Billy Joel‘s acclaimed eighth studio album, The Nylon Curtain, was released 40 years ago — September 23, 1982.

The album peaked at #7 on the Billboard 200. It included the hit singles “Allentown” and “Pressure,” which reached #17 and #20, respectively, on the Billboard Hot 100. 

Produced by Phil Ramone, the Beatles-influenced project is one of the first to be digitally recorded, mixed and mastered, and featured Joel exploring more complex arrangements.

The album also found the Piano Man tackling weighty topical themes, such as the aforementioned “Allentown,” which was about the declining steel industry in the U.S., and the Vietnam War elegy “Goodnight Saigon.”

Joel filmed a video for “Goodnight Saigon” at New York’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, and the clip featured a group of Vietnam vets joining him onstage to sing the song. Over the years, Billy has continued to have veterans and military members sing the tune with him onstage when he plays it in concert.

The Nylon Curtain was nominated for an Album of the Year Grammy, but lost to Toto‘s Toto IV.

In a 2011 video interview, Joel explained that he wanted The Nylon Curtain to be “a sonic masterpiece,” adding, “I consider [it] maybe my best recorded effort.”

The Nylon Curtain has gone on to sell over 2 million copies in the U.S.

Here’s the full track list:

“Goodnight Saigon”
“She’s Right On Time”
“A Room of Our Own”
“Scandinavian Skies”
“Where’s the Orchestra”

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