Happy Birthday to the Piano Man himself, Billy Joel!
Billy Joel is celebrating his 74th birthday today, May 9. He was born on this day in 1949 in the Bronx, New York and raised alongside a cousin whom his parents adopted. Joel’s father was a trained pianist, if you’re wondering where Joel gets his talent from. It runs in the family.
And even though he resisted learning piano when his mother tried to make him, Joel ultimately decided to take up a career in music. But it wasn’t because of his father. It was after Joel saw the Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show that he knew he wanted to be a musician (wikipedia.org).
Joel joined his first band was when he was just 16 years old. They were called The Echoes and they started performing together in 1965. Between 1965 and 1970, Joel played with numerous bands, but never saw success with any of them. Even his first solo album (Cold Spring Harbor, 1971) was a commercial flop.
But ol’ Billy sure has a lot to celebrate now. His solo debut album flop may have just been the catalyst for his incredible career. After the disappointment of the album, Joel took up a job in L.A. playing piano. He penned Piano Man based on that experience. And he’s been a household name ever since.
Between 1971 and 1993, Joel released 12 studio albums. Including 33 Top-40 hits that he wrote himself. He’s in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, and the Long Island music Hall of Fame. Joel has been nominated for 23 Grammy awards and has won six. He has also received the Johnny Mercer award and the Kennedy Center Honors.
Joel is one of the most-beloved singer songwriters of our time. So have a drink for the Piano Man today. And check out these fun facts you may not have known about the birthday boy. – Wendy Rush