William Martin "Billy" Joel (born May 9, 1949) is an American musician and pianist, singer-songwriter, and classical composer. Since releasing his first hit song, "Piano Man", in 1973, Joel has become the sixth best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in the United States, according to the RIAA.
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), the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (2006) and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame (2009). In 2008, Billboard magazine released a list of the Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists to celebrate the US singles chart's fiftieth anniversary, with Joel at number twenty-three. With the exception of the 2007 single "All My Life", Joel discontinued recording new material after 1993's River of Dreams but continues to tour.
Early life[edit | edit source]
Billy Joel was born in the Bronx, New York City in New York. He has a sister, Judith, and a half brother, Alexander Joel. At about the age of one, him and his family moved to the Long Island town of Hicksville. Billy Joel's father, Howard Joel was a classical pianist, and a businessman, born to a Jewish family in Nuremberg, Germany. At the age of four, Billy Joel began taking piano lessons. When he was a teenager, he took up boxing so he could defend himself. He boxed on the Golden Gloves circuit, until he ended up with a broken nose. Billy Joel attended Hicksville High School up until 1967. He did not end up graduating with his class. Instead, he had been playing at a piano bar, so he can support his family. Because of this, he did not have enough credits to graduate. So he turned to Columbia Records for a deal. He did however end up submitting multiple essays to the school, and he got his diploma about 25 years after leaving the school.