From the Vault...


Billy Joel
"52nd Street"

© Columbia Records

Year of Release: 1978

track listing
  • Big Shot
  • Honesty
  • My Life
  • Zanzibar
  • Stiletto
  • Rosalinda's Eyes
  • Half A Mile Away
  • Until The Night
  • 52nd Street

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    Billy Joel
    "52nd Street"

    1978 was a great year for Billy Joel -- His 52nd Street became a smash hit album, with 3 huge popular hits "My Life," "Honesty" and "Big Shot." The remaining tracks combines pop/rock and jazz. He became an overnight sensation, even with his previous release, The Stranger. He continued to be a prominent songwriter, singer and performer, and still continues to sell out shows, although he "retired" from recording vocal albums. His last album was a Classical album, of which he wrote the music, but did not play piano on it.

    "Big Shot" is one of those songs that is an instant hit, where the beautiful ballad "Honesty" is one of Joel's best recorded songs. (A fond memory of mine was when Dr. Demento was looking for people to send in their own songs, of which I had started a parody of the song "Honesty" changing its title to "Allergies." Unfortuatnely, I never accomplished finishing this verison, however, another artist would surface with song parodies, his name would be Weird Al Yankovic. Most recently, Paul Shanklin would record an album of Bill Clinton imitations, where "Honesty" was paraodied as "Perjury.") "My Life" is probably considered the biggest hit off this album, as it became a smash hit, with very truthful lyrics -- "Go ahead with your own life, leave me alone."

    As for the remaining tracks, "Zanzibar" combines the jazz and rock sound as if Steely Dan would have recorded. "Stilleto," "Rosalinda's Eyes" and "Half A Mile Away" has the typical early Billy Joel pop/rock great sound, where "Until The Night" sounds very different, being recorded by Billy Joel. The title track brings back the traditional early Billy Joel style again.

    52nd Street is a great album, as Billy Joel's popularity began to soar at the time. He would continue to record outstanding albums in the 1980s. Billy Joel is a legend, as his VH-1 Behind The Music show was very informative, of how he started out, and his views on the music business, both positive and negative. His most notably comment was on songwriting vs. singers: How many singers are still around? Where Joel himself, being a great songwriter, can continue writing great songs, whether for himself,or for others. Other singers, however, especially when not writing songs themselves, don't seem to be be around long, compared to songwriters. Billy Joel wrote most of all his songs, and his songs are remembered by all, and we hope he does come back, and continue his writing and singing legacy.

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    Previous Review: #1086
    Andy Williams--I Like Your Kind Of Love: The Best Of The Cadence Years
    Next Review: #1088
    Terry Stafford--Suspicion