Attila was an American rock band, most notable for having featured a young Billy Joel as a member. Joel was a member of a band called The Hassles; he and the drummer, Jon Small, broke away from the Hassles and formed Attila in 1969. The instrumentation was organ and drums, with Joel also handling the bass lines with a keyboard, similar to the Doors’ Ray Manzarek. Their creative partnership ended in 1970 when Joel ran off with Small’s wife, Elizabeth who he later married, although this did not end their collaborations, as Small produced Joel’s Концерт video as well as the Live at Shea Stadium performance.
Their only album, Attila, was released on July 27, 1970. Joel himself has gone on record as describing the album as “psychedelic bullshit”.
End of the sixties, I was in a two-man group. We were heavy metal, we were going to destroy the world with amplification, we had titles like “Godzilla”, “March of the Huns”, “Brain Invasion”. A lot of people think [I] just came out of the piano bar… I did a lot of heavy metal for a while. We had about a dozen gigs and nobody could stay in the room when we were playing. It was too loud. We drove people literally out of clubs. “It was great, but we can’t stay in the club.”
— Billy Joel, Interview with Billy Joel by Dan Neer in 1985
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic wrote, “Attila undoubtedly is the worst album released in the history of rock & roll — hell, the history of recorded music itself. There have been many bad ideas in rock, but none match the colossal stupidity of Attila.”
Differently, a review on headheritage.co.uk ends on a positive note: “But it’s just too over-the-top… the album cover, the vocals, the lyrics, it just ends up being an extremely entertaining joke that Billy wasn’t in on. But I’ve gotta say, I dug his trip, and the record still puts me in a good mood every time.”
One track from the album, “Amplifier Fire, Part 1 (Godzilla),” appears on Joel’s 2005 boxed set, My Lives.