In Hilburn's article as I expected, the only mention of Billy Joel was in a list of artists who were top sellers "seven years ago . . . where are most of them today?" Ever checked on how many copies of "An Innocent Man" have been sold to date?
I'll just quote from Billboard, the "Bible of the Industry": Greatest Hits Vol. I and II" was Joel's seventh consecutive Top 10 album and platinum seller. "This makes Joel the most consistent and prolific male album artists of the last decade."
I don't think Columbia made a mistake in signing him to their label. Other artists have sold more copies of individual albums, but they can't match Joel's consistent popular appeal.
Because of this, Joel will never be a critic's favorite, and his fans have long ago given up expecting any fair assessment of his work from them. But in the long run, that's probably to his advantage. Hilburn, Marsh, et al. have sickened us of the very names of Springsteen and Jackson. Who's next for 1986?