Writer: Billy Joel
Producer: Phil Ramone
Recorded: Spring 1978 at A&R Recording in New York City
Released: Fall 1978
|Players:||Billy Joel — vocals, piano
Doug Stegmeyer — bass
Liberty DeVitto — drums
Richie Cannata — organ, saxophone, clarinet
Steve Kahn — guitar
Donnie Dacus — backing vocals
|Album:||Second Helping (MCA, 1974)|
Due to the success of his previous album, The Stranger, Billy Joel had to cram the recording of 52nd Street into breaks from touring.
“Big Shot,” which kicks off the album, is a reflection of Joel's observations about stardom, including references to Park Avenue clothes, limousines, Dom Perignon champagne, cocaine, and trendy hangouts such as Elaine's in New York City.
It's also something of a self-commentary, as Joel has said he was also guilty of the stoned, arrogant behavior he complains about in the song.
“Big Shot” peaked at Number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song — which was one of the few out-and-out rockers in Joel's catalog up to that point — became a standard show-closer for him.
The 52nd Street album spent eight weeks at Number One on the Billboard 200. It's sold well over seven million copies.
52nd Street won the Grammy Awards for Album Of The Year and for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male in 1979.