Monday, November 29, 2010

Billy Joel: Piano Man

Billy Joel grew up on Long Island New York, the son of an immigrant who was an accomplished classical music pianist. Billy had more of an interest in rock and roll, which his father did not like. Billy's brother is a classical music conductor in Europe. He dropped out of high school and had dreams of becoming a recording star like his idols, The Beatles. He played in a piano bar in Los Angeles, which led to the hit Piano Man in 1973. Billy teamed up with producer Phil Ramone and ended up having an amazing career which has spanned over 4 decades. He has had 33 top 40 hits, all which he wrote himself. He has sold over 150 million albums worldwide. The show I saw on the Biography channel mentioned how he has had many ups and downs in his personal life. He had a manager who took advantage of him financially, leaving him with no option other than to tour extensively over a 2 year period to get on better ground financially. He has had struggles with substance abuse, and has been divorced 3 times, most notably from model Christie Brinkley. Joel was a boxer as a young man and his aggression and fighting attitude can sometimes be seen in his music. He has toured with another pianist/rock and roll legend, Elton John. In 1987 Joel performed a groundbreaking concert in Russia at the height of the cold war. Billy's albums 52nd Street, Glass Houses, Storm Front and River of Dreams all hit #1 in the US. I admire Billy Joel very much for his staying power and his mark he has made on the world of popular music. My favorite songs of his include; Piano Man, Movin' Out, New York State of Mind, Big Shot, You May be Right, My Life, Pressure, and many more.

* Some information from Biography channel and
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