Platinum 500,000^
Ireland (IRMA)[53] 2× Platinum 30,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[56] Platinum 241,000[a][54][55]
Netherlands (NVPI)[58] Gold 50,000[57]
New Zealand (RMNZ)[59] Platinum 15,000^
Sweden (GLF)[60] Gold 50,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[61] Platinum 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[62] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[63] 5× Platinum 5,000,000^
Summaries
Europe (IFPI)[64] 5× Platinum 5,000,000*

^shipments figures based on certification alone

  1. ^ Combined sales of standard edition and its expanded reissue.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ River of Dreams at AllMusic
  2. ^ Boren, Ray (1989-06-18). "'RIVER OF DREAMS' FEATURES WELL-CRAFTED SONGS". deseretnews.com. Deseret News. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  3. ^ Sandow, Greg (1993-08-13). "River of Dreams Review". ew.com. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  4. ^ Willman, Chris (1993-08-22). "BILLY JOEL – "River of Dreams"". articles.latimes.com. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  5. ^ Holden, Stephen (1993-08-08). "RECORDINGS VIEW; Billy Joel, A Pundit Of Suburbia". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  6. ^ Kara Manning (1993-08-19), "Music Reviews: River of Dreams by Billy Joel", Rolling Stone, archived from the original on 2008-08-07
  7. ^ Goldman, Andrew (24 May 2013). "Billy Joel on Not Working and Not Giving Up Drinking". New York Times. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  8. ^ "Christie Brinkley biography". Official website. Retrieved 2009-03-19.
  9. ^ billyjoelVEVO (2009-10-02), Billy Joel – The River of Dreams, retrieved 2019-07-25
  10. ^ "River of Dreams article". ONE FINAL SERENADE: THE SONGS OF BILLY JOEL (BILLY JOEL FAN SITE). Retrieved 2019-07-13.
  11. ^ Tony Walker (2011-12-01), Billy Joel Shelter Island Sessions Part 1-No Mans Land-Large.m4v, retrieved 2019-07-13
  12. ^ a b Schruers, Fred (2014). Billy Joel. Crown Archetype. pp. 218–220. ISBN 978-0-8041-4019-5.
  13. ^ "Billy Joel – A Voyage On the River of Dreams Australia Box Set". Eil.com. 1994-10-14. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
  14. ^ Steffen Hung (1994-11-27). "Billy Joel – A Voyage On the River of Dreams". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
  15. ^ "Billy Joel on Turning 70, Donald Trump and Why He Writes Music Just For Himself Now". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2019-05-30.
  16. ^ "Fans are petitioning Billy Joel to release a new album". 98.7 The River. February 18, 2019.
  17. ^ a b c d "THE 36TH GRAMMY NOMINATIONS : Grammy Nods: The Populists Lead the Way : Awards: Sting, who already has 10 Grammys, earns six nominations. The competition includes Whitney Houston, Billy Joel and R.E.M." article.latimes.com. The Los Angeles Times. 1994-01-07. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  18. ^ "australian-charts.com Billy Joel – River of Dreams". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  19. ^ "Billy Joel – River of Dreams – austriancharts.at". Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  20. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 58, No. 9, September 11, 1993". RPM. Archived from the original on June 1, 2016. Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  21. ^ "dutchcharts.nl Billy Joel – River of Dreams". dutchcharts.nl. MegaCharts. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  22. ^ "Billboard". 1993-09-04.
  23. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 263. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  24. ^ "Album Search: Billy Joel" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  25. ^ "MAHASZ".
  26. ^ "Tonlist Top 40". DV. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
  27. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1993" (in Italian). hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  28. ^ "ビリー・ジョエル-リリース-ORICON STYLE-ミュージック" [Highest position and charting weeks of River of Dreams by Billy Joel]. oricon.co.jp (in Japanese). Oricon Style. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  29. ^ "charts.nz – Billy Joel – River of Dreams". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  30. ^ "norwegiancharts.com Billy Joel – River of Dreams". Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  31. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard. 1993-04-12. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  32. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  33. ^ "swedishcharts.com Billy Joel – River of Dreams". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  34. ^ "Billy Joel – River of Dreams – hitparade.ch". Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  35. ^ "The Official Charts Company – Billy Joel – River of Dreams". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  36. ^ Allmusic – River of Dreams > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums
  37. ^ * Zimbabwe. Kimberley, C. Zimbabwe: albums chart book. Harare: C. Kimberley, 2000
  38. ^ "End Of Year Charts – Top 50 Albums 1993". Australian Recording Industry Association. ARIA Charts. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  39. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Jahreshitparade 1993". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  40. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1993". RPM. Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  41. ^ "Dutch Charts = dutchcharts.nl". Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  42. ^ "1993年 アルバム年間TOP100" [Oricon Year-end Albums Chart of 1993] (in Japanese). Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
  43. ^ "The Top 50 Albums of 1993". Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  44. ^ "Hitparade.ch – Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1993". Hung Medien. Retrieved May 29, 2011.
  45. ^ "UK best albums 1993". Archived from the original on 2012-09-27. Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  46. ^ "CHART: Billboard Top Pop Albums of 1993". Retrieved 2011-08-22.
  47. ^ "End Of Year Charts – Top 50 Albums 1994". Australian Recording Industry Association. ARIA Charts. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  48. ^ "CHART: Billboard Top Pop Albums of 1994". Retrieved 2011-08-22.
  49. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia’s Music Charts 1988–2010 (PDF ed.). Mt Martha, Victoria, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 146.
  50. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Billy Joel – River of Dreams" (in German). IFPI Austria.
  51. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Billy Joel – River of Dreams". Music Canada.
  52. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Billy Joel; River of Dreams)" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  53. ^ "Irish album certifications – Billy Joel – River of Dreams". Irish Recorded Music Association.
  54. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  55. ^ "a-ビリー・ジョエル" [Yamachan Land (Japanese Chart Archives) – Albums Chart Daijiten – Billy Joel] (in Japanese). Original Confidence. 2007-12-30. Archived from the original on 2012-02-08. Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  56. ^ "Japanese album certifications – ビリー・ジョエル – River of Dreams" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Select 1993年10月 on the drop-down menu
  57. ^ "de branchevereniging van de entertainmentindustrie". NVPI. Archived from the original on 2011-10-08. Retrieved 2011-08-17. Note: User needs to enter "Billy Joel" in the "Artiest" field and click below "zoek" button.
  58. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Billy Joel – River of Dreams" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Enter 'River of Dreams' in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  59. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Billy Joel – River of Dreams". Recorded Music NZ.
  60. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden.
  61. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Billy Joel; River of Dreams)". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien.
  62. ^ "British album certifications – Billy Joel – River of Dreams". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type 'River of Dreams' in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  63. ^ "American album certifications – Billy Joel – River of Dreams". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  64. ^ "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards – 1994". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)