Billy Joel's fourth studio album, Turnstiles, is largely about the singer's return to his native New York after three years of living in Los Angeles. In "I've Loved These Days," Joel takes a sardonic look at the hollow pursuit of hedonism he's leaving behind.
Joel didn't realize how much his life was about to change with the release of his commercial breakthrough, The Stranger, a year later, but he sensed there was a change coming, which led him to write this tune.
"I was recognizing that I was at the end of a certain point in my life. I didn't know it was going to be such a quantum leap with The Stranger album," he told Sirius XM in 2016. "But from '76 to '77 my life was taking on a trajectory that was pretty intense, and I wanted to say goodbye to the era I had come out of, which was 'I've Loved These Days'... I was gonna make a move somehow, something different was gonna happen. It was fraught at that particular time in my life. Things are gonna change. Not with thinking about I'm gonna be a big success. But it's going to change, there's going to be a big change in my life. And then came The Stranger album."
Joel was nearly dropped by Columbia Records when Turnstiles didn't perform as expected. Instead, they connected him with Phil Ramone, who won a Grammy Award for producing Paul Simon's 1975 album, Still Crazy After All These Years. The fruitful partnership, beginning with The Stranger and ending with The Bridge, lasted nearly a decade.
The working title was "These Rhinestone Days."
This was used on the TV series Red Oaks in the 2016 episode "Father's Day."