Billy Joel's 1973 breakthrough album came after various would-be jump-starts for the multi-talented Long Islander. He'd already committed a solo debut (Cold Spring Harbor) before landing at Columbia, which issued Piano Man to AM and FM radio acclaim. Joel's sound would prove to be an appealing tonic to fans of Elton John and James Taylor, who'd already broken the singer-songwriter sweepstakes open. Joel would go full circle over the years, writing everything from standards like "Just the Way You Are" and rockers like "You May Be Right" before returning to big statements on The Nylon Curtain.) The big numbers here are, of course, the autobiographical title track (which seemed to yearn for Joel's mixed-blessing days of anonymity )and the cryptic, epic-length "Captain Jack.