The Stranger is the fifth studio album by American singer-songwriter Billy Joel, released on September 29, 1977. While his four previous albums had been moderately successful, The Stranger became Joel’s true critical and commercial breakthrough, spending six weeks at #2 on the U.S. album charts. It remains his best-selling non-compilation album to date, and was ranked number 70 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Much of the album’s success is attributed to Joel’s collaboration with producer Phil Ramone, whose innovative production methods complemented the album’s listing; this fruitful partnership would continue for a decade. Singles released from the album include “Just the Way You Are” (which won the Grammy for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year). This album overtook Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water to become the best-selling album on the Columbia Records imprint at the time.
Don’t go changing, to try and please me
You never let me down before
Don’t imagine you’re too familiar
And I don’t see you anymore
I wouldn’t leave you in times of trouble
We never could have come this far
I took the good times, I’ll take the bad times
I’ll take you just the way you are
Don’t go trying some new fashion
Don’t change the color of your hair
You always have my unspoken passion
Although I might not seem to care
I don’t want clever conversation
I never want to work that hard
I just want someone that I can talk to
I want you just the way you are.
I need to know that you will always be
The same old someone that I knew
What will it take till you believe in me
The way that I believe in you.
I said I love you and that’s forever
And this I promise from the heart
I could not love you any better
I love you just the way you are.
[In memory of Phil Ramone – dedicated to H.K.]