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Billy Joel Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (30) | Personal Quotes (14)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 9 May 1949The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameWilliam Martin Joel
Nicknames The Piano Man
Joe
Mr. Long Island
Height 5' 5½" (1.66 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Billy Joel was born on May 9, 1949 in The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA as William Martin Joel. He was previously married to Katie Lee Joel, Christie Brinkley and Elizabeth Weber.

Spouse (3)

Katie Lee Joel (2 October 2004 - 2010) (divorced)
Christie Brinkley (23 March 1985 - 25 August 1994) (divorced) (1 child)
Elizabeth Weber (5 September 1973 - 20 July 1982) (divorced)

Trade Mark (1)

Often writes songs about New York City

Trivia (30)

Began in the group the Echoes (later known as the Lost Souls). Also a member of the Hassles (who performed at Westchester, New York's famous Riviera Lounge in 1967) and Attila.
Grammy award-winning singer.
Alexa Ray Joel, Billy Joel's daughter with Christie Brinkley, was named after piano legend Ray Charles.
He appeared in the music video and sang in the choir on the song "We Are the World".
Billy went by the name Bill Martin when he played the Executive Room in Los Angeles while running from his contract after the failure of Cold Spring Harbor.
Joel was once a successful Long Island boxer, winning 22 out of 24 fights. He had taken boxing lessons because he was frequently beaten up by neighborhood bullies. He left his boxing career and went into music when his nose was broken in his 24th fight.
His song "Just the Way You Are" (released in 1977) is one of the most covered and radio-played songs of all-time.
His album "The Stranger" (released in 1977) was the most successful album in Columbia Records history at the time, but because of bad management, he only made $3,000 from it.
Writes all of his songs single-handedly.
With 77.5 million units sold in the United States to date, he is the 3rd highest selling solo artist of all time after Garth Brooks and Elvis Presley.
Seven consecutive albums have made the Top 40.
The Hassles hit #112 on the Billboard Singles Charts in 1967 with "You've Got Me Hummin'" (United Art. 50215).
His and Twyla Tharp's hit musical "Movin' Out" received 10 Tony nominations for the 2003 Tony Awards including: Best New Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical, Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Choreography, and Best Orchestrations. Out of the 10 nominations "Movin' Out" received two Tonys, one went to Tharp for Best Choreography, and the other went to Joel himself for Best Orchestrations.
Classically trained pianist.
Inducted into the American Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.
Ditched writing new pop music to compose classical music instead during the mid 1990s. Still performs pop songs at his concerts.
One of the very few artists to have top ten hits in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
First gig he received with playing his piano was when he was 15 to play at a piano bar close to his neighborhood. He loved it so much that he quit high school at 17 to pursue a full fledged music career. Ironically, he worked at a piano bar later in his music career, out in Los Angeles with the name Bill Martin, trying to make ends meet before he released "Piano Man".
Family Records, the first label that Joel signed with back in the early 1970s, had a lifetime clause in their contract with Joel. This clause came back to haunt him when he signed with major label Columbia Records a few years later. Up until the end of the 1980s, every Joel album sold by Columbia, 25 cents would be paid to Family as a royalty for each album sold. Also, Columbia had to put the Family name, logo, and copyright on every Joel album they produced.
He played piano on The Shangri-Las' 1965 hit, "Leader of the Pack". He was 16 years old at the time.
Son of Rosalynd Nyman, born in England to an agnostic Jewish family, and Howard Joel, a Jewish Holocaust survivor from Germany, whose family owned the fourth largest mail order company in Germany before dispossessed by the Nazis. After his divorce, Howard returned to Europe and married again. Billy's half-brother is the famous concert pianist Alexander Joel.
Some of his countless hits are "Piano Man" (1973), "She's Always a Woman" (1978), "My Life" (1979), "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" (1980, first US #1) "Allentown" (1982), "Uptown Girl" (1983, first UK #1), "Tell Her About It" (1983, US #1), "The Longest Time" (1983), "We Didn't Start the Fire" (1989), "Leningrad" (1989), "The Rivers of Dreams" (1993) and "All About Soul" (1993).
Called "Joe" by Christie Brinkley because, when she first met him, she wasn't sure whether Billy Joel was just his first name and she decided that he looked like he could be a Joe.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6233 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on September 20, 2004.
In the late 1970s with the worldwide success of his albums "Turnstiles" and "52nd Street" and many hit singles, he gave televised concerts on "The Old Grey Whistle Test" and "Music Laden".
Has played in two bands with Jon Small: The Hassles and Attila.
His first wife, Elizabeth Weber, was his business manager and the ex-wife of Jon Small.
(November 24, 2010) Underwent double hip surgery in a Long Island, New York hospital to treat a congenital hip ailment.
His album "52nd Street" (released in 1978) was the first album to be released on compact disc in 1982.
Inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame on October 15, 2006.

Personal Quotes (14)

I look in the mirror and I go: you're a rock star? It's funny I don't look like a rock star, I don't walk around thinking like a rock star. I'm just this shmegdorf walking around and somebody confronts me and goes BILLY JOEL! and I'm like: Right, I'm that guy.
I have a theory as to why I've been around so long. I don't think I'm all that good, I think I'm competent, I know how to do what I'm supposed to do. I know how to play the piano, I know how to sing in key, I know how to write music & lyrics, I know how to record and I know how to perform. I'm competent. I know how to do my job.
I'd rather laugh with the sinners, than cry with the saints.
There's nothing better than good sex. But bad sex? A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is better than bad sex.
I love telling stories, and I love hearing a good story being told. Songwriting is fascinating in that it incorporates two things that I love to do: create a story and write the music to it. Then I get to sing it and play the piano on top of that. My job allows me to do four things that I absolutely love. It doesn't get much better than that.
[about recording "We Are the World"] I remember most of us who were there didn't like the song, but nobody would say so. I think Cyndi Lauper leaned over to me and said, "It sounds like a Pepsi commercial.". And I didn't disagree.
It's weird you know, the values. Jonas Salk invented the polio vaccine yet I'm worth more money than he is.
On a three-week commitment after attempting suicide at age 21: I'd go up to the nurse's window and say, "Hey, I'm OK, but these other people are really crazy.". They'd just hand me my Thorazine.
I know: rich bastard. I used to feel awkward about it, but I shrugged it off. It's all luck and sweat. But I earned it - though I can't justify the amounts.
I looked like Bubbles the Chimp.
2008: On being a rock star at age 59: I'm from Long Island; I'm not going to delude myself. I know what I look like. And I want them to know that I know how absurd all this is.
I'm just this shlubby guy who plays the piano.
I've been able to make a living as a musician, and that's the greatest blessing of all. The fame, the wealth, the awards, and all that, that's all gravy.
I went into a deep, deep depression after 9/11. 9/11 just knocked the wind out of me, and I don't know even now if I've recovered from it. It really, really hurt that man could do that to man.

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