Glass Houses (album)
Glass Houses is the seventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Billy Joel, released on March 12, 1980. 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. 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. 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.
|Studio album by|
|Released||March 12, 1980|
|Recorded||1979 at A&R Recording, New York City|
|Billy Joel chronology|
|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.
|Singles from Glass Houses|
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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".
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"). 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."
|Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s||B|
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic wrote retrospectively: "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." 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." 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."
All songs written by Billy Joel.
- "You May Be Right" – 4:15
- "Sometimes a Fantasy" – 3:40
- "Don't Ask Me Why" – 2:59
- "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" – 2:57
- "All for Leyna" – 4:15
- "I Don't Want to Be Alone" – 3:57
- "Sleeping with the Television On" – 3:02
- "C'était Toi (You Were the One)" – 3:25
- "Close to the Borderline" – 3:47
- "Through the Long Night" – 2:43
- Billy Joel – acoustic piano, synthesizers, harmonica, electric pianos, accordion, vocals
- Richie Cannata – organs, saxophones, flute
- David Brown – acoustic and electric guitars (lead)
- Russell Javors – acoustic and electric guitars (rhythm)
- Doug Stegmeyer – bass guitar
- Liberty DeVitto – drums and percussion
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|1981||Glass Houses||Best Rock Vocal Performance - Male||Won|
|Album of the Year||Nominated|
American Music AwardsEdit
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|1981||Glass Houses||Favorite Pop/Rock Album||Won|
|Billy Joel (performer)||Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist||Nominated|
Certifications and salesEdit
|Australia (ARIA)||5× Platinum||350,000^|
|Canada (Music Canada)||5× Platinum||500,000^|
|Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)||Gold||7,500*|
|Japan (Oricon Charts)||—||317,000|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||7× Platinum||7,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
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