Today in 1978, Billy Joel went to No.1 on the US album chart with his sixth studio album, ’52nd Street’. The album features the Joel classics “Big Shot,” “My Life,” and “Honesty.”
“52nd Street was actually a famous jazz club street in Manhattan called Swing Street, and we were aware of the history of all these jazz clubs.” said Billy. “Charlie Parker had a jazz club there, so there was a lot of jazz influence on the album.”
Speaking about the writing process for the album, Joel said, “I didn’t sit down and say I was going to write a hit, I just wrote songs. I wrote them for me. I wrote them for the band, or I wrote a song for the woman in my life.”
Rumor has it that “Big Shot” was written about Mick Jagger’s then wife Bianca, who was a New York socialite. Billy says he wrote the song from Mick’s perspective.
“My Life” was used as the opening them song to the early 80’s sitcom “Bosom Buddies” which featured up and coming actor Tom Hanks. Hanks and Peter Scalari played a pair of roommates whose apartment burns down, so they decide to go stay at a women-only hotel because the rent is cheap. They dodge the women-only requirement by dressing in drag.
In 2003, ’52nd Street’ was ranked number 352 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.