At first, the idea of condensing an artist’s 40-year body of work in one just CD seems unfathomable, if not impossible. This would certainly apply to Billy Joel with this new 19-track compilation that includes the cream of the crop but omits other popular tracks. And yet, The Hits is a pretty decent encapsulation that it still leave you satisfied if you are just a casual fan and only want the basics. The definite standbys—“Piano Man,” “New York State of Mind,” Movin’ Out,” “My Life,” “Allentown,” “The River of Dreams”—are on here. The surprise inclusion of “Everybody Loves You Now,” from Joel’s 1971 little-known (and vastly underrated) debut Cold Spring Harbor, is an interesting pick over the more popular “She’s Got a Way.” The more dedicated and curious person will probably opt for the more comprehensive Greatest Hits Vol. I and II instead. But as a starting point, The Hits does the job nicely. It’s a appetizing lead-in for next year’s reissue project in celebration of Joel’s 40 years as a recording artist.