Billy Joel

Born: May 9, 1949
Hicksville, Long Island, NY, USA

William Martin Joel was born and grew up partly in the Bronx, and partly in Levittown, on Long Island. Billy had a fondness for classical music at a very early age, and he learned that his love for music was more than a hobby quickly. Billy joined a band after seeing the Beatles in concert, and loved performing. He took odd jobs in order to help his divorced mother make ends meet, and, as a result failed to graduate from high school because of excessive absences. Billy was devoted to music, however, and joined a band called the Hassles. They had a record deal with UA, and Billy made two albums with them before moving on. His next band, Atilla, put out an album on Epic Records. After this, however, Joel put out a solo album called Cold Spring Harbor. It produced his first solo hit, “Captain Jack.” It was receiving all kinds of airplay on the East coast, but Joel moved to the West coast due to financial difficulty, and began performing as a lounge singer in piano bars under an assumed name. Columbia Records found him anyway, though, and offered him a record deal. He signed and went into the studio, and produced his first smash hit, “Piano Man.” Billy’s follow-up album, Streetlife Serenade, spun such great hits as “The Entertainer,” and won Billy many awards.

It was 1975, and Joel moved back to New York to assemble a band and produce another album. Turnstiles was a sort of dedication to New York City, and he opened and closed his tour there. Billy’s following album, The Stranger, was a huge seller with his like “Only the Good Die Young,” “Out (Anthony’s Song), and “Just the Way You Are.” Billy continued to tour American and Europe throughout the late 70’s and early 80’s, playing every major concert hall. Wherever he went, his concerts sold out in minutes and his records sold millions of copies. He was Columbia Records’ biggest-selling artists, and the hits kept coming. In the mid-80’s, Billy started releasing music with a more poppy feel to it, and some of it was notably doo-wop influenced.

Joel was also invited to participate in such events as Farm Aid I, held by John Mellencamp, and USA For Africa. The late 80’s were filled with worldwide touring and more notable albums, as well as working with other bands to produce hits. Joel still sells out huge stadiums, and his consistently put out quality music over the past three decades.

Instruments Played / Skills:
Piano Songwriter Vocals

Pop/Top40 Soft Rock

Artists That Were Influenced By Billy Joel:
Garth Brooks
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