Billy Joel is an American singer, songwriter and pianist who grew up in the Bronx and is the sixth best selling recording artist and the third best selling solo artist in the United States.
He has had Top 40 hits in the 70s, 80s and 90s and he has 23 Grammy awards to his credit.
Born in 1949 to Jewish parents who had immigrated to the US to escape Nazi Germany, Joel had early piano training at his mother’s insistence. He did not have enough credits to graduate from high school, as he was playing late nights in a local bar to help his mother with expenses, and missed a critical English exam.
Joel said that since he was not going to be able to go to Columbia University, he would go to Columbia Records, where he did not need a high school diploma.
When Joel saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show, he said it changed his life, because here were four guys who looked like nothing special, and they were on the Ed Sullivan show. So this is when he decided to get into music for real.
Thus began a few years of mucking around with several bands, groups and session music for up and coming stars including the Beach Boys and others. He moved to California where he played in a piano bar and composed his hit, “Piano Man.”
Joel began to attract attention, and his songs of “The Stranger,” “Only The Good Die Young.” and “Movin’ Out.”
Joel’s music personified how many Americans felt, as it “told it like it is” as he parodied himself at the piano, and everyone else at their day to day existence, working and playing through their lives.
Joel still performs in concerts and benefits, regaling his hits and honoring his friends and music that is epic of our times.