Queens wasn’t a hip place to be from
if you wanted to be a folk-singer.
Although The Stranger was Billy Joel’s breakthrough album, it was the overall excellence of 52nd Street which got my musical blood boiling on its initial release. Though I did not delay all that much to buy the LP, all the same I had heard better than half of the album over the radio before I owned the vinyl myself. I still remember riding in a friend’s car in Pompton Lakes, turning the radio on and hearing “Until the Night” . . . and I remember, almost as if the seconds are ticking by all over again, how awareness that the singer was Billy Joel sank in only gradually.
The irony is something wistful, after the ball-player’s subsequent history, to hear Joel singing, “Rose, he knows he’s such a credit to the game.”
Still, for a Yankees fan to acknowledge such a thing . . . the sentiment does Billy Joel credit.
Freddie Hubbard’s solo on “Zanzibar”: magical, electrifying.