||From the Vault...
© Columbia Records
Year of Release: 1978
Half A Mile Away
Until The Night
Billy Joel related sites:
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
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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