Billy Joel

Singer / Songwriter

Born: 9 May 1949
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York
Best known as:

Pianist and singer of the tune Piano Man

Name at birth: William Martin Joel

 

Billy Joel's first major album, Piano Man, was released in 1974. It showcased his gift for writing ambitious pop tunes that were both catchy and sentimental. Expansive singles like New York State of Mind (1976) and Scenes From an Italian Restaurant (1977) cemented Joel's position as a blue-collar New York troubadour and helped make him one of the decade's most popular touring acts. His 1977 album The Stranger was packed with hit singles, including Movin' Out, Just the Way You Are and Only the Good Die Young, and was perhaps the height of his fame. Billy Joel continued to produce hit singles like Uptown Girl throughout the 1980s, though critics carped that he had replaced his early passion with nostalgic ditties and highfalutin message songs. Still, by the turn of the 21st century he had sold over 100 million records and was one of the most successful recording artists in history. Joel's albums include Turnstiles (1976), 52nd Street (1978), Glass Houses (1980), An Innocent Man (1983), River of Dreams (1993) and My Lives (2005). Movin' Out, a dance musical based on his songs and choreographed by Twyla Tharp, played on Broadway from 2002-2005. Joel was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.

Extra credit:

Billy Joel was married to supermodel Christie Brinkley from 1985 to 1994; their daughter, Alexa Ray, was born in 1985... He married the former Katie Lee in 2004; she's a TV food critic and reporter who was born in 1981. They divorced in 2009 that after five years of marriage... Joel was previously married to the former Elizabeth Small from 1973-82... Billy Joel was born in the Bronx but grew up in Levittown, the planned community on Long Island.

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