"Just the Way You Are"
Side-A label of U.S. vinyl single
Single by Billy Joel
from the album The Stranger
B-side"Get It Right the First Time"
ReleasedNovember 1977[1]
Length4:47 (album version)
3:36 (single version)
Songwriter(s)Billy Joel
Producer(s)Phil Ramone
Billy Joel singles chronology
"I've Loved These Days"
"Just the Way You Are"
"Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)"
"Billy Joel - Just the Way You Are (Audio)" on YouTube
Alternative release
Dutch vinyl single

"Just the Way You Are" is a song by Billy Joel from his fifth studio album The Stranger (1977), released as the album's second single in early November 1977. It became both Joel's first US Top 10 and UK Top 20 single (reaching No. 3 and No. 19 respectively), as well as Joel's first Gold single in the US. The song also topped the Billboard Easy Listening Chart for the entire month of January 1978.

"Just the Way You Are" garnered two Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1979.[4]


Joel shared that the melody and chord progression for this song came to him while he was dreaming.[5] In an interview on the Howard Stern Radio Show on November 16, 2010, Joel said that the inspiration for writing the name of the song and how it sounds in the chorus was directly taken from the last line in the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons song "Rag Doll", which incidentally was also a larger inspiration for Joel's later song "Uptown Girl".[6]

"Just the Way You Are", which Joel had written for his first wife (and also his business manager at the time) Elizabeth Weber, was initially not liked by either Joel or his band, and Joel had originally decided against making the track a part of The Stranger, but at the request of both Linda Ronstadt and Phoebe Snow (both were recording in other studios in the same building at the time), he agreed to put the song on the final mix.[7] However, the album's producer, Phil Ramone, later contradicted Joel's claim, stating in an interview that they could not afford to exclude the song because Joel did not have that much material from which to choose for the album.[8] The song also shares some similarities to "I'm Not in Love" by 10cc, due to the keyboard and background vocal tape loops Joel and Ramone used.[9]

After Joel and Weber divorced in 1982, Joel rarely performed the song live after 1986 until the 2000s, and Joel has publicly stated that he disliked playing the song live in the wake of his divorce from his first wife. He noted that during performances of the song around the time of his first divorce, his drummer Liberty DeVitto would jokingly parody the lyrics in the chorus as "She got the house. She got the car."[10]

When "Just the Way You Are" was released as a single, it was shortened by over a minute. The differences are the removal of the second verse and an earlier fade. A live performance of the song was also used as a music video. On February 18, 1978, the song peaked at No. 3, and Joel performed a shorter version of the song as the musical guest that day on Saturday Night Live (along with "Only the Good Die Young"). The single version (fading 8 seconds later) was included in the first release of Greatest Hits Volume I & Volume II, but the full album version was restored for the remastered release of that compilation.

The saxophone solo was played by Phil Woods, a well-known jazz performer and Grammy award winner. Woods' performance on the song exposed him to a wider audience and introduced his music to rock fans.[11]


Cash Box said that "a slight influence of Stevie Wonder is evident in the melody and light Latin rhythm."[12] Record World called it "a thoughtful ballad, very well produced, with a sax break that excels."[13]

Michael Galluci of Ultimate Classic Rock described the song as "one of the most perfectly constructed songs in Joel's catalog."[14]

Track listing

7" U.S. and UK single (1977)

  1. "Just the Way You Are" – 3:27
  2. "Get It Right the First Time" – 3:54





Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[34] Silver 200,000
United States (RIAA)[35] 2× Platinum 2,000,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

See also


  1. ^ "Great Rock Discography". p. 436.
  2. ^ Lecaro, Lina (November 19, 2016). "This Monthly Club Is a Non-Ironic Celebration of Rock's Softer Side". LA Weekly.
  3. ^ "200 Greatest Soft Rock Songs - Entertainment Blog". Entertainment.expertscolumn.com. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  4. ^ "Past Winners Search". The Grammys. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  5. ^ Webb, Craig (2016). The Dreams Behind the Music: Learn Creative Dreaming As 100+ Top Artists Reveal Their Breakthrough Inspirations. p. 76.
  6. ^ "Billy Joel Visits The Howard Stern Show 11.16.10 by VideodromeVaultRadio". Soundcloud.com. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  7. ^ Kelly, Ray (July 6, 2008). "Billy Joel - The Republican interview". Masslive.com. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  8. ^ The Stranger: 30th Anniversary Edition. "Making of The Stranger Documentary. 2008
  9. ^ "Phil Ramone talks about 10cc's influence on Just the WayYou Are". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  10. ^ Rose, Charlie. "Billy Joel Interview". The Charlie Rose Show, 1993.
  11. ^ Gordon Bock, "Phil Woods' Sax Keeps Showing Up." Dallas Morning News, August 6, 1978, p. 8 C.
  12. ^ "CashBox Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. November 12, 1977. p. 24. Retrieved December 26, 2021.
  13. ^ "Single Picks" (PDF). Record World. November 12, 1977. p. 28. Retrieved February 16, 2023.
  14. ^ Gallucci, Michael (2024-01-22). "Top 20 Billy Joel Songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2024-04-01.
  15. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 156. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  16. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Archived from the original on October 13, 2016. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  17. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. February 18, 1978. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  18. ^ "Billy Joel – Just the Way You Are". Top 40 Singles.
  19. ^ Kimberley, C. Zimbabwe: Singles Chart Book. Harare: C. Kimberley, 2000
  20. ^ ""Just the Way You Are" on the South African Singles Chart". Springbok Radio. July 28, 1978. Retrieved September 25, 2010.
  21. ^ "Billy Joel: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  22. ^ "Billy Joel Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  23. ^ "Billy Joel Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  24. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles, February 18, 1978". Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  25. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Just the Way You Are". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  26. ^ "Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. December 16, 1978. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  27. ^ Joel Whitburn's Bubbling Under the Billboard Hot 100 1959-2004
  28. ^ "Barry White Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
  29. ^ "Kent Music Report No 236 – 1 January 1979 > National Top 100 Singles for 1978". Kent Music Report. Retrieved January 8, 2022 – via Imgur.com.
  30. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Archived from the original on March 13, 2016. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  31. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 1978 | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Nztop40.co.nz. December 31, 1978. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  32. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1978/Top 100 Songs of 1978". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  33. ^ "Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 30, 1978". Archived from the original on September 29, 2018. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  34. ^ "British single certifications – Billy Joel – Just the Way You Are". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved January 21, 2022.
  35. ^ "American single certifications – Billy Joel – Just the Way You Are". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved November 20, 2021.