Cold Spring Harbor (album)

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Cold Spring Harbor
Cold Spring Harbor by Billy Joel, original album art.jpg
Artwork from the original 1971 release
Studio album by Billy Joel
Released November 1, 1971
Recorded July 1971
July–September 1983 (remix overdubs)
Studio Record Plant Studios, Los Angeles, California
Ultrasonic Recording Studios, Hempstead, New York
Fidelity Studios, Studio City, California (remix overdubs)
Length 33:07 (original)
29:53 (reissue)
Label Family Productions (original)
Columbia (1983 reissue)
Producer Artie Ripp
Billy Joel chronology
Cold Spring Harbor
Piano Man
(1973)Piano Man1973
Reissue cover
Reissue cover
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]

Cold Spring Harbor is the first studio album by American singer-songwriter Billy Joel, released on November 1, 1971. He had previously released albums as a member of the bands the Hassles and Attila.

Composition and recording[edit]

Cold Spring Harbor was named after a hamlet of the same name in the town of Huntington, New York, a seaside community near Joel's hometown. The front cover was photographed at Harbor Road, Cold Spring Harbor, New York[2].

Joel would release live versions of "She's Got a Way" and "Everybody Loves You Now" on the album Songs in the Attic in 1981. The first song was released as a single in early 1982, and peaked at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[3]



Through an error in the album's mastering, the songs played slightly too fast, causing Joel's voice to sound unnaturally high (one-half of a semitone higher—Joel joked that he sounded more like one of the Chipmunks than himself). According to a long-standing rumor, when Joel first heard the finished product, he "ripped it off the turntable, ran out of the house, and threw [the record] down the street."[1] Arthur "Artie" Ripp, owner of Family Productions and hence the owner of the original master tapes, was responsible for the production error, and the mistake cost him his friendship with Joel. He had originally signed the 22-year-old Joel to a ten-record contract that stripped Joel of all rights to the original tapes and to the publishing rights to all current and future songs.[4]

As part of a deal with Columbia Records to release Joel from his contract, Ripp was still able to collect royalties on sales of Joel's records long after Joel's acrimonious departure from Family Productions (up until 1986's The Bridge). Ripp only sold the publishing rights to Joel's song catalog back to Joel reluctantly after intense pressure from CBS/Columbia Records president Walter Yetnikoff, who claimed he had to threaten Ripp to finalize the deal.[4][5][6]


In July–September 1983, Ripp and Larry Elliot remixed Cold Spring Harbor at Ripp's Fidelity Studios in Studio City, California. The album's pitch was adjusted in order to make Joel's vocal tone more mature. In order to enhance the album's sound, Ripp brought in studio musicians Mike McGee (drums), Al Campbell (synthesizers), and L.D. Dixon (Fender Rhodes) to overdub new rhythm sections on "Everybody Loves You Now" and "Turn Around." In addition, "You Can Make Me Free" was truncated by nearly three minutes (removing most of the original tail-end, fadeout jam), and the bass, drums, and orchestration on "Tomorrow Is Today" were removed.

The remix was released through Columbia Records, without any involvement from Joel. In a 2011 interview with actor Alec Baldwin, Joel stated that despite the remix, he believes that the album still does not sound very good.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Billy Joel.

Side one
No. Title Length (Original LP) Length
1. "She's Got a Way" 3:00 2:51
2. "You Can Make Me Free" 6:05 2:59
3. "Everybody Loves You Now" 3:00 2:49
4. "Why Judy Why" 3:05 2:58
5. "Falling of the Rain" 2:46 2:38
Side two
No. Title Length (Original LP) Length
6. "Turn Around" 3:49 3:06
7. "You Look So Good to Me" 2:42 2:29
8. "Tomorrow Is Today" 5:20 4:40
9. "Nocturne" 2:48 2:46
10. "Got to Begin Again" 3:04 2:52



Year (1984) Peak
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[7] 44
UK Albums (OCC)[8] 95
US Billboard 200[9][A] 158


  • A ^ Cold Spring Harbor peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Bubbling Under the Top LP's chart, which acts as a 16-album extension to the Billboard 200, when it was originally released in 1972.[10] The album was then re-issued by Columbia in December 1983. All chart positions listed for Cold Spring Harbor are for its reissue.


  1. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Cold Spring Harbor - Billy Joel". Allmusic. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  4. ^ a b Bordowitz, Hank. Billy Joel: The Life and Times of an Angry Young Man. Billboard Books, 2006.
  5. ^ Interview with Yetnikoff. The Last Play at Shea (documentary film). 2010.
  6. ^ Last Play at Shea (2010). The New York Times. October 28, 2010.
  7. ^ Okamoto, Satoshi (2011). Single Chart Book: Complete Edition 1968-2010 (in Japanese). Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. ISBN 4871310884. 
  8. ^ "Billy Joel | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
  9. ^ "Cold Spring Harbor - Billy Joel: Awards". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Bubbling Under the Top LP's". Billboard. No. April 8, 1972. p. 45.  Accessed from July 8, 2013.