On this day in music history: August 10, 1993 – “River Of Dreams”, the twelfth album by Billy Joel is released. Produced by Billy Joel, Danny Kortchmar, Joe Nicolo and David Thoener, it is recorded at The Boathouse At The Island Boatyard in Shelter Island, NY, Cove City Sound Studios in Cove City, NY, and the Record Plant in New York City from Late 1992 – Early 1993. Issued nearly four years after his last studio album “Storm Front”, a number of the songs center around issues of trust and betrayal, inspired after Joel discovers that his former brother in law and business manager has embezzled millions of dollars from him over the years. The inspiration for the title track actually comes to the musician in a dream, which he initially disregards, believing that with its gospel overtones and biblical references, that he could not do it proper justice. It’s only when he cannot shake the catchy melody for several days afterward that he finishes writing it. To date, it is also the last full length pop album that Billy Joel has written and recorded, outside of a handful of songs (recorded for compilations) and his classical piano pieces set “Fantasies & Delusions” (written by Joel and performed by pianist Richard Joo) in 2001. The album cover for “Dreams” features a painting of Joel by his then wife, model Christie Brinkley (they divorce one year later in August of 1994). The album spins off three singles including “All About Soul” (#29 Pop) and the title track (#3 Pop, #1 AC). The album is a critical and commercial success upon its release, receiving four Grammy nominations including Record, Song, and Album Of The Year. Joel performs the song on the 36th Annual Grammy Awards in 1994, creating one of the evenings most memorable, and literally show stopping moments. Upset at the producers cutting off vocal legend Frank Sinatra’s speech while accepting the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Joel avenges his hero on live television. During the pause in “Dreams”, Joel does not begin singing again right away, instead stopping and looking at his watch and saying “valuable advertising time going by…” and “…dollars, dollars, dollars…” a number of times to the audiences amusement. The pause lasts so long that the director nearly cuts to a commercial when Billy abruptly picks up where he left off. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 1998. Originally released in US on only CD and cassette, the title is finally reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Friday Music in 2014. “River Of Dreams” enters the Billboard Top 200 at number one(on August 28, 1993), spending three weeks at the top of chart, and is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
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