52nd Street (Mastersound)
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Reissue of the Grammy winning 1978 release from Billy Joel featuring "Big Shot", "Honesty" and "My Life". This multi-platinum record has been remastered and is a limited edition of 2500 copies on 180 gram vinyl.
Following up his 1977 breakthrough smash The Stranger was no easy task for Billy Joel; 52nd Street shows he wasn't quite up to the challenge, though it sold similarly well and kept the momentum for his fast- track career until the more impressive Glass Houses appeared in 1980. 52nd Street isn't without its moments: "My Life" remains one of Joel's most memorable hit singles, "Half a Mile Away" is a wonderful slice of infectiously upbeat pop, and "Rosalinda's Eyes" sways to an alluringly airy Latin feel. But macho poseur numbers such as "Big Shot" and "Stiletto" are embarrassingly overwrought, while the arty "Zanzibar" ultimately comes across more as pretentious than adventurous. The closing title track fails to convince anyone Joel is a cool blues hound. --Peter Blackstock --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
After the mega-hit "The Stranger", which spawned hit after hit, Billy Joel released "52nd Street". It's a solid album, and essential for fans of the Piano Man, even if it's not quite up to the standards he raised for himself with "The Stranger".
The album opens with it's top three songs, "Big Shot", "Honesty", which is easily one of his most meaningful songs, and "My Life". Other standout songs include "Stiletto", "Rosalinda's Eyes", and the title track, but to be entirely honest (no pun intended) the album tends to taper off a bit after an incredible start. (hence 4 stars and not 5)
Still, a B+ album from Billy Joel is still going to contain some great music, and "52nd Street" is no exception. There's more here than music for die hard fans, and the Piano Man continues to please.
But even when he missed and overshot, he created some great, lasting music. "Stiletto" has an irresistible groove and some impressive hellcat piano work, while "Rosalinda's Eyes" and "Half a Mile Away" find him approaching a maturity that carries his angry-young-man themes into a realistic setting. The set's centerpiece, the would-be epic "Zanzibar," is notable for its attempt to shoehorn streetwise romantic cliches into an insanely ambitious arrangement. Featuring trumpet solos by Freddie Hubbard and shifting movements, "Zanzibar" is one of the most entertaining and interesting failures you'll ever want to hear. Which means it isn't a failure at all, but a joyously ridiculous piece of music.
The album's standout, however, is the gorgeously layered "Until the Night." Billy's not the most lovey-dovey fellow, but "Until the Night" is one of the great love songs in history, a tough, unsentimental track that acknowledges how crucial it is to share love when times get difficult. The song aims high and scores even higher - it's a truly transcendent piece of work.
Hey, I'm a Billy Joel fan, so I'm gonna love most of what he does. "52nd Street" might be my favorite album of his. I'm aware that it's not perfect - but heck, who wants to hear a perfect album anyway? For all his forced tough-guy stances, for all his "I'm a white boy singing funky blues" pretense, he hit enough homers with this album to make anyone a true Billy believer.
Oh, and when I was a kid, I assumed verse two of "Zanzibar" really was about baseball.
I rediscovered my love for Joel's eclectic style in the last few weeks of my senior year in high school when I heard a few songs from the then-current Nylon Curtain at a friend's house, and slowly my Billy Joel collection grew, first in cassette format, then in compact discs. Most of the latter are from the tail end of Billy's pop-rock days, but when I saw the remastered version of 52nd Street, I just had to get it.
52nd Street's set of nine songs ranges from the aforementioned "My Life" (which Tom Hanks fans may also remember as the theme song to his 1980s vintage sitcom "Bosom Buddies") to the lyrical and insightful "Honesty." I like its melancholic melody and comments on human nature ("Honesty is such a lonely word/Everyone is so untrue....") I also enjoy the biting sarcasm of "Big Shot," the descriptive narrative of "Zanzibar" and the Latin-inspired rhythms and melody of the lovely "Rosalinda's Eyes."
The one thing I did not like about this 1998 re-issue was the inclusion of CD-Extra software that was supposed to play videos on PCs using Windows 95-98 operating systems. While I haven't tried running this enhanced CD on my e-Machines T2482 computer, all other attempts to do so on my previous PCs failed. Granted, the CD comes with a disclaimer warning that the software will not work on all machines, so not everyone will have problems like I did.
Most recent customer reviews
Mobile Fidelity version is quite good. I think the only problem I had was probably a studio set up thing. Read morePublished on Nov. 16 2013 by The Seeker
I had the album and heard some of his music and wanted it on CD format. I knew that I would love it.Published on Aug. 17 2009 by E. J. Vardon
Cant go wrong with this SACD version of one of Billys best(The Stranger,Nylon Curtain,Glass Houses as well.) Nothing compares to a well done SACD in multichannel. Read morePublished on May 2 2005
this is a very good album. Roselinda and stiletto are AWESOME!
there are other Awesome songs too! Heck, I love the whole album!
I was given '52nd Street' for my 15th birthday along with Breakfast in America by Supertramp (1979). It was many years before I discovered "The Stranger". Read morePublished on March 21 2004
After the mega-hit "The Stranger", which spawned hit after hit, Billy Joel released "52nd Street". Read morePublished on Feb. 27 2004 by Vilbs