What a difference the bass player makes. When William Martin Joel was allowed to bring his seasoned touring band into the recording studio - he waxed one of the best singer-songwriter sides of his generation The Stranger (1977). The late Doug Stegmeyer embellished Billy’s hits and timeless album tracks with perfectly executed grace notes, slaps, fretless glissandos, and nimble plectrum and finger picking all rendered with a crisp bite. Doug was exemplary on all Billy’s sessions however my favorite work of his can be found on the classic 52nd Street wherein Mr. Stegmeyer flexes his swing chops, and the live cuts from the deluxe edition of Joel's above referenced classic.
Doug also shined as a session cat, working his craft for Graham Parker (Another Grey Area /1982), Phoebe Snow, Bob James, and Karen Carpenter, among others.
Akin to his pals Bruce and Elton, when Billy fired his original band, his career sank, though Mr. Joel has never recovered artistically as did Messrs. Springsteen and Sir Elton, who rehired the musicians who brought character to their music which sold millions. Stegmeyer, Liberty De Vitto, Russell Javors, and Richie Cannata are yet another backing ensemble long deserving of Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame recognition.