Billy Joel

William Martin "Billy" Joel ( born May 9, 1949 in the Bronx, New York City ) is an American singer, pianist and songwriter.


Billy Joel was born on May 9, 1949 as the second child of Rosalind Howard and Joel in the Bronx and grew up in Levittown, a suburb of Hicksville, on the island of Long Iceland, New York.

His mother was born as Rosalind Nyman in the UK. His father came as Helmut Joel in Nuremberg to the world and was the son of Karl Amson Joel, who was forced into exile with his family in 1938 by Nazi Germany. 1947 Billy Joel's parents were married, and in the same year his older sister was born. In 1960, when Billy Joel was eleven years old, his parents divorced. He stayed with his mother while his father returned to Europe and settled in Vienna. From the closed there second marriage to an Englishwoman comes Joel, born in 1971 half-brother, the conductor Alexander Joel.

1973 Joel married his manager Elizabeth Weber; They were divorced in 1982. From 1985 to 1994 he was married to Christie Brinkley, with whom he has born in 1985 daughter Alexa Ray Joel. In October 2004, the then 55 -year-old Joel married the 23 -year-old restaurant critic Katie Lee. In June 2009, the couple announced their separation.

Musical Career

As a child, Billy Joel lover was classical music and took piano lessons. At 15, he began playing in rock bands, including the well-known on Long Iceland group, The Hassles, with Joel the two albums The Hassles and Hour of the Wolf recorded 1967-1968. A year later, Billy Joel played with Jon Small under the name Attila a rock record one. He also worked in the late 1960s as a studio musician various renowned artists such as Chubby Checker and The Shangri -Las and performed under the stage name Billy Martin on in piano bars. 1970 met the musicians know the music producer Artie Ripp. This helped Joel to his debut album, Cold Spring Harbor, its commercial success, however, failed to materialize. The master tapes were not transferred after the final mix at the proper speed. In addition, Joel was after the release of their debut album in a dispute with his former record label, Family Productions, of which the artist wanted to separate because of the poor pay and conditions. While Joel claims to be again under the pseudonym Bill Martin in various bars "hidden", tried his new agency contract with Columbia Records Family Productions to solve, which eventually succeeded in 1972.

Along with Columbia released the album Piano Man Joel in 1973, in the title piece, he deals with his own past as a bar musician and that was so successful that the musicians got the nickname in reference to the title of " Piano Man ". By its second plate Joel also get first major placements in the U.S. charts, but the two successor albums Streetlife Serenade and Turnstiles You could not quite match the success of the album, especially the single piano for the time being. With the 1977 released studio album The Stranger Joel made ​​the big breakthrough. The piece contained therein Just the Way You Are was honored at the 1979 Grammy Awards for "Song of the Year", the plate itself reached platinum status. This success is also attributed to his collaboration with producer Phil Ramone, which lasted a total of nearly ten years.

The published 1978 album 52nd Street was the first album of the musician, took the number one on the Billboard album charts; Joel was awarded two Grammy Awards again. 1982 also wrote the plate music history, when it was published as the first pop album of the Sony catalog on the new CD format.

As the first American rock star Billy Joel was incorporated in 1987 in the Soviet Union on tour. The six-part series of concerts (Russian: concert ) the live album Концерт brought forth inspired him to title Leningrad. For the accompanying album Storm Front from 1989 first appeared Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones in place of producer Ramone. The biggest hit of the album was We Did not Start the Fire, whose text contains important events, people and objects, which (especially U.S. ) History 1949-1989. This song was number one in the U.S. charts and was nominated for a Grammy.

Even four years later released album River of Dreams gave Joel big successes, including another four Grammy nominations. In 1994 he started together with Elton John a tour together under the title " Face to Face". In the following years, Billy Joel, occurring primarily through community projects and charity concerts in appearance. In March 1999, the artist was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On 31 December 1999, he appeared at New York's Madison Square Garden. The concert was released on the double album 2000 Millennium Concert. In addition, there were 1998 and 2001 sequels to the "Face to Face Tour" with Elton John.

2006 Joel was on a tour that him on June 29 (Hamburg) and 2 July 2006 ( Frankfurt) for the first time also led to Germany for two concerts for twelve years. During the tour the musicians came twelve times in a row at the sold-out Madison Square Garden, which has never been achieved before him someone. The twelve performances have been released as a cross-section in June 2006 on the live album 12 Gardens. As a conclusion of the Europe part of the tour he and Bryan Adams played on 31 July 2006 at a free concert in front of the Colosseum in Rome.

On 7 February 2007 appeared with All My Life after more than ten years back a new single by Joel. In December of the same year, another new song was released of him with Christmas in Fallujah, but he does not sing itself. The song, which deals with the situation of American soldiers in Iraq and is based on their correspondence with their families in the home, meant to be sung by a younger singer in the opinion of Joel. As a performer he chose the young American songwriter Cass Dillon. In 2008, Joel his American tour continues. The climax presented two concerts on 16 and 18 July 2008 in New York Shea Stadium dar. Guests could he be welcomed, among others, Paul McCartney and Steven Tyler.

Since January 27, 2014 Joel meets once a month at Madison Square Garden in New York. The first four shows were sold out immediately. If the demand for the 20,000 tickets persists, the guest will be held over the years.


Studio albums


  • The Act Joel aka The Joel Files, Documentary. Director: Beate Thalberg. Billy Joel's German - Jewish family history of D / A 2001

Pictures of Billy Joel