Billy Joel in Amazing Facts: From Childhood Hobbies to Liverpool Inspiration

“Until this point, I had never considered rock as a career... I was 15 when I saw them and I remember thinking they look like me and my friends! It inspired me…”

We recall the most interesting and little-known facts about the cult artist

Legendary "Piano Man", for many decades Billy Joel remains one of the biggest music stars! He is the sixth best-selling artist in the history of music - his worldwide circulation has long exceeded the mark. 100 million copies! Well, this man has managed to carve out a dazzling career, given the fact that at the beginning of his journey he did not want to sing at all. "Piano Man", "Just the Way You Are", "My Life", "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" - these are just some of the works of Joel, which are well known to every music lover! But, unfortunately, this cannot be said about the rich and thorny life of the singer ...

Children's hobbies

Billy Joel
Billy Joel

Few people know, but Billy's childhood was experienced boxer! Yes, yes, it was not music that was the first serious hobby of the future idol of the world stage, but sports.

Billy Joel
Billy Joel

The boy decided to go in for boxing because his peers often mocked him. As a result, the hobby grew into something much more significant: Joel actively participated in competitions "Golden Gloves"and even won 22 fights! But a broken nose made him think and give up this unsafe occupation ...

Billy Joel
Billy Joel

Billy was brought up in a Jewish family, but as a child he constantly attended Catholic Mass. According to the artist himself, it was a very exciting and interesting experience in his life! Today Joel calls himself "cultural Jew", but admits that he is in fact an atheist.

Liverpool inspiration

The Beatles
The Beatles

Billy was inspired to study music diligently by the iconic Liverpool Four! Despite the fact that he took piano lessons, his craving for music was very weak ... But everything changed when the boy saw the performance The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show August 14, 1965. Subsequently, he said:

“Until this point, I had never considered rock as a career… I was 15 when I saw them and I remember thinking they look like me and my friends! It inspired me…”

Later, Joel himself performed on The Ed Sullivan Show, which undoubtedly inspired many followers - the same young guys as he once was ...

The idea of releasing a solo album

Billy Joel
Billy Joel

It is noteworthy, but at the beginning of its journey Joel did not plan to sing - he liked writing songs more than performing them. He worked as a studio musician for a while and this experience showed him that he definitely has a gift for writing! Once he said:

"The valuable advice I got from people in the music industry was something like, 'If you want people to hear your songs, make an album.'

Billy followed this advice and released a solo album. Well, his further history is well known to all of us - he became a singer. Nevertheless, the record deeply upset Billy: "Cold Spring Harbour" was poorly received by critics, and was a flop. Mostly due to a mistake made during the audio mastering process. The album was accidentally sped up, making Joel sound more like "chipmunk". According to the legend, the angry singer ran out into the middle of the street and smashed his copy to smithereens.

First steps

Billy Joel
Billy Joel

At the beginning of his journey, Joel was inspired not only The Beatles, but also Jimi Hendrix with "The Who.. For the sake of his idols, he even went on a motorcycle to one of the most famous rock festivals in the history of music - Woodstock 1969 of the year. However, the guy stayed there for only a day and a half, after which he hurried home. Billy later explained the rush by saying that "there were no real toilets."

Billy Joel
Billy Joel

Before becoming one of the preeminent rock singers and songwriters of his generation, Joel played in a heavy metal band called Atilla. From his own memoirs:

“We were heavy metal, we were going to destroy the world with power up! We had about a dozen gigs, but no one could stay in the room while we were playing. It was too loud…”

First big show Joel took place in Puerto Rico, during his tour 1971 of the year: his performance at a pop festival Mar y Sol was particularly impressive and earned the singer three encores and a standing ovation!

One day he saw a ghost

Billy Joel
Billy Joel

Billy Joel has repeatedly claimed that he once saw a ghost in his former estate in Hampton. Allegedly, it was the ghost of a woman, leaning on a nineteenth-century outfit, combing her hair in his house. The house was later sold to the actor Jerry Seinfeld and completely renovated. Whether the woman returned there after that remains a mystery.

Strong bond with father

Billy Joel
Billy Joel

Billy was born in the Bronx May 9, 1949 in a Jewish immigrant family Howard and Rosalind Joel. Before emigrating to America, the boy's father was a professional pianist from Austria. Facing persecution for being Jewish, Howard emigrated to Switzerland and then to the US via Cuba. After divorcing his wife, Howard returned to Vienna and was absent from Billy's life for more than twenty years...

Nevertheless, later the two still managed to establish a relationship. One day, while on tour, Joel reunited with his father and even invited him to come on stage for a duet! These two have not seen each other for many years, but they played on the same stage as if their joint number existed for years! This magic happened in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1995 year.

Joel later said that his song Vienna partly inspired by his father.

Music inspired by loved ones

Billy Joel
Billy Joel

Curious but famous song "Just the Way You Are" was originally written as a birthday present for Joel's wife, Elizabeth! As a result, it became a big hit, reaching number 3 on the US charts. The composition also won two Grammys - one for the recording, and the second for the song of the year.

Joel was also inspired by his charming wife to write his second hit, "Big Shot". True - we are talking about someone else's wife ...

The artist later explained that the song was written about a socialite and ex-wife. Mick Jagger, Bianke.

Mick Jagger at Studio 54
Mick Jagger at Studio 54

According to Joel, he tried to tell what, in his opinion, Jagger thought about his wife. By the way: soon after the release of the track, the couple divorced ...

He gives out first places at his concerts

Billy Joel
Billy Joel

After many years of working with speculators and disinterested individuals occupying its front row, Joel I decided to start giving away all my best places dedicated fans who can't afford them. He explains this by saying that in this way "people who are really happy to be there, real fans, can enjoy the performance to the maximum." This really deserves respect - a great act from a great musical genius!

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