New York State of Mind - Are there Two Versions?

arappaportarappaport Posts: 2
edited 12/08/11 in Tour talk
Does anybody know whether there are multiple versions of this song (recorded, not live)? I was listening to this song this morning on the Radio (104.3 here in NY) and it hit me that, when I was a child listening to this song, it did not sound exactly the same as the version that was playing. The version that I know is distinctive in a few ways, but one particular is, at the end of the song, when Billy sings "cuz I'm in" (and then there is a pause) the version I remember, there is a saxophone that mimics the notes he just sang...then he says "I'm in a Neeeeeew Yooooork" (and again, the sax mimics his notes). In the version I heard this morning, there is no sax after he sings "cuz I'm in". I checked online, and it seems like there is only one version, the Turnstiles version. I know my family owned the Turnstiles record (vinyl) when I was younger, but I no longer have it (nor do I own a record player, even if I did).

Any thoughts?


  • joolsmithjoolsmith Posts: 823
    It was recorded on Turnstiles, but there is a live version on the new Stranger box set that was recorded live in Carnegie Hall 1977. There is also the version on Greatest Hits 1&2 and a version on My Lives that was recorded at the concert for NY.
    There are probably several more versions.

  • tschoppertschopper Posts: 1
    No, ARAPPAPORT is 100% right -- I've noticed the same thing and have never been able to find an answer/explanation. It isn't anything to do with live or concert versions. And it isn't that there are two 'completely' different studio recordings, because Billy's vocals, the piano and other instrumentals, etc. on the two we are talking about are INDENTICAL. The *only* thing different is the sax line....

    ARAPP is spot on: I also do (vividly) recall every bit of the sax solo I was originally familiar with and he/she is absolutely right: the one easily identifyable spot to point out a difference is at the end: Billy sings "'Cuz I'm in a" -- at which point the sax mimics the notes he just sang -- then he continues "I'm in a Neeeeeew Yooooork" (and again, the sax 'mostly' mimics the notes he just sang)..... but when I go the versions I have recordings of, the sax line is different: the versions I have from 'Turnstiles' *and* from 'Greatest Hist Vol. 1" have a completely differnt sax line than what I just described. They are the same as each OTHER, mind you, but they are NOT the same sax line/sax solo I recall from when the song first came out or the one that ARAPPAPORT is referring to above

    So it isn't a question of live/concert versions.... it seems there are two versions of the studio recording that are indentical in EVERY single way.... **EXCEPT** for the sax line.

    Does anyone know why?
  • joolsmithjoolsmith Posts: 823
    I think the best people to answer this question are joelfan.
    I will listen to the versions I have and see what the differences are. However didn't all BJ studio albums undergo an revamp in 1998? Maybe they fiddled with versions then.


    "It's about joy that comes out of sorrow"
  • joolsmithjoolsmith Posts: 823
    edited 11/30/99
    I have found the other version. It was broadcast as a show on ?WLRI radio in 1977 (I think). There is a boot version that I downloaded last night.

    Or try googling "Billy Joel CW post 1977" and see what comes up


    "It's about joy that comes out of sorrow"
  • celticmexcelticmex Posts: 1
    This comes from Wikipedia. There is a comment in the middle about Phil Woods re-recording the solo for the Greatest Hits album.

    The 1980s and 1990s saw significant changes to Joel's band. By the River of Dreams tour, the only remaining long-standing member of the band was DeVitto. T-Bone Wolk joined playing bass guitar, as well as other instruments, including accordion. Multi-instrumentalists Crystal Taliefero and Mark Rivera joined and remain in his band to this day. Rivera had taken over the prominent saxophone solo in the song "New York State of Mind" that had previously been performed by Cannata (and was re-recorded by Phil Woods for the Greatest Hits version of the song). The 1993 River of Dreams tour saw the addition of David Rosenthal on keyboards who also remains with the band. Tommy Byrnes has become a frequent band member on guitar and was both a musical consultant and band member in the Movin' Out musical. For the 2006 tour, Joel did not invite DeVitto back as drummer. Chuck Burgi (from the Broadway production of Movin' Out) replaced DeVitto. Cannata returns on saxophones, along with Rivera and Taliefero, with Cannata again performing the "New York State of Mind" solo. Carl Fischer plays trumpet and trombone when needed, most notably in the classic song, "Zanzibar."

  • If your talking about the studio versions then yes there ARE 2-3 different arrangements known

    The first one appears on the first CD issue and lp of turnstiles and features a slightly different ending (sax was recorded by Phil Woods) then there is another version which appears on the 1998 Edition of turnstiles/GH V I (re-recorded by Cannata) then there is a totally different version of the song that is only featured on the half speed audiophile pressing of turnstiles (being that I don't own that LP (yet) I can not comment on how the song is different) I own the acetate pressing for NYSOM one day when I have to guts to play it I'll see what the real master was that they ended up using for the album

    now as for the change I'm guessing Billy wasn't content with the way Phil woods recording sounded so he had Cannata redo it but that is only my guess
  • arappaport is absolutely right! Has anybody figured this out yet? I'm sure both versions were around before 1998 though. I've had the Turnstiles LP since probably '83 or so. One morning when I was waking up for school I heard the other version. Definitely late '80s. '95 at the latest 'cus that's when I moved away from home. I still have the LP but I don't have a record player to listen to it on. Another noticeable difference between the two that I remember is the melody line over the chord progression at the very end. On my LP version it's a clear quarter note and eighth note melody. I guess that's the Cannata version. The other version which is also on my fairly recently purchased Turnstiles CD has a hyperkinetic more improvisatory sax line at the close. I guess that's Woods. I'm surprised that the different versions haven't been more distinctly marketed.
  • 1timeuse1timeuse Posts: 1
    Greatest Hits on vinyl contains original sax solo. Greatest Hits on CD is revised & not as good.
  • DWGdevoteeDWGdevotee Posts: 1
    Some folks are under the misconception that Phil Woods recorded a saxophone solo for a Billy Joel recording of “New York State of Mind.”

    Phil never recorded a solo for this song for Billy Joel. The only time he ever recorded for Billy Joel was on “Just the Way You Are” in July 1977. A possible source for this confusion is that Phil recorded a saxophone solo for the Mel Torme recording of “New York State of Mind” in London in June 1977.
    I was in Phil’s Big Band for 20 years and his colleague for 35 years. His widow and I are trying to eradicate this myth and just got three Wikipedia pages corrected.

    Thanks for reading.
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