Billy Joel: 52nd Street

Album review
Billy Joel: 52nd Street

Billy Joel

52nd Street

Label: Impex
Media: LP
Genre: Rock/pop

Billy Joel’s 52nd Street was huge—a certified- platinum monster that’s logged over ten million sales since its 1978 release. While The Stranger, which debuted a year earlier, cemented Joel’s status as a global star, 52nd Street became the balladeer’s first Billboard Number One album, spawning hits like “Big Shot,” “My Life,” and “Honesty,” and ultimately taking Album of the Year honors at the Grammys. Not bad for the Bronx-born Joel who was playing in piano bars even before he dropped out of high school. Loosely conceived as a collection of New York episodes and packed with Latin and jazz influences, Joel’s song- smithing and machine gun keyboards have never been tighter—a foreshadowing of the harder-edged social commentary of his 80s albums Glass Houses and The Nylon Curtain. The Impex 180-gram remastering by Kevin Gray (with pressing courtesy of RTI) is superb. It replaces the spongy timing and dull top of the original Columbia LP with expansive space and sharp details. Its vivid and brightened treble is welcome compared to the warm but smothered original. Listen for Joel’s doubled harmonies, the pennywhistle in “Rosalinda’s Eyes,” and the burning horn section in “Half a Mile Away,” and you’ll hear what a difference a great remastering makes. 

More Info

  • primary artist, Billy Joel
  • LP

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