Storm Front is the eleventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Billy Joel, released on October 17, 1989. It features one of Joel’s three No. 1 hits, “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, a fast-paced song that cataloged a list of historical events, trends, and cultural icons from after World War II (when Joel was born) until 1989, and “Leningrad”, a story-song about a friendship between an American and a Russian during the final years of the Cold War.
“I Go to Extremes”, a song describing the ups and downs of his emotional life, placed at No. 6. Other songs that placed in the top 100 were “And So It Goes” (No. 37), “The Downeaster ‘Alexa” (No. 57), and “That’s Not Her Style” (No. 77). The cover depicts the maritime storm warning flag indicating wind forces 10-12, the highest intensity on the Beaufort scale.
Storm Front marked a radical change in Joel’s backing band. Since his last studio album (The Bridge), both Russell Javors and Doug Stegmeyer, long-time members of Joel’s band, were discharged from their respective duties as rhythm guitarist and bass guitarist. Javors was replaced with Joey Hunting for the record and by Tommy Byrnes on tour while Stegmeyer was replaced by Schuyler Deale. Band regulars Liberty DeVitto, David Brown and Mark Rivera were retained. Joel also hired the percussionist and multi-instrumentalist Crystal Taliefero beginning with this album.
In 1991, Garth Brooks recorded “Shameless” on his album Ropin’ the Wind. Brooks’ cover version was also released as a single and reached the top of the US country charts, and also entered the UK Singles Chart.
Paul Anka covered “I Go to Extremes” on his 2007 album Classic Songs, My Way.
Jennifer Warnes covered “And So It Goes” for her 2001 album The Well. (by wikipedia)
When he went for a masterpiece on The Nylon Curtain, Billy Joel worked with his band and producer Phil Ramone, crafting a Beatlesque song suite that was perfectly in step with Turnstiles. For Storm Front, he decided it was time to change things. He fired Ramone. He fired everyone in his band, save longtime drummer Liberty DeVito. He hired Mick Jones, the architect behind Foreigner’s big AOR sound, to man the boards. He wrote a set of sober, somber songs, save “That’s Not Her Style,” a weirdly defensive song about his model wife, Christie Brinkley. He was left with an album that is singularly joyless. Joel makes no bones about his ambitions for Storm Front — when you lead with a history lesson as your first single (the monotonous chant “We Didn’t Start the Fire”), it’s clear that you’re not interested in fun. That wouldn’t have been a problem if his melodic skills weren’t in decline. Joel packed all the strongest numbers into the first half of Storm Front, from the rocking “That’s Not Her Style” and “I Go to Extremes” to the fisherman’s plight “The Downeaster ‘Alexa'” and the power ballad “Shameless,” which Garth Brooks later made a standard. Compared to the murky second side, which perks up only mildly with “Leningrad” and “And So It Goes,” it’s upbeat, varied, melodic, and effective, but when it’s compared to his catalog — not only such high-water marks as The Stranger or Glass Houses, but with a record as uneven as The Bridge — it pales musically and lyrically. The five singles (“Fire,” “Style,” “Extremes,” “‘Alexa’,” “Goes”) were catchy enough on the radio to propel the album to multi-platinum status, but in retrospect, Storm Front sounds like the beginning of the end. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)
David Brown (lead guitar)
Schuyler Deale (bass)
Joey Hunting (guitar)
Jeff Jacobs (synthesizer, background vocals)
Billy Joel (vocals, keyboards, harpsichord, synthesizer, guitar, percussion)
Crystal Taliefero (percussion, background vocals)
Liberty DeVitto (drums, percussion)
Don Brooks (harmonica on 01.)
Dominic Cortese (accordion on 07.)
Kevin Jones (keyboard programming on 02.)
Mick Jones (guitar on 06. + 08. background vocals on 01., 04., + 08.)
John Mahoney (keyboards on 02., keyboard programming on 07.)
Sammy Merendino (percussion on 02.)
Itzhak Perlman (violin on 03.)
Lenny Pickett (saxophone on 06. + 09.)
Curtis King – Brenda White King – Ian Lloyd – Joe Lynn Turner – Brian Ruggles – Frank Floyd – Patricia Darcy-Jones – Richard Marx
Hicksville High School Chorus conducted by Chuck Arnold
The Memphis Horns on 06.:
Andrew Love – Wayne Jackson
01. That’s Not Her Style 5.10
02. We Didn’t Start The Fire 4.50
03. The Downeaster ‘Alexa’ 3.44
04. I Go To Extremes 4.23
05. Shameless 4.26
06. Storm Front 5.17
07. Leningrad 4.06
08. State Of Grace 4.30
09. When In Rome 4.44
10. And So It Goes 3.38
All songs written by Billy Joel