The Bridge is the tenth studio album by American singer-songwriter Billy Joel, released on July 29, 1986. It marked the final Billy Joel album produced by Phil Ramone. The album yielded several successful singles, including “A Matter of Trust” (peaking at #10), “Modern Woman” (which also appeared on the Ruthless People soundtrack, peaking at #10), and “This Is the Time” (peaking at #18).
Joel began work on the album—on which two of his major influences (Ray Charles and Steve Winwood) made guest appearances—in 1985. Charles sang a duet with Joel on the song “Baby Grand”, and Winwood played Hammond organ on the song “Getting Closer”. Other notable musicians who made guest appearances on the album include jazz musicians Ron Carter and Michael Brecker, who both played on the jazzy track “Big Man on Mulberry Street.”
The Bridge was Joel’s last album to carry the “Family Productions” logo which had appeared on all of Joel’s albums up to that time as part of a deal that Columbia Records made to get Joel out of his first recording contract with Artie Ripp’s Family Productions. In the closing song of the album – “Getting Closer” – Joel makes several of what are clearly attacks and observations on the ill-fated contract with Ripp, with references to my stolen youth, all the conmen and their acrobats who stomped me in the ground, and I must live up to contracts.