An Open Letter to Billy Joel, RE: Attila


Dear Mr. Joel,

Ok, I am aware that this record you made back in the early 70’s (PRE-solo 70’s, and post-The Hassles, a band which made another great somewhat-forgotten set of recordings), the album and duo we know as Attila, is a part of your past that you seem to dislike and toss off as “psychedelic bullshit”, and for some reason other people are quick to dismiss it as “one of the worst” or “the worst” rock records of all time.
But is it really that bad??

I don’t know if anyone has given you any sort of feedback from the other side of the coin, but let me ask you, if this is the worst rock recording of all time, where do these people put the weakest recordings by Styx?

Has anyone besides me proclaimed that what you have here is something very unique and inventive? You made an organ sound like a fucking guitar, a loud one at that! It sounds to me like if Jon Lord had fired or killed the rest of Deep Purple and kept the drummer. Attila was probably the only thing that qualifies as a power duo, and if there is such a thing, given that power trios were a thing at around the same time, Attila made a mark in history already just by being that.

And besides the way you recorded the organ, can we talk about your playing on this album? It sounds as challenging and stunning, if not moreso, than any of your best piano solos or riffs from the solo years. This is the work of a then-uncredited virtuoso, and I really don’t understand why neither this or other attributes of the recording didn’t place Attila or its album within the echelon of AOR classics like Black Sabbath’s Paranoid or Jethro Tull’s Aqualung.

Where the record stands now, it seems as if we the fans (and trust me, there’s many of us) have to either shell out a great sum of money to acquire the original album from special shops scattered throughout the world, whether it’s in person or through thankfully-easy-to-find websites like eBay or Discogs, that feature sellers that are aware of the record’s value, or simply settle for horrible bootlegs or semi-legitimate indie releases of the album possibly taken from questionable sources like umpteenth-generation tape formats or half-assed needle-drops that may or may not be from the original pressing.

I am asking you if, at some point, you could find it in your best interest to give something to the people that truly want the Attila record and reissue the album, remastered on CD, possibly with additional unreleased material if there is any (I think we would chomp at the bit for Attila outtakes), and have it re-released on both CDs and vinyl LPs. Please consider it, for it belongs among your best efforts, however different it may be from The Stranger or The Nylon Curtain, and it needs another chance for posterity.

Thank you.


Attila (Complete album on YouTube)


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