Glass Houses (album)

Glass Houses is the seventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Billy Joel, released on March 12, 1980.[4] It features Joel's first song to peak at No.  1 on Billboard's Pop Singles chart, "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me". The album itself topped the Pop Albums chart for six weeks and was ranked No.  4 on Billboard's 1980 year-end album chart.[5] The album is the 41st best selling album of the 1980s, with sales of 7.1 million copies in the U.S. alone. In 1981, Joel won a Grammy Award for "Best Male Rock Vocal Performance" for his work on Glass Houses.[6] According to music critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine, the album featured "a harder-edged sound" compared to Joel's other work, in response to the punk and new wave movements.[7] This was also the final studio album to feature the original incarnation (Joel, Richie Cannata, Doug Stegmeyer, Russell Javors and Liberty DeVitto) of the Billy Joel Band, augmented by new lead guitarist David Brown.

Glass Houses
Billy Joel - Glass Houses.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 12, 1980
Recorded1979 at A&R Recording, New York City
Genre
Length35:06
LabelFamily Productions/Columbia
ProducerPhil Ramone
Billy Joel chronology
52nd Street
(1978)
Glass Houses
(1980)
Songs in the Attic
(1981)
Back cover (some versions)
On the LP and some CD releases, Joel is shown looking through a hole after throwing a rock in the glass house. This is also seen on the front cover of some of the single releases from this album.
On the LP and some CD releases, Joel is shown looking through a hole after throwing a rock in the glass house. This is also seen on the front cover of some of the single releases from this album.
Singles from Glass Houses
  1. "All for Leyna"
    Released: January 1980
  2. "You May Be Right"
    Released: March 1980
  3. "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me"
    Released: May 1980
  4. "Don't Ask Me Why"
    Released: July 1980
  5. "Sometimes a Fantasy"
    Released: 1980

BackgroundEdit

This album was the third collaboration between Joel and producer Phil Ramone, following The Stranger and 52nd Street and the final such collaboration in association with Home Run.

Opening with the sound of glass shattering, Glass Houses has more of a hard rock feel than Joel's previous albums. The cover shows Joel poised to throw a rock through the two-story window of his real-life waterfront glass house in Cove Neck. On some versions, the back cover shows Joel looking through the hole that the rock made in the glass. This alludes to the adage that "people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones".[citation needed]

In 2004, the pop-culture journalist and rock critic Chuck Klosterman praised the album in an essay on Joel titled "Every Dog Must Have His Every Day, Every Drunk Must Have His Drink" from his book Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs (the title of the essay refers to a line from the Glass Houses song "Don't Ask Me Why").[8] In particular, Klosterman praised some of the more obscure tracks from the album including "All for Leyna", "I Don't Want to Be Alone", "Sleeping with the Television On" and "Close to the Borderline."[8]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [1]
Blender     [9]
Christgau's Record GuideB−[3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [10]
The Great Rock Discography6/10[11]
Record Mirror     [12]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [13]
Smash Hits8/10[14]

Rolling Stone critic Paul Nelson stated: "Billy Joel writes smooth and cunning melodies, and what many of his defenders say is true: his material's catchy. But then, so's the flu."[15] In Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s (1990), Robert Christgau said: "From the straight-up hubba-hubba of 'You May Be Right' to the Rick Wakeman ostinatos of 'Sometimes a Fantasy' to the McCartneyesque melodicism of 'Don't Ask Me Why' to the what-it-is of 'It's Still Rock and Roll to Me,' it's all rock and roll to him, but to me it's closer to what pop meant before ironists and aesthetes, including yours truly, appropriated the term. Closer than any skinny-tie bands, that's for sure: gregarious, shameless, and above all profitable. Of course, if it doesn't make up in reach what it lacks in edge, ironists and aesthetes needn't notice it's there. And beyond 'Sleeping With the Television On,' I couldn't tell you thing one about side two, which I just played three times."[3]

In a retrospective review, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic wrote: "It may not be punk – then again, it may be his concept of punk – but Glass Houses is the closest Joel ever got to a pure rock album."[1]

Track listingEdit

All songs written by Billy Joel.

No.TitleLength
1."You May Be Right"4:15
2."Sometimes a Fantasy"3:40
3."Don't Ask Me Why"2:59
4."It's Still Rock and Roll to Me"2:57
5."All for Leyna"4:15
6."I Don't Want to Be Alone"3:57
7."Sleeping with the Television On"3:02
8."C'était Toi (You Were the One)"3:25
9."Close to the Borderline"3:47
10."Through the Long Night"2:43
Total length:35:06

PersonnelEdit

Musicians

Production

  • Phil Ramone – producer
  • Jim Boyer – engineer
  • Bradshaw Leigh – assistant engineer
  • Ted Jensen – mastering at Sterling Sound (New York, NY).
  • Brian Ruggles – technician
  • Steve Cohen – lighting
  • Jim Houghton – photography
  • Michele Slagter – production assistant
  • Jeff Schock – product management

AccoladesEdit

Grammy AwardsEdit

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1981 Glass Houses Best Rock Vocal Performance – Male[6] Won
Album of the Year[16] Nominated

American Music AwardsEdit

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1981 Glass Houses Favorite Pop/Rock Album[17] Won
Billy Joel (performer) Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist[17] Nominated

ChartsEdit

Charting singlesEdit

Single Chart Position
"All For Leyna" UK Singles Chart 40
"You May Be Right" Australian (ARIA Chart) 28
Canada (RPM)
6
Japan Singles Chart
60
Official New Zealand Music Chart
23
U.S.Billboard Hot 100 7
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary
48
"It's Still Rock N Roll To Me" Australian (ARIA Chart) 10
Canada (RPM)
1
Ireland Singles Chart
11
Official New Zealand Music Chart
21
UK Singles Chart 14
U.S.Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary
45
"Don't Ask Me Why" Canada (RPM)
4
Netherlands Music Chart
42
U.S.Billboard Hot 100 19
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary
1
"Sometimes A Fantasy" Canada (RPM)
21
U.S.Billboard Hot 100 36

Certifications and salesEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[43] Platinum 50,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[45] 5× Platinum 740,000[44]
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[46] Gold 7,500*
Japan (Oricon Charts) 317,000[47]
United Kingdom (BPI)[48] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[49] 7× Platinum 7,000,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Glass Houses – Billy Joel". AllMusic. Retrieved August 25, 2011.
  2. ^ Cateforis, Theo (2011). Are We Not New Wave?: Modern Pop at the Turn of the 1980s. University of Michigan Press. p. 40. ISBN 978-0472034703.
  3. ^ a b c Christgau, Robert (1990). "Billy Joel: Glass Houses". Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-679-73015-X. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
  4. ^ "Billy Joel – Glass Houses | Shop the Billy Joel Official Store". billyjoel.shop.musictoday.com. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Billboard.com – Year End Charts – Year-end Albums – The Billboard 200". billboard.com. Retrieved September 11, 2008.
  6. ^ a b "Past Winners Search". grammy.com. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  7. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Billy Joel". Allmusic. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Klosterman, Chuck. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs Scribner, 2004.
  9. ^ Browne, David (May 22, 2007). "Billy Joel: Glass Houses". Blender. Archived from the original on February 3, 2010. Retrieved January 4, 2020.
  10. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "Joel, Billy". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  11. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2002). "Billy Joel". The Great Rock Discography (6th ed.). Canongate Books. ISBN 1-84195-312-1.
  12. ^ Smith, Robin (March 15, 1980). "The sound of breaking glass". Record Mirror. p. 20.
  13. ^ Evans, Paul (2004). "Billy Joel". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 434–35. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  14. ^ Cranna, Ian (April 3–16, 1980). "Billy Joel: Glass Houses". Smash Hits. Vol. 2 no. 7. p. 31.
  15. ^ Nelson, Paul (May 1, 1980). "Billy Joel: Glass Houses". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on February 28, 2008. Retrieved August 25, 2011.
  16. ^ "GRAMMYs' Best Albums 1980–1989". grammy.org. Archived from the original on August 30, 2011. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  17. ^ a b "8th American Music Awards". Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  18. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  19. ^ "austriancharts.at Billy Joel - Glass Houses". Hung Medien (in German). Archived from the original on October 21, 2012. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  20. ^ Library and Archives Canada. Archived December 30, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved November 1, 2011
  21. ^ "dutchcharts.nl Billy Joel – Glass Houses". Hung Medien, dutchcharts.nl (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Archived from the original on December 7, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  22. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). infodisc.fr. Archived from the original on September 10, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  23. ^ "Tonlist Top 40". DV. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  24. ^ "Yamachan Land (Archives of the Japanese record charts) – Albums Chart Daijiten – Billy Joel" (in Japanese). December 30, 2007. Archived from the original on June 19, 2007. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  25. ^ "charts.nz – Billy Joel – Glass Houses". charts.nz. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  26. ^ "norwegiancharts.com Billy Joel – Glass Houses". Hung Medien, norwegiancharts.com. VG-lista. Archived from the original on November 10, 2012. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  27. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  28. ^ "swedishcharts.com Billy Joel - Glass Houses". Hung Medien, swedishcharts.com (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  29. ^ "Billy Joel – Glass Houses – hitparade.ch". Archived from the original on February 26, 2015. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
  30. ^ "The Official Charts Company – Billy Joel – Glass Houses". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  31. ^ "allmusic ((( Glass Houses > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  32. ^ "Album Search: Billy Joel" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  33. ^ * Zimbabwe. Kimberley, C. Zimbabwe: albums chart book. Harare: C. Kimberley, 2000
  34. ^ "Austriancharts.st – Jahreshitparade 1980" (in German). Hung Medien. Archived from the original on November 9, 2010. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  35. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1980". RPM. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
  36. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1980 par InfoDisc" (in French). infodisc.fr. Archived from the original (PHP) on January 9, 2016. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
  37. ^ "Japanese Year-End Albums Chart 1980" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved September 12, 2011.
  38. ^ "The Top 50 Albums of 1980". Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  39. ^ "The Top 20 Albums of Vår 1980". Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  40. ^ "Complete UK Year-End Album Charts". Archived from the original on January 11, 2012. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  41. ^ "Top 100 Albums of 1981". RPM. December 26, 1981. Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved December 6, 2010.
  42. ^ "Top Pop Albums of 1981". billboard.biz. December 31, 1981. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
  43. ^ "Kent Music Report No 341 – 5 January 1981 > Platinum and Gold Albums 1980". Kent Music Report. Retrieved January 24, 2020 – via Imgur.com.
  44. ^ "Juno Album, Singles Data" (PDF). Billboard. January 24, 1981. p. 102. Retrieved March 2, 2021 – via World Radio History. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  45. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Billy Joel – Glass Houses". Music Canada.
  46. ^ "IFPIHK Gold Disc Award − 1983". IFPI Hong Kong.
  47. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  48. ^ "British album certifications – Billy Joel – Glass Houses". British Phonographic Industry.Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Glass Houses in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  49. ^ "American album certifications – Billy Joel – Glass Houses". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.