Turnstiles (album)

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Billy Joel - Turnstiles.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 19, 1976
RecordedJanuary 1976
StudioUltrasonic Recording Studios, Hempstead, NY; Columbia Recording Studios, New York City, NY; Caribou Ranch, Nederland, CO
LabelFamily Productions/Columbia
ProducerBilly Joel
Billy Joel chronology
Streetlife Serenade
The Stranger
Singles from Turnstiles
  1. "Say Goodbye to Hollywood"
    Released: 1976
  2. "James"
    Released: 1976

Turnstiles is the fourth studio album by American singer-songwriter Billy Joel, released on May 19, 1976.


Joel recorded Turnstiles in part as a celebration of his return to his native New York City.[1] Three of the album's tracks reference New York: "Summer, Highland Falls", "New York State of Mind" and "Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)". It begins with "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" (inspired by The Ronettes song "Be My Baby") and also includes "I've Loved These Days", a tongue-in-cheek expression of regret at leaving behind Hollywood decadence. In an interview, Joel stated that the lyrics to the song "James" referred to various different people he knew in real life, with the title character being a "composite" of those people.[2] In the song "Prelude/Angry Young Man", Joel opens and closes the song rapidly hammering the piano, which was meant to simulate the drum part in the song "Wipe Out" by The Surfaris.[3]

The songs were first recorded at Caribou Ranch (near Nederland, Colorado), with members of Elton John's band (Nigel Olsson on drums and Dee Murray on bass) and produced by Chicago producer James William Guercio. Dissatisfied with the results, Joel took over as producer and returned to New York, where he re-recorded the album in its entirety, with his own touring band, which consisted of Long Island musicians Richie Cannata and the members of the band Topper: Liberty DeVitto, Russell Javors, Howie Emerson,[1] and Doug Stegmeyer. Turnstiles marked the first time that Joel's band played on one of his studio albums.

The album cover photo was shot in the Astor Place station on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line of the New York City Subway. According to Joel, each of the characters on the album cover was meant to represent a particular song (e.g., the girl in headphones for "All You Wanna Do is Dance," the wealthy couple for "I've Loved These Days").[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[5]
Blender5/5 stars[6]
Christgau's Record GuideC+[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3.5/5 stars[8]

Robert Christgau of The Village Voice wrote that Joel's craft improves, but "he becomes more obnoxious: the anti-idealism of 'Angry Young Man' isn't any more appealing in tandem with the pseudoironic sybaritism of 'I've Loved These Days.'" [7] In a retrospective review, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic wrote that "key to the record's success is variety, the way the album whips from the bouncy, McCartney-esque 'All You Wanna Do Is Dance' to the saloon song 'New York State of Mind'; the way the bitterly cynical "Angry Young Man" gives way to the beautiful 'I've Loved These Days' and the surrealistic apocalyptic fantasy 'Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway).' No matter how much stylistic ground Joel covers, he's kept on track by his backing group."[5]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Billy Joel.

Side one
1."Say Goodbye to Hollywood"4:36
2."Summer, Highland Falls"3:15
3."All You Wanna Do Is Dance"3:40
4."New York State of Mind"5:58
Side two
6."Prelude/Angry Young Man"5:17
7."I've Loved These Days"4:31
8."Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)"5:12
Total length:36:22

Many tracks have alternate mixes exclusive to the Quadrophonic LP release including "New York State of Mind", "Prelude/Angry Young Man", "I've Loved These Days" & "Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)". Contrary to some sources, the sax solo on "New York State of Mind" was never re-recorded by Phil Woods for the release of Greatest Hits. The only time that Phil Woods performed on a Billy Joel recording was the song "Just the Way You Are" in 1977.


Adapted from the AllMusic credits.[9]


  • Jerry Abramowitz – cover photography
  • John Berg – cover design
  • Bruce Botnick – mixing
  • John Bradley – engineer, project supervisor
  • Jo Buckley – production coordination
  • Billy Joel – producer
  • Don Puluse – engineer
  • Brian Ruggles – basic track consultant
  • Lou Waxman – tape engineer



  1. ^ a b "Classic Flashback: Billy Joel, 'Turnstiles'". About.com Entertainment.
  2. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2ozPH6vgUk
  3. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dy1xwXtYVxw
  4. ^ Billy Joel on Turnstiles - from THE COMPLETE ALBUMS COLLECTION. YouTube. October 18, 2011. Retrieved 2014-09-29.
  5. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Turnstiles – Billy Joel". AllMusic. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
  6. ^ Browne, David (May 22, 2007). "Billy Joel: Turnstiles". Blender. Archived from the original on January 31, 2010. Retrieved October 19, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Billy Joel: Turnstiles". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the '70s. Ticknor and Fields. ISBN 0-89919-026-X. Retrieved August 25, 2011.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "Turnstiles - Billy Joel | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic.
  10. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  11. ^ "allmusic ((( Turnstiles> Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  12. ^ "Highest position and charting weeks of Turnstiles by Billy Joel". oricon.co.jp (in Japanese). Oricon Style. Retrieved 2011-10-31. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  13. ^ "American album certifications – Billy Joel – Turnstiles". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.