52nd Street is the sixth studio album by American singer-songwriter Billy Joel, released on October 11, 1978.
The follow-up to his breakthrough success album, The Stranger, Joel tried to give the album a fresh sound, hiring various jazz musicians to differentiate it from his previous albums.
It was the first of four Joel albums to top the Billboard charts, and it earned him two Grammys.
Three songs reached the Top 40 in the United States, contributing to the album’s success: ˝My Life˝ (number 3), ˝Big Shot˝ (number 14), and ˝Honesty˝ (number 24).
It was similarly well received by critics, earning the 1980 Grammy for Album of the Year.
This Grammy was presented to its producer, Phil Ramone.
Upon Ramone’s death, 52nd Street’s Album of the Year Grammy was passed on to Joel.
Additionally, the album is notable for being among the first albums commercially released on the compact disc format, reaching store shelves on October 1, 1982 in Japan (it was one of fifty CDs released that day, including The Stranger, but bore the first catalogue number in the sequence, 35DP-1, and so is frequently cited as the first to be released).
In keeping with this history, it was also the first release when Sony returned to manufacturing vinyl records in 2018.
The title is a reference to 52nd Street, one of New York City’s jazz centers in the middle of the century.
Joel’s label was headquartered on 52nd Street (in the CBS Building) at the time of the album’s release.
The studio where recording took place was also on 52nd Street, one block away from the CBS Building.