BIRTH: May 9, 1949,
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
Billy Joel is an American singer, songwriter and pianist. His most famous single is the “Piano Man”. He released several hit songs in the 1970s and 1980s.
Billy Joel was born as William Martin Joel on May 9, 1949, in Bronx, New York. He was raised in a German-Jewish family. His father, Howard Joel, was an acclaimed pianist. Joel also had a sister and a half-brother.
Billy Joel started learning the piano under the guidance of Morton Estrin and musician Timothy Ford. Joel left high school to pursue his career in music. His first band was called The Echoes, Joel recorded
some of his instrumental pieces with them. In 1967. Joel left the band to join The Hassles. This band had signed with United Artist Records, They released two albums but didn’t gain any commercial success.
He left the band in 1969 and formed a duo with Joe Small called Atilla, They recorded an album with Epic Records in 1970. However, this duo did not last long either.
Joel signed a solo contract with Artie Ripp’s Family Productions in 1971. His debut solo album, ‘Cold Spring Harbor’, released the same year. The album didn’t perform well, and its quality was questionable.
In 1972, Joel started playing the piano at The Executive Room on Wilshire Boulevard. He played under the pseudonym ‘Bill Martin. Joel composed his legendary single “Piano Man” during this time. Late in 1972, Joel’s recording of “Captain Jack” was played on a radio station in Philadelphia. It became a huge chartbuster in the East Coast. As a result, Columbia Records offered Joel a record deal. He recorded his album, ‘Piano Man’, with Columbia Records in 1973.
It became his first gold album. Joel’s 1977 album, ‘The Stranger’, was one of his most commercially
successful albums. It was also Columbia’s biggest selling album. It had four singles in the U.S. Billboard Top 25. His next album was ’52nd Street’ (1978).
Joel performed at the ‘Havana Jam Festival’ at the Karl Marx Theatre in 1979. His 1980 album, ‘Glass House’, topped the Billboard Album Chart for six weeks. He released his live album, ‘Songs in the Attic’, in 1981.
It contained songs from his first album and some other early compositions. In 1983, his album ‘The Innocent Man’ was released. His first album, ‘Cold Spring Harbor’ , was re-released by Columbia Records in the same year.
His hit singles from the 1986 album, ‘The Bridge’, were “Matter of Trust” and “A Modern Woman”.
‘Greatest Hits’ came out in 1985. It became the third most-selling album according to RIAA
(Recording Industry Association of America).
Joel received a Grammy Award for his 1989 single “We Didn’t Start the Fire”. He released his last pop album in 1993 named ‘River Dreams! His popular singles from 1996 were “To Make You Feel My Love” and “Hey Girl”. His 2001 album ‘Fantasies and Delusions contained his classical compositions on the piano, the only one of its kind.
In 2006, Columbia Records released ’12 Garden Live’ that had songs from Joel’s concerts at Madison Square Garden Joel performed a free concert in Rome for his European tour. He performed the National
Anthem at Super Bowl XLI in 2007. His album “All My Life’ was released the same year. It was
his first pop album since 1993.
He received two Grammy Awards for his song “Just The Way You Are” in 1978. For his album “Live from Long Island’ he won the ACE Award (Award for Cable Excellence) in 1984. He was awarded the Grammy Legend Award in 1991.
In the following year, he got inducted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Joel was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. He was awarded the ASCAP Founders Award in 1997. His album ‘Greatest Hits’ was certified Platinum by the RIAA. He was honored with The James Smithson Bicentennial Medal in 2000.
In the following year, he was awarded the Johnny Mercer Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Joel has held many benefit concerts. He established Charity Begins At Home in 1978 to fund charities working against child abuse, domestic violence, cancer and other such issues. In 2002, Joel was honored as MusiCares Person of the Year for his charity work.
Billy Joel has been married four times. He’s currently married to Alexis Roderick since 2015, they’ve two children together. Joel is a father of three children.