Billy Joel Billy Joel

A-Z SONGS of Billy Joel (153)

About Billy Joel

Photo of Billy Joel William Martin Joel (born May 9, 1949) is an American singer, songwriter and pianist. Commonly nicknamed the "Piano Man" after his signature 1973 song of the same name, Joel has had a successful music career as a solo artist since the 1970s. From 1971 to 1993, he released twelve studio albums that spanned the genres of pop and rock music, and in 2001 released a one-off studio album of classical music compositions. Joel is one of the world's best-selling music artists and the fourth-best-selling solo artist in the United States, with over 160 million records sold worldwide. His 1985 compilation album, Greatest Hits – Volume I & Volume II, is one of the best-selling albums in the United States.

Joel was born in the Bronx in New York City and grew up on Long Island, where he began taking piano lessons at his mother's insistence. After dropping out of high school to pursue a music career, Joel took part in two short-lived bands, The Hassles and Attila, before signing a record deal with Family Productions and starting off a solo career in 1971 with his first release Cold Spring Harbor. In 1972, Joel caught the attention of Columbia Records after a live radio performance of the song "Captain Jack" became popular in Philadelphia, prompting him to sign a new record deal with the company and release his second album, Piano Man, in 1973. After Streetlife Serenade and Turnstiles in 1974 and 1976, respectively, Joel released his critical and commercial breakthrough album, The Stranger, in 1977, which became Columbia's best-selling release, selling over 10 million copies and spawning the hit singles, "Just the Way You Are", "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)", "Only the Good Die Young", and "She's Always a Woman"; the album also includes the popular album track "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant", Joel's favorite of his own songs, which has become a firm staple of his live shows, and "Vienna", also one of Joel's personal favorites and as of 2022 one of his most streamed songs on the internet.

Joel's next album, 52nd Street, was released in 1978 and it soon became his first album to peak at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Joel released his seventh studio album, Glass Houses, in 1980 in an attempt to further establish himself as a rock artist; this release featured "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" (Joel's first single to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart), "You May Be Right", "Don't Ask Me Why", and "Sometimes a Fantasy". His next album, The Nylon Curtain, was released in 1982, and stemmed from a desire to create more lyrically and melodically ambitious music. An Innocent Man, released in 1983, served as an homage to genres of music that Joel had grown up with in the 1950s, such as rhythm and blues and doo-wop; this release featured "Tell Her About It", "Uptown Girl" and "The Longest Time", three of his best-known songs. After his 12th album, 1993's River of Dreams, he largely retired from producing studio material, although he went on to release Fantasies and Delusions, a 2001 album featuring classical compositions composed by him and performed by British-Korean pianist Richard Hyung-ki Joo. Joel provided voiceover work in 1988 for the Disney animated film Oliver & Company, in which he played the character Dodger with his song, "Why Should I Worry?", and contributed to the soundtracks to several different films, including Easy Money, Ruthless People, and Honeymoon in Vegas. Joel returned to composing new music with the 2024 single “Turn the Lights Back On”.

Across the years of his solo career, Joel produced 33 self-written Top 40 hits in the U.S., three of which ("It's Still Rock and Roll to Me", "Tell Her About It", and "We Didn't Start the Fire") topped the Billboard Hot 100. Joel has been nominated for 23 Grammy Awards, winning 6 of them, including Album of the Year for 52nd Street. Joel was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (1992), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1999), and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (2006). In 2001, Joel received the Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2013, Joel received the Kennedy Center Honors for influencing American culture through the arts. Since the advent of his solo career, Joel has had a successful touring career, holding live performances across the globe. In 1987, he became one of the first artists to hold a rock tour in the Soviet Union following the country's alleviation of its ban on rock music.

From Wikipedia