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LEGENDS OF ROCK & ROLL FROM NEW YORK

Billy Joel














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The piano man
















Billy Joel Biography

    Real Name:
         William Martin Joel
    Birthday:
         May 9, 1949 (in the Bronx, NY)
    Married To:
         Elizabeth Webber (Married 1972, divorced 1982)
         Christie Brinkley (Married March 23, 1985, divorced Aug 25, 1994)
    Children:
         Alexa Ray Joel (December 29, 1985)

William Martin Joel, born May 9, 1949, in The Bronx, NY, grew up in a comfortable Long Island suburb, Levittown, during the years following World War II. His German-born father, Howard Joel, who was imprisoned by the Nazis at Dachau during the war, moved to America after his release, to begin a new life in New York. That new life included adopting a new faith for his son--although Joel Sr. was Jewish, young Billy was raised in a predominately Catholic neighborhood and frequently attended mass and confession.

Joel's father secured work as an engineer with General Electric while his mother, Rosalind, set to work raising Billy and his sister Judy. Both of Joel's parents provided early musical influences: his father was a classically trained, self-disciplined pianist, and his mother had once sung in the chorus for Gilbert and Sullivan.

Billy JoelBilly began piano lessons at age four and continued until he was 14. As a young teenager he disliked learning classical music, theory, and the endless hours of practice.

In 1957, Joel's parents divorced; his father returned to Europe, and his mother supported the family by becoming a secretary and bookkeeper. Joel's maternal grandfather, Philip Hyman, became the primary father figure in Joel's life.

Joel enjoyed reading books and decided become a history teacher. Billy went to high school in the neighboring town of Hicksville, NY. Joel began to explore his masculinity by skipping school, running with a less-than-tough street gang, and engaging in Bantam-weight boxing. After 22 bouts he gave up the boxing ring for piano, "when I came to a difficult passage I'd start knuckling the keyboards."

Though he scored well on tests, his teachers refused to graduate him from high school due to his many absences from skipping school. It was also during these years that Joel discovered the power of music. In 1962, Joel saw a live performance for the first time when he went with friends to hear James Brown at Harlem's Apollo Theater. Other early influences included Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Elvis Presley, and the Beatles. Joel was deeply affected by the British invasion, so much so that he modeled his own budding style after the Beatles' Paul McCartney, "I idolized The Beatles, especially Paul - nobody could come up with the melodies he could".

On February 21st, 1964, Joel joined his first band, the Echos (in 1965 known as the Lost Souls, in 1966 The Memerald Loard), on the organ and vocals and began composing simplistic songs. "The first gig I did was when I was 15, in 1964. I played in a band at Holy Family Church in Hicksville. Girls who wouldn't look twice at me now liked me. At the end of the night, the priest came over and gave us $5 each. You got PAID for this stuff. That locked the backdoor. There was no way out for me. I was hooked." A short-term recording contract with Mercury Records was offered later, but nothing came of the demo versions of two of Joel's songs recorded by the band.

In late 1964, Billy was pressed into service by producer Shadow Morton, who was recording The Shangri-Las in a Levittown basement studio. Billy played on "Leader Of The Pack", but was never paid, since he wasn't a union member.

HasslesIn 1967, Joel and drummer Jonathan Small joined the Hassles (featuring John Dizek (vocals), Billy Joel (Keyboards), Jon Small (drums), Howie Blauvelt (bass) Richard McKenner (guitar)) another Long Island pop band with more exposure. At age 18, Joel's career was officially launched, though just barely. The group recorded two albums for United Artists that elicited a lukewarm reception from fans, The Hassles (1967) and Hour of the Wolf (1969). A non-LP single, Great Balls Of Fire (the Jerry Lee Lewis song by Jack Hammer-Otis Blackwell) b/w Travellin' Band (W.Joel). Produced by The Hassles, that release sunk without a trace, and The Hassles were disbanded.

AtillaYearning for something better than the "bubble-gum" rock produced by the group, Joel and Small left in 1969 to form the duo Attila. They released one "incredibly loud" self-titled album containing original songs (by W. Joel) Two singles from the album flopped: Every Step I Take, Every Move I Make b/w I Hear Voices and You've Got Me Hummin' b/w I'm Thinking. Billy later described the album as "psychedelic bullshit". Billy reportedly still loves Jimi Hendrix, but hates the album that was influenced by him. After Atilla, Billy worked as a rock journalist for Changes magazine and recorded a commercial for Bachmann's Pretzels with Chubby Checker. He occasionally billed himself as: Billy Joe Joel.

Discouraged both by the failure of his first attempts as a professional musician and the end of a serious romantic relationship, Joel slid into a depression that included a half-hearted attempt at suicide, by drinking half a bottle of furniture polish. A very brief self-imposed stay at a psychiatric hospital convinced him that his problems were minor. "I got out and the door closed behind me and I walked down the street and said, 'Oh, I'll never get that low again.' It was one of the best things I ever did, because I've never gotten to feel sorry for myself, no matter what's happened." Joel's 1985 song, 'You're Only Human,' would focus on the problem of teen suicide.

By the early 70s, Joel's solo career began.

Billy Joel - Cold Spring Harbor

1971...Deciding his future lay in writing songs for others, Joel began composing material for a demo album. He was soon signed to producer Artie Ripp's Family Productions, a Los Angeles label, and Joel moved to California to record his first solo album; Cold Spring Harbor. The album was technically inferior due to problems during the mastering stage of production; Joel's voice was speeded up and sounded "like a chipmunk." His association with Ripp would prove to be financially disastrous for the singer, who unfortunately signed away all publishing rights, copyrights, and royalties to his producer/manager for a period of 15 years. This deal reportedly cost millions to break later in Joel's career.

While on tour to promote Cold Spring Harbor, Joel performed 'Captain Jack' (a song about a rich young heroin addict), that indirectly gave him the break he needed. After hearing the song during Joel's set at the Mary Sol Rock Festival near San Juan, Puerto Rico, and later on East Coast FM radio stations, Columbia Records executive Clive Davis tracked Joel down, helped extricate him from his contract with Ripp, and signed him to the Columbia label.

1972...After a six-month tour to promote the ill-fated album, Joel married Elizabeth Weber, ex-wife of fellow Attila member Jon Small. Elizabeth would eventually manage her husband's career and become the model for many of his songs about women.

The Story Behind "Piano Man": "I knew it was just going to be a temporary gig." Working in a piano bar in on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles called the Executive Room using the name Martin Joel. "I was trying to get out of a bad contract I'd signed and get on a different record label. But at the time I said I don't believe that people do this for years and years and years and don't always have much hope of getting beyond playing in a piano bar. I said I gotta write a song about this because it was a true experience."

Billy Joel - Piano Man

1973...Piano Man was released in November and Joel again faced slow sales. The Album later sold well as Joel became more well-known and associated with the title track. The Album appropriately contained "Captain Jack," Joel's song about a rich young heroin addict.

"Piano Man" became Joel's first Top 40 hit single. "I was surprised the title song ['Piano Man'] was a hit. In a way, that's the story of any hit record I've had--they're all bizarre, strange, novelty numbers, and not particularly definitive of my work. . . . My problem is that people tend to define me in terms of my hits and may not know the substantive elements of my composition."

Because of its mellow, narrative style, "Piano Man" was immediately compared to Harry Chapin's "Cat's In the Cradle" and Don McLean's "American Pie." By the end of the year, Joel had been named Cash Box's best new male vocalist, and the album had been named record of the year by Stereo Review. Piano Man was eventually certified platinum. The single become synonymous with the singer, Joel selected it as the final song at all of his concerts for the next 20 years.

Billy Joel - Streetlife Serenade

1974...Streetlife Serenade, his follow-up to Piano Man, was released in October. With the exception of the single, "The Entertainer," the album was not a success. "Interesting musical ideas, but nothing to say lyrically," was how Joel explained the album's weaknesses in Entertainment Weekly. "I was trying to be Debussy in the title track--it didn't work."

After three years on the West Coast and the letdown following dismal sales of his third album, Joel and his wife returned to their roots in New York. Upon his return to New Your Joel wrote "New York State Of Mind."

Billy Joel - Turnstiles

1976...With his creative juices flowing Joel began working on his next album, Turnstiles. This was the first album Joel produced himself using musicians of his choosing, rather than those hired by Columbia executives. Joel recruited drummer Liberty DeVitto, bass player Doug Stegmeyer, and tenor saxophonist Richie Cannata, three men who would remain with Joel's backing band for years. Although Turnstiles, like its predecessor, was not a spectacular seller, the album contained good material, including 'New York State of Mind,' and "Say Goodbye To Hollywood."

Billy Joel - The Stranger

1977...Although Joel began to feel pressure from Columbia Records to record more than one album a year and to replicate his early success with Piano Man, he refused to produce formulaic music. Fortunately, he struck gold with his next album, The Stranger, released in September. Produced by Phil Ramone, the album was recorded during five weeks of enthusiastic studio sessions full of improvisations by Joel and his band.

In addition to the immense appeal of the title track, The Stranger included Joel's first Top 10 hit "Just the Way You Are," as well as the hit singles "She's Always a Woman," "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)," and "Only the Good Die Young."

The album went on to become Columbia/CBS's biggest seller prior to the release of Michael Jackson's Thriller, even surpassing Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water. The Stranger went on to sell over 9 million copies in the U.S.

Billy Joel - 52nd Street

1978...With public opinion high Joel released 52nd Street, in October. The music was very well received, and the first single, "My Life," zoomed to Number. The album became Joel's first to reach Number One and went on to sell over 7 millions of copies in the U.S., with other hits like "Big Shot" and "Honesty."

Billy Joel - Glass Houses

1980...In February, Joel released Glass Houses, his second platinum album, which heralded a change in the singer's image as a pop stylist. With New Wave replacing disco as the musical fad, Joel jumped on the bandwagon and created the album with more hard-hitting rock songs; Figuratively throwing stones at his image. With the singles "You May Be Right," "Sometimes a Fantasy" and his first #1 single "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" the album did well with commercial audiences (selling over 7 million copies in the U.S.) but left the critics cold.

Critics were relentless, and Joel's attempt to be taken seriously as a modern rock performer failed. Although he supposedly scorned the critics, he had a simultaneous need for their approval and was hurt by the critic's dismissal of Glass Houses. "I think there was a perception that I was trying to pose as a New Wave guy, and that wasn't in any way my intention. My intention was to write bigger stuff we could play in arenas."

Billy Joel - Songs In The Attic

1981...In September Columbia released the platinum-certified Songs In The Attic, a collection of new live recordings of material written in Joel's early days. The album included songs from Cold Spring Harbor that had never been properly recorded. Most noteworthy was "She's Got a Way," a classic love song that was largely overlooked until it was released as a single in late 1981. It reached the Top 25 in early 1982. Even today "She's Got a Way" is considered one of Joel's most famous ballads, and has been covered numerous times. The other single released from Songs in the Attic was "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" a dreamy ballad that was written by Joel as an ode to Ronnie Spector. It too was a huge hit and originally appeared on "Turnstiles."

Billy Joel - The Nylon Curtain

1982...Joel had already begun studio work on his next album when he was involved in a motorcycle accident; a woman in a car ran a red light and hit Billy Joel on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. His left wrist was broken and his hand badly damaged. When Billy Joel tells the story he says that the police officer on the scene read his license as "William Joel," put 2 & 2 together, and said, "Hey lady, you just ran over Billy Joel!" After the woman learned who she hit, she asked for his autograph. He offered to use his bleeding wrists to write her an autograph. Due to surgery, to insert a temporary pin, and a month in the hospital, production of the album was temporarily shut down while Joel recovered. An additional obstacle for the singer was the breakdown of his marriage to Weber, an event partially blamed on the stress created by Weber's management of her husband's career. By the end of 1982 the couple divorced. When she left, Joel's wife took half of the singer's assets with her.

Even with such personal tragedies, creating the music for the album proved to be difficult, "You're always in the desert looking for the oasis and all that's out there with you is the piano--this big black beast with 88 teeth . . . 50,000 packs of cigarettes later, you start getting it."

Billy Joel released The Nylon Curtain in September and although Joel's selling-streak start slowing, the album contained numerous favorites including "Pressure," "Allentown" the sobering message songs about the plight of unemployed Pennsylvania steel workers, as well as "Goodnight Saigon," a slow, mournful look at Vietnam and its veterans. Joel called The Nylon Curtain "the album of which I'm most proud." It was not as fun to make as Glass Houses because it was so difficult. "It was an ambitious undertaking--I wanted to create a masterpiece. I remember listening to 'Allentown' and thinking, 'This is good,' and that I had somehow created the feelings I had when I listened to Beatles albums."

Billy Joel - Aninnocent Man

1983...With "Allentown," Joel made his first transition from vinyl to video to promote his music and gained an even larger following. When An Innocent Man was released the MTV video era was in full swing and the upbeat album featured several studies in romance that lent themselves to an MTV format. Joel's girlfriend, supermodel Christie Brinkley, appeared in the hit video "Uptown Girl," the perfect counterpart to Joel's small-time tough-guy.

The album was Joel's tribute to and re-creation of some of the sounds of America's favorite pop stylists, including Little Anthony & the Imperials and Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons. It was also the last album on which Joel would use his tenor falsetto, "I knew it was the last time I was going to be able to hit certain notes. I was waving goodbye to the boy voice." Joel found multi-platinum success again with An Innocent Man which contained the hits "Tell Her About It," "Uptown Girl," "The Longest Time," "Keeping The Faith," and "Leave A Tender Moment Alone." The album sold over 7 million copies in the U.S.

1984...Billy Joel released his first concert video, "Billy Joel: Live From Long Island."

Billy Joel - Greatest Hits, Volume I & II (1973-1985)

1985...Joel married super model, Christie Brinkley, in March (it was Joel's second marriage). In June, Billy Joel released his biggest-selling album - Greatest Hits, Volumes I & II, a 2-album set of his hits. The collection has sold over 20 million copies in the U.S. and contained the new tracks "You're Only Human (Second Wind)" and "The Night Is Still Young." In August, Joel hit the Top 10 with "You're Only Human (Second Wind)." Joel ended the year with the birth of his daughter, Alexa Ray.

Billy Joel - The Bridge

1986...In July, Joel released his first studio album in three years, The Bridge; with the hits "Modern Woman," "This Is The Time" and the Top 10 hit "A Matter Of Trust." The album's highlight was the beautiful song "Temptation." Over all, the album fell flat with critics, fans, and Joel himself, "Not a happy album, I wasn't simpatico with the musicians, some of whom I'd been working with a long time. I don't think the material was good; I was pressured by management to put it out too fast. By the end, I sort of gave up caring, which for me was unusual."

Billy Joel - Kohuept

1987...Joel performed, to great acclaim, in Leningrad and Moscow in what is now the former Soviet Union. His Leningrad concert was broadcast via some 300-radio outlets. Both concerts were recorded and released in October as Kohuept, the Russian translation of "In Concert."

1988...On May 1st, Joel escaped punishment for defamation charges brought against him by Jack Powers, whom he had called a "creep" during an interview with Playboy. The judge cited the First Amendment and dropped all charges.

Billy Joel - Storm Front

1989...The triple-platinum comeback album, Storm Front, had a nautical theme; Joel, a seasoned sailor, spends much of his free time aboard a 36-foot fishing boat near his home in Easthampton, New York.

"We Didn't Start the Fire" quickly became a #1 hit along with the album itself. Joel received five Grammy nominations for the album and completed a 15-month world to tour to promote it. The tour, consisting of 174 shows in 16 countries, including a performance in Berlin the day after German reunification, included the first ever rock concert held in Yankee Stadium.

One of the reasons for Joel's frequent touring stints has been to earn money lost over the years as a result of mismanagement of his career. Joel has endured his share of legal problems dating back to his contract with Artie Ripp in 1971. In one case, Joel fired Frank Weber, his ex-brother-in-law and manager of nine years, and sued him for $90 million in 1989, citing fraud and misappropriation of funds. Although Joel was awarded $3 million, Weber filed for bankruptcy soon after the ruling. Weber counter-sued Joel for libel, but the case was dismissed.

1991...Billy Joel was nominated for 2 Grammy Awards for Producer of the Year (with Mick Jones) and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male for Storm Front and was awarded the Grammy Legend Award. Joel also was honored with an honorary doctorate from Fairfield University in Connecticut.

1992...Joel was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

On June 25th, 1992, Billy received his high school diploma. Twenty-five years earlier, he overslept and missed his English and gym finals.

Billy Joel - River of Dreams

1993...Four years after Storm Front, Joel released River Of Dreams, which debuted at #1 and stayed there for 3 weeks.

With an album cover painted by Christie Brinkley and a song, 'Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel)' dedicated to their daughter; the album seemed to be a family affair. In the spring of 1993 he and Brinkley announced their separation. Rumors that the split occurred because of Joel's constant absences while on tour surrounded the breakup, as well as rumors of Christy being unfaithful in his absence.

May 10, 1993 Joel received an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Joel summarized his long career: "People think I'm this pop miester who just churns out these hit singles. But I don't view myself as being frozen in cement. And the songs that are the singles do not necessarily represent the sum and substance of my work. People think that I'm 'Just the Way You Are,' and 'Uptown Girl.' OK, I did write those songs, but I wrote many, many more."

A $10 million lawsuit was brought against Joel in 1993 by an aspiring songwriter who claimed Joel stole his material and parlayed it into three hit songs. Joel's statement on the matter was simple: "This is another example of why struggling songwriters can't get anybody, including me, to listen to their songs."

1994...River Of Dreams was certified multi-platinum by the spring of 1994. "I always thought it was written in stone that you had your era--and that was it. Rock is a cannibalizing business--it eats its own. I was hip for about a second in the '70s. But here we are. I'm 44. It's 20 years since 'Piano Man,' and I have a No. 1 album. That's not supposed to happen."

Billy Joel was nominated for 4 Grammy Awards for Album of the Year (River Of Dreams), Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, Song of the Year, and Record Of The Year (all for "The River Of Dreams). Joel was also awarded the Billboard Century Music Award. In the summer, Joel went on tour with Elton John for 14 performances in the U.S. During the year, Joel also divorced Christie Brinkley.

Billy Joel - Greatest Hits, Volume III

1997...In July it was announced that Elton John and Billy Joel would be appearing live together again with an 8-month world tour 1998. In the meantime, Billy Joel fans were treated to the August 19th release of Billy Joel's Greatest Hits, Volume III. The album contains 3 new tracks including an unreleased Bob Dylan song, "To Make You Feel My Love." In September, Joel said he might be saying good-bye to rock 'n roll. Joel told Rolling Stones magazine that he had originally started out with an interest in learning classical music and begin studying it at the age of 4. But when Joel turned 13, " . . . this hot seductress in shredded fishnet stockings swept me away . . . I had a passionate affair with rock 'n roll." Now at 48, Joel has decided to stop writing pop and rock music for a while.

1998...Concerning the "Face To Face" world tour with Elton John, Joel told CNN, "I'm not going to say that it's the end of something. But I don't think I'm going to do any more long tours after this tour." Performances with Elton John, Joel said, "It's fun, because I'm looking across all this piano. I've got my piano and then there's his piano and at the other end of it, there's Elton John. So I'm not only a musician, I'm a fan on stage enjoying the show. I've got the closest seat in the house to Elton John."

In June, Joel cancelled a few concerts due to "acute asthma" from an upper respiratory infection, "In the old days I could scream and punch my way through it, but now it wouldn't be fair to the fans." In August it was announced that Joel would have to postpone the fall portion of his tour due to recurring throat problems. He stated, "my doctor is encouraged by the progress I've made, but he wants to be sure that I am 100% before I step out on stage again."

1999...In January, Billy Joel was honored with the Award of Merit at the American Music Awards. The award has the inscription: Because his inspired song-writing skills, musical arrangements, vocals, keyboard prowess and exciting showmanship have raised the piano man's art to a new level, the American Music Award of Merit is presented to Billy Joel.

On March 15th, Joel was inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Ray Charles, and said of the honor, "I've had the most amazing life, and it's mostly because of rock and roll music."

March 16th, 1999, Billy Joel was among a handful of artists to receive the first ever RIAA's (Recording Industry Association of Artists) Diamond Award, given to artists who's album sold more than 10 million copies. Billy Joel received the "Diamond Award" for Greatest Hits Volume I & Volume II.

Joel rang in the new year at Madison Square Garden in New York on New Year's Eve with a 3+ hour concert: "This way, I will be able to include some songs never before performed in public, and some only played once or twice."

Billy Joel - 2000 Years-Millennium Concert

2000...In May, Joel released 2000 Years - The Millennium Concert.

In August, Greatest Hits, Volumes 1 and 2 was certified 21x platinum. In November, Rolling Stone and MTV presented 'The 100 Greatest Pop Songs' with "Just The Way You Are" at #60.

On October 21st, Billy Joel performed the "Star-Spangled Banner" before a sold-out crowd at New York's Yankee Stadium, to open the city's first Subway World Series, since 1956.

Billy Joel - Fantasies & Delusions

2001...Joel and Elton John teamed up and hitting the concert circuit together again with the "Face 2 Face Tour".

October 2, Joel released the long-awaited classical album "Fantasies & Delusions." The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top Classical Albums, with first week's sales of more than 14,000 units. The album - comprised of music compositions by Billy Joel and performed by piano virtuoso Richard Joo. It also debuted at #83 on the overall Top 200 Album Sales chart.

"I look in the mirror and say, 'Well, you ain't Cary Grant, but you ain't in the junkyard, either.' But I'm happy with my life. Very happy. It's nothing at all like I pictured it would be."
















Here's the short version from Lycos music . . .
 

b. William Martin Joel, 9 May 1949, the Bronx, New York City, New York, USA. Joel, a classically-trained pianist who grew up in Long Island, joined his first group, the Echoes, in 1964. Three years later he left them in favour of the Hassels, a popular Long Island act signed to United Artists Records. Joel appeared on both of their albums, The Hassels and Hour Of The Wolf, before breaking away with drummer Jon Small to form Attila. The duo completed a self-titled album before moving in separate directions. A demo of Joel's original compositions led to the release of his 1971 debut, Cold Spring Harbor, but its progress was marred by insufficient promotion. However, when "Captain Jack", a new song recorded for a radio broadcast, became an "underground" hit, Columbia Records traced Joel to California and signed him to a long-term contract. The title track to Piano Man, became a US Top 30 single in 1973 and sowed the seeds of a highly successful recording career. However, Joel refused to bow to corporate demands for commercially-minded material and despite enjoying hits with two subsequent albums, Streetlife Serenade and Turnstiles, it was not until 1977 that his fortunes flourished with the release of The Stranger, which eventually surpassed Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water as Columbia's bestselling album. Its best-known track, the US Top 5 hit "Just The Way You Are", later won two Grammy Awards for Song Of The Year and Record Of The Year. This romantic ballad has since become a standard, and was a major UK hit for Barry White in 1978. Joel's 1979 album, 52nd Street, spawned another smash single, "My Life" while the singer's first US number 1, "It's Still Rock 'N' Roll To Me" came from a subsequent release, Glass Houses. Joel's image as a popular, uncontroversial figure was shaken with The Nylon Curtain, which featured two notable "protest" compositions, "Allentown" and "Goodnight Saigon". However he returned to simpler matters in 1984 with An Innocent Man, which included the US number 1 "Tell Her About It" and the effervescent bestseller "Uptown Girl", a tribute to his then wife, model Chrissie Brinkley. This memorable single topped the UK charts and confirmed the artist's status as an international performer. Further transatlantic hits from the album included the title track, "The Longest Time", "Leave A Tender Moment Alone", and "Keeping The Faith".

Although his output from the mid-80s onwards has been less prolific, Joel has continued to score the occasional hit single, maintaining his standing in the pop world. Most notable of these were the US Top 10 hits "You're Only Human (Second Wind)", "Modern Woman" and "A Matter Of Trust', 1989"s US chart-topper "We Didn't Start The Fire', and 1993"s "River Of Dreams'. In 1990 he won the Grammy's Living Legends Award, and the following year was awarded an honorary doctorate at Fairfield University, Connecticut. Further awards included Billboard"s Century Award in 1994 and induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1999.

Joel's back catalogue continues to sell in thousands and by the turn of the new millennium many had reached multi-platinum status in the USA. He is also the third bestselling solo artist in US recording history, behind Garth Brooks and Elton John. A perfectionist by nature, he also indicated a desire to pursue a wider musical style, and in 1997 announced that he would not be writing any pop songs in the foreseeable future, concentrating instead on classical scores. His first classical release, Fantasies & Delusions, was performed by pianist Richard Joo. In 2002, Emmy Award-winning director Twyla Tharp conceived, choreographed and directed Movin' Out, a dance-theatre production based on 24 Joel songs. The show moved to Broadway in October.

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