How was this not a huge hit? I mean, seriously, listen to it. Listen to it. This thing’s a blockbuster.
Billy Joel’s epic was never released as a single Stateside, perhaps because the folks at Columbia Records felt 1978 America wasn’t ready for a Righteous Brothers/Wall of Sound pastiche. (The song was released in the UK but only reached no. 50 on its charts.) I’m not sure that was the case, however. 1950s/60s nostalgia was booming by then, not just on screens (hell, the year’s biggest box office hit was Grease), but on radios, too – records from Meat Loaf and the Ramones (among others) proved the spirit of Phil Spector remained.
Joel’s throwback songwriting habits would begin to pay off in 1981, when a live version of his Ronnie Spector-inspired song “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” cracked the Billboard Top 20, and again in 1983, when his all-retro An Innocent Man became one of his most successful albums.
And yet “Until the Night” remains a cult favorite at best, a deep cut well known by fans but few others. But man, what a deep cut.