52nd Street (album)
52nd Street is the sixth studio album by Billy Joel
Billy Joel
William Martin "Billy" Joel is an American musician and pianist, singer-songwriter, and classical composer. Since releasing his first hit song, "Piano Man", in 1973, Joel has become the sixth best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in the United States, according to...

, released in 1978. It was also the first of many Joel albums to top the Billboard charts, along with his third and fourth Grammy win. (see 1978 in music
1978 in music
This is a list of notable events in music that took place in the year 1978.-January–April:*January 14 – The Sex Pistols play their final show at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom....

). 52nd Street also became, in 1982, the first commercial album to be released on compact disc
Compact Disc
The Compact Disc is an optical disc used to store digital data. It was originally developed to store and playback sound recordings exclusively, but later expanded to encompass data storage , write-once audio and data storage , rewritable media , Video Compact Discs , Super Video Compact Discs ,...

 (by Sony Music Entertainment
Sony Music Entertainment
Sony Music Entertainment ' is the second-largest global recorded music company of the "big four" record companies and is controlled by Sony Corporation of America, the United States subsidiary of Japan's Sony Corporation....


Three songs reached the Top 40 in the United States, helping to boost the success of the album. "My Life" reached #3, "Big Shot" reached #14, and "Honesty" reached #24.The album was also successful with critics, winning the 1979 Grammy for Album of the Year
Grammy Award for Album of the Year
The Grammy Award for Album of the Year is the most prestigious award category at the Grammys. It has been awarded since 1959 and though it was originally presented to the artist alone, the award is now presented to the artist, the producer, the engineer and/or mixer and the mastering engineer...


Allmusic credits Joel for expanding on the style of The Stranger, making it "more sophisticated and somewhat jazzy." (Jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard
Freddie Hubbard
Frederick Dewayne "Freddie" Hubbard was an American jazz trumpeter. He was known primarily for playing in the bebop, hard bop and post bop styles from the early 1960s and on...

 guests on "Zanzibar.") The title is a reference to 52nd Street
52nd Street (Manhattan)
52nd Street is a long one-way street traveling west to east across Midtown Manhattan.-Jazz center:The blocks of 52nd Street between Fifth Avenue and Seventh Avenue were renowned in the mid-20th century for the abundance of jazz clubs and lively street life...

, which was one of New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

's jazz centers in the middle of the century. Joel's label was headquartered on 52nd Street (in the CBS Building
CBS Building
The CBS Building in New York City, also known as Black Rock, is the headquarters of CBS Corporation. The building, opened in 1965, was designed by Eero Saarinen. It is located at 51 West 52nd Street, at the corner of Sixth Avenue . The 38 story building is tall and measures approximately 872,000...

) at the time of the album's release. The studio in which 52nd Street was recorded was also on 52nd Street, a block away from the CBS Building.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 352 on Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time
The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
"The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" is the title of a 2003 special issue of American magazine Rolling Stone, and a related book published in 2005.Related news articles:...


Track listing

All songs written and composed by Billy Joel.
Side one
  1. "Big Shot
    Big Shot (song)
    "Big Shot" was the second hit single from Billy Joel's 1978 album 52nd Street. The song was released in early-1979, just as his other hit single from that same album, "'My Life", was peaking at #3...

    " – 4:03
  2. "Honesty
    Honesty (Billy Joel song)
    "Honesty" is a song by Billy Joel released in 1979 as the third single from his album 52nd Street. It was solely written by Joel, while production was handled by Phil Ramone. It reached number 24 on the U.S...

    " – 3:53
  3. "My Life
    My Life (Billy Joel song)
    "My Life" is a song by Billy Joel that first appeared on his 1978 album 52nd Street. A single version was released in the fall of 1978 and reached #2 on the U.S. adult contemporary chart. Early the next year it peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100....

    " – 4:44
  4. "Zanzibar" – 5:13

Side two
  1. "Stiletto" – 4:42
  2. "Rosalinda's Eyes" – 4:41
  3. "Half a Mile Away" – 4:08
  4. "Until the Night
    Until the Night
    "Until the Night" is a song written by Billy Joel and included on his album 52nd Street, released in 1978. The single reached #50 on the UK Singles Chart....

    " – 6:35
  5. "52nd Street" – 2:27


  • Billy Joel – piano
    The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

    , Vocals
    Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice, and augments regular speech by the use of both tonality and rhythm. One who sings is called a singer or vocalist. Singers perform music known as songs that can be sung either with or without accompaniment by musical instruments...

  • Doug Stegmeyer
    Doug Stegmeyer
    Doug Stegmeyer was a musician best known as the bassist for Billy Joel.-Career:Doug Stegmeyer met Russell Javors in high school. At age 15, Javors was performing songs with childhood friend Liberty DeVitto. From then, the boys, along with Howard Emerson, formed the band Topper.Together they...

     – bass
    Bass guitar
    The bass guitar is a stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb , or by using a pick....

    , background vocals
  • Liberty DeVitto
    Liberty DeVitto
    Liberty DeVitto is an American rock drummer. He is best known as the drummer for Billy Joel, but has also played with the NYC Hit Squad and has been a session drummer on recordings of other artists.-Career:...

     – drums
    Drum kit
    A drum kit is a collection of drums, cymbals and often other percussion instruments, such as cowbells, wood blocks, triangles, chimes, or tambourines, arranged for convenient playing by a single person ....

  • Richie Cannata
    Richie Cannata
    Richie Cannata is an American music producer, multi-instrumentalist and studio owner. He is most notable for playing saxophone in the Billy Joel band alongside Doug Stegmeyer and Liberty DeVitto. After leaving the band in 1981, he opened Cove City Sound Studios in Glen Cove, New York...

     – saxophone
    The saxophone is a conical-bore transposing musical instrument that is a member of the woodwind family. Saxophones are usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. The saxophone was invented by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in 1846...

    s, organ
    Organ (music)
    The organ , is a keyboard instrument of one or more divisions, each played with its own keyboard operated either with the hands or with the feet. The organ is a relatively old musical instrument in the Western musical tradition, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria who is credited with...

    , clarinet
    The clarinet is a musical instrument of woodwind type. The name derives from adding the suffix -et to the Italian word clarino , as the first clarinets had a strident tone similar to that of a trumpet. The instrument has an approximately cylindrical bore, and uses a single reed...

  • Steve Khan
    Steve Khan
    Steve Khan is an American jazz guitarist.Born in Los Angeles, California, Khan is known for his work with artists such as Steely Dan, Billy Joel, Michael Franks, Hubert Laws, Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, James Brown, Maynard Ferguson, and Weather Report...

     – electric guitar
    Electric guitar
    An electric guitar is a guitar that uses the principle of direct electromagnetic induction to convert vibrations of its metal strings into electric audio signals. The signal generated by an electric guitar is too weak to drive a loudspeaker, so it is amplified before sending it to a loudspeaker...

    , acoustic guitar
  • Freddie Hubbard
    Freddie Hubbard
    Frederick Dewayne "Freddie" Hubbard was an American jazz trumpeter. He was known primarily for playing in the bebop, hard bop and post bop styles from the early 1960s and on...

     – flugelhorn
    The flugelhorn is a brass instrument resembling a trumpet but with a wider, conical bore. Some consider it to be a member of the saxhorn family developed by Adolphe Sax ; however, other historians assert that it derives from the valve bugle designed by Michael Saurle , Munich 1832 , thus...

     and trumpet
    The trumpet is the musical instrument with the highest register in the brass family. Trumpets are among the oldest musical instruments, dating back to at least 1500 BCE. They are played by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound which starts a standing wave vibration in the air...

     on "Zanzibar"
  • Mike Mainieri
    Mike Mainieri
    Michael T. Mainieri, Jr. is a vibraphonist best known for his work with the jazz fusion group Steps Ahead....

     – vibes
    The vibraphone, sometimes called the vibraharp or simply the vibes, is a musical instrument in the struck idiophone subfamily of the percussion family....

     and marimba
    The marimba is a musical instrument in the percussion family. It consists of a set of wooden keys or bars with resonators. The bars are struck with mallets to produce musical tones. The keys are arranged as those of a piano, with the accidentals raised vertically and overlapping the natural keys ...

     on "Zanzibar" and "Rosalinda's Eyes"
  • David Spinozza
    David Spinozza
    David Spinozza is an American musician , who worked with former Beatles Paul McCartney and John Lennon during the 1970s, and had a long collaboration with singer-songwriter James Taylor, producing Taylor's album Walking Man....

     – acoustic guitar on "Honesty"
  • Donnie Dacus
    Donnie Dacus
    Donnie Dacus is a musician best known for his work in the band Chicago and his role as Woof Daschund in the 1979 movie Hair.-Early life:Don Dacus was born in Galena Park, Texas on October 12, 1951....

     – background vocals on "My Life"
  • Peter Cetera
    Peter Cetera
    Peter Paul Cetera is an American singer, songwriter, bassist and producer best known for being an original member of the rock band Chicago, before launching a successful solo career...

     – background vocals on "My Life"
  • David Friedman – orchestral chimes
    Tubular bell
    Tubular bells are musical instruments in the percussion family. Each bell is a metal tube, 30–38 mm in diameter, tuned by altering its length. Its standard range is from C4-F5, though many professional instruments reach G5 . Tubular bells are often replaced by studio chimes, which are a smaller...

     and percussion
    Percussion instrument
    A percussion instrument is any object which produces a sound when hit with an implement or when it is shaken, rubbed, scraped, or otherwise acted upon in a way that sets the object into vibration...

     on "Until the Night"
  • Ralph MacDonald – percussion on "Rosalinda's Eyes" and "Half a Mile Away"
  • Eric Gale
    Eric Gale
    Eric J. Gale was a leading American jazz and session guitarist.Born in Brooklyn, New York, Gale began playing guitar at the age of 12. Although he majored in chemistry at Niagara University, Gale was determined to pursue a musical career, and began contributing to accompaniments for such stars as...

     – electric guitar on "Half a Mile Away"
  • Frank Floyd – background vocals on "Half a Mile Away"
  • Babi Floyd – background vocals on "Half a Mile Away"
  • Zack Sanders – background vocals on "Half a Mile Away"
  • Milt Grayson – background vocals on "Half a Mile Away"
  • Ray Simpson – background vocals on "Half a Mile Away"
  • George Marge – sopranino recorder
    The recorder is a woodwind musical instrument of the family known as fipple flutes or internal duct flutes—whistle-like instruments which include the tin whistle. The recorder is end-blown and the mouth of the instrument is constricted by a wooden plug, known as a block or fipple...

     on "Rosalinda's Eyes"
  • Hugh McCracken
    Hugh McCracken
    Hugh McCracken is a rhythm guitar player and session musician, arranger and producer based in New York.Especially in demand in the 60s, 70s and 80s, he appears on many recordings by Steely Dan, as well as albums by Donald Fagen, Jimmy Rushing, Billy Joel, Roland Kirk, Roberta Flack, B. B...

     – nylon string guitar on "Until the Night" and "Rosalinda's Eyes"
  • Robert Freedman – horn and string orchestration
    Orchestration is the study or practice of writing music for an orchestra or of adapting for orchestra music composed for another medium...

     on "Until the Night" and "Honesty"
  • Dave Grusin
    Dave Grusin
    David Grusin is an American composer, arranger and pianist. Grusin has composed many scores for feature films and television, and has won numerous awards for his soundtrack and record work, including an Academy award and 12 Grammys...

     – horn orchestration on "Half a Mile Away"
  • David Nadien – concertmaster
    The concertmaster/mistress is the spalla or leader, of the first violin section of an orchestra. In the UK, the term commonly used is leader...

Grammy Awards

| style="width:35px; text-align:center;" rowspan="3"|1980 || rowspan="2"| 52nd Street || Album of the Year ||
| Best Pop Vocal Performance - Male
Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance
The Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance was awarded between 1966 and 2011...

|"Honesty" || |Song of the Year
Grammy Award for Song of the Year
The Song of the Year is one of the four most prestigious awards in the Grammy Awards ceremony, if not in all of the American music industry. It has been awarded since 1959 and unlike the Record of the Year award, which goes to the performer and production team of a single song, Song of the Year...


Chart positions

Chart (1978-80) Position
Australian Kent Music Report Chart
Kent Music Report
The Kent Music Report was a weekly record chart of Australian music singles and albums which was compiled by music enthusiast David Kent from May 1974 through to 1998...

Austrian Albums Chart 4
Canadian RPM Albums Chart
RPM (magazine)
RPM was a Canadian music industry publication that featured song and album charts for Canada. The publication was founded by Walt Grealis in February 1964, supported through its existence by record label owner Stan Klees. RPM ceased publication in November 2000.RPM stood for "Records, Promotion,...

Dutch Mega Albums Chart
MegaCharts is responsible for the composition and exploitation of a broad collection of official charts in the Netherlands, of which the Mega Top 50 and the Mega Album Top 100 are the most known ones. Mega Charts also provides information to the Stichting Nederlandse Top 40, of which the Dutch Top...

French SNEP Albums Chart  2
Italian Albums Chart 12
Japanese Oricon LP Chart
, established in 1999, is the holding company at the head of a Japanese corporate group that supplies statistics and information on music and the music industry in Japan. It started as , which was founded by Sōkō Koike in November 1967 and became known for its music charts. Oricon Inc...

New Zealand Albums Chart  1
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

VG-listen is a Norwegian record chart. It is weekly presented in the newspaper VG and the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation program Topp 20. It is considered the primary Norwegian record chart, charting albums and singles from countries and continent around the world. The data is collected by...

 Albums Chart
Swedish Albums Chart
Sverigetopplistan, earlier known as Topplistan and Hitlistan and other names, is since October 2007 the Swedish national record chart, based on sales data from Swedish Recording Industry Association ....

UK Albums Chart
UK Albums Chart
The UK Albums Chart is a list of albums ranked by physical and digital sales in the United Kingdom. It is compiled every week by The Official Charts Company and broadcast on a Sunday on BBC Radio 1 , and published in Music Week magazine and on the OCC website .To qualify for the UK albums chart...

U.S. Billboard 200
Billboard 200
The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums and EPs in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists...

West German Media Control Albums Chart  19

Certifications & Sales

Year-end charts

Chart (1978) Position
Canadian Albums Chart
RPM (magazine)
RPM was a Canadian music industry publication that featured song and album charts for Canada. The publication was founded by Walt Grealis in February 1964, supported through its existence by record label owner Stan Klees. RPM ceased publication in November 2000.RPM stood for "Records, Promotion,...

Chart (1979) Position
Australian Albums Chart 5
Austrian Albums Chart 17
Canadian Albums Chart 16
Italian Albums Chart 54
Japanese Albums Chart
, established in 1999, is the holding company at the head of a Japanese corporate group that supplies statistics and information on music and the music industry in Japan. It started as , which was founded by Sōkō Koike in November 1967 and became known for its music charts. Oricon Inc...

UK Albums Chart 61
U.S. Billboard 200 1
Chart (1980) Position
Japanese Albums Chart 81
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