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52nd Street Enhanced, Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 158 customer reviews

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52nd Street
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Audio CD, Enhanced, Original recording remastered, October 20, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

12 songs

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Big Shot
  2. Honesty
  3. My Life
  4. Zanzibar
  5. Stiletto
  6. Rosalinda's Eyes
  7. Half a Mile Away
  8. Until the Night
  9. 52nd Street
  10. [Big Shot] Promotional Video Footage
  11. [Honesty] Promotional Video Footage
  12. [My Life] Promotional Video Footage


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 20, 1998)
  • Original Release Date: October 20, 1998
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 54 minutes
  • ASIN: B00000DCHD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (158 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,504 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Billy Joel Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Billy Joel's "52nd Street" continues Sony Music's release of 5.1-channel (multichannel) SACDs. "52nd Street" is the second disc in his recording catalog released in the multichannel SACD format, following "The Stranger". The multichannel version has catalog number CS 69385.
The disc is presented in 5.1 channel packed DSD sound as well as stereo DSD. There is no CD layer, so the SACD is only playable in an SACD player. Multichannel requires a multichannel SACD player such as the Sony SCD-CE775.
Unlike early DVD-Audio discs, the mixes and mastering process on this early multichannel SACD are all excellent. The disc is extremely easy to use. Unlike a DVD-Audio disc, which acts like a glorified DVD-Video disc, a multichannel SACD acts like a CD. Press 'play' - it plays. Track skipping is easy. As a bonus, the name of each track appears on the player's built-in display - no video display required. The packaging is a standard CD jewel box.
The sound quality is not as good as "The Stranger" multichannel SACD. While it is close, the snare drum, which is prominent in all tracks, is duller and less realistic than what was heard from the previous release. Dragging out an old LP record version of "52nd Street", the same snare sound is heard. It is likely that this snare sound is a recording decision made in the late-1970s rather than a mastering problem. The extreme clarity of the SACD just makes it more prominent.
Despite any criticism, the SACD is still much better than the CD version. The finger-snaps on "Stiletto" are very impressive. It is one of the best uses of multichannel effects I've heard. "Until the Night" also make effective but not distracting use of the multichannel effects.
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Format: Audio CD
Just like the man himself, "52nd Street" is obnoxious and overambitious but thoroughly lovable. After "The Stranger" found Billy flirting with the dark side of AM radio, he went after a streetwise blues & jazz sound with "52nd Street." He found it, sometimes.
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.
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Format: Audio CD
If you search for tenderness
It isn't hard to find
You can have the love you need to live
But if you look for truthfulness
You might just as well be blind
It always seems to be so hard to give

Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you

I can always find someone
To say they sympathize
If I wear my heart out on my sleeve
But I don't want some pretty face
To tell me pretty lies
All I want is someone to believe

Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you

Billy Joel takes tunes and turns them into masterpieces on his album 52nd Street. Other Billy Joel fans will have their favorite albums; but for me this one and Piano Man are tops!

The CD track set begins with "Big Shot;" this number starts off with some great guitar as the drums and the percussion mark the beat. Billy sings perfectly of a woman who "went over the line" the night before when she was out on the town. "Honesty," my favorite song on this album, features Billy singing with great sensitivity as he plays piano. Billy sings of how rare it is to find a lover who will love him for who he is rather than just pretending to love him and playing games. Awesome tune! Moreover, "My Life" has a great keyboard arrangement and Billy sings this without a superfluous note!

"Zanzibar" features Billy again singing at his best; he sings about a young man searching for romantic time alone with a woman he likes. "Zanzibar" is a terrific jazzy number with good guitar. "Stiletto" begins with a great horn solo; and Billy plays his piano to perfection.
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