From a town known as Oyster Bay Long Island, Rode a boy with a six-pack in his hand…”

As Billy Joel prepares to blow out the candles on seventy this week, it felt right to dust off something more akin to seventeen. There are moments in time when a photographer’s lens or a tape recorder’s microphones capture that magical moment just before history is made, and that’s what we have here: Billy Joel and his live band, even then aces all, poised on the launching pad of stardom mere months before The Stranger  would forever change his life and pop culture, playing a regional stronghold for Billy Joel, the University of Connecticut at New London just before Christmas break in 1976. Three years earlier I had discovered the brilliant songwriting on the album Piano Man  by playing on the radio not only the now-famous title song but also the heroin cautionary tale “Captain Jack” and the semi-autobiographical “Billy the Kid“, a very rare live version which we share here. –Redbeard