Billy Joel – Biography
Billy Joel was born on May 9, 1949 in the Bronx. His full name is William Martin “Billy” Joel. Billy’s father, Howard was born in Germany. Billy Joel’s mother, Rosalind Nyman, was born in England. Both Joel’s parents were Jewish. They divorced in 1960, and his father moved to Vienna, Austria.
Billy Joel’s musical career started when he was only fourteen. Inspired by The Beatles in 1964, he joined a group called The Echoes which sand cover versions. The Echoes eventually became quite popular in New York which prompted Joel to leave school to pursue a full time career in music.
Joel’s solo career began when he signed a record contract with Artie Ripp’s Family Productions. He recorded his first solo album titled Cold Spring Harbor which was released in 1971. The album was not very well produced and the recording was badly done. However, it was given a second chance when Columbia reissued the album after slowing it down to the correct speed in 1984. The album reached #158 in the US and #95 in the UK nearly a year later.
Billy Joel’s first hit song was “Piano Man,” in 1973. With that hit, Joel has become the sixth best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in the United States. He also has the third best-selling album in the United States with his Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2.
Joel had Top 40 hits in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, achieving 33 Top 40 hits in the United States, all of which he wrote himself. He is also a six-time Grammy Award winner, a 23-time Grammy nominee and has sold over 150 million records worldwide.
He was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame (1992), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1999), and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (2006). In 2008, Billboard magazine released a list of the Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists to celebrate the US singles chart’s 50th anniversary, with Billy Joel positioned at No. 23. With the exception of the 2007 songs “All My Life” and “Christmas in Fallujah,” Joel stopped writing and recording pop/rock material after 1993’s River of Dreams, but he continued to tour extensively until 2010.