The album did offer something new to fans who already had the albums: three new songs, all covers, all on the slow side. “To Make You Feel My Love” was the debut of a new Dylan song, a whole month ahead of Bob’s own version, complete with harmonica solo. (And of course, Garth Brooks had to go ahead and record his own version the following year.) “Hey Girl” is a Goffin/King tune, given a lush blue-eyed soul arrangement. Finally, “Light As The Breeze” recasts a Leonard Cohen song as an R&B showstopper, investing it with way more melody than Leonard could’ve.
If anything, Greatest Hits Vol. III proves that even if Billy Joel didn’t write any more songs himself, he could easily build a cash cow out of covers. Hey, it worked for Rod Stewart and Barry Manilow, to name two. That he hasn’t done so is a big point in the integrity column.
Billy Joel Greatest Hits Vol. III (1997)—3½