The Longest Time 1984

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Single by Billy Joel
from the album An Innocent Man
B-side “Christie Lee”
Released March 1984
Format 12″, CD
Recorded 1983
Genre Doo-wop, a cappella
Length 3:40
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Billy Joel
Producer(s) Phil Ramone

“The Longest Time” is a doo-wop single by Billy Joel. The song was released as a single in 1984 as the fourth single from the 1983 album An Innocent Man. Following the theme of the album in paying tribute to Joel’s musical influences, the song is presented in the style of Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. It reached number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart. In the United Kingdom the song reached number 25 on the UK Singles Chart.

The song features Joel on lead vocals and all backing vocals. Two musical instruments are present in the song: a bass guitar and a snare drum being played with brushes. When the song is covered by vocal groups, the bass part is typically sung. All other sounds in the song are Joel’s vocals, along with percussive sounds such as finger snaps and hand claps. Phil Ramone and Joel had intended to feature a vocal group but Joel recorded each of the parts himself.

The music video starts with a man (played by Joel) in a gym after his 25th high school reunion party. Looking around at posters of several class awards, he breaks into song as his band, apparently portrayed as his high school friends, enters the gym. As they sing, they alternate between their high school and current selves. The video was entirely filmed at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.