On this day in music history: October 13, 1978…

On this day in music history: October 13, 1978 – “52nd Street”, the sixth album by Billy Joel is released. Produced by Phil Ramone, it is recorded at A&R Studios  in New York City from July – August 1978. Buoyed by the huge critical and commercial success of his fifth album “The Stranger”, Billy Joel is ambitious to build on his new found success with an even more musically expansive work. The album takes its title from the street in New York City where producer Phil Ramone’s recording studio is located, and near the headquarters of CBS Records, also known as “Black Rock”. “52nd Street” features a number of prominent guest musicians including Peter Cetera and Donnie Dacus from Chicago (background vocals), Freddie Hubbard (flugelhorn and trumpet), Ralph MacDonald (percussion), Eric Gale, Steve Khan, and David Spinozza (guitars). The album is another artistic and commercial tour de force for the prolific singer/songwriter from Hicksville, Long Island, NY, yielding several of Billy Joel’s most popular and loved songs. It spins off three hit singles including “My Life” (#3 Pop), “Honesty” (#24 Pop) and “Big Shot” (#14 Pop), winning Joel two Grammy Awards including Album Of The Year in 1980. “My Life” is also used as the theme song for the sitcom “Bosom Buddies”, starring Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari. The album track “Stiletto” also becomes a favored sample in hip hop, being used by De La Soul (“Plug Tunin’”), Nas (“Disciple”), Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo (“Road To The Riches”) and The Cold Crush Brothers (“Freestylin’”). In 1982, it is the very first album released commercially on Compact Disc by CBS Records. Remastered and reissued on CD (with enhanced content including the promo videos for “My Life”, “Big Shot” and “Honesty”), it is also reissued as a hybrid SACD by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab in 2012. It is also released as a limited edition double vinyl LP set by Mobile Fidelity in 2013, mastered at 45 RPM. The classic title is also issued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Music On Vinyl. “52nd Street” spends eight weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 7x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.