Music facts, music trivia, interesting stories and much more. Introducing the "Did You Know" page about American singer, songwriter, pianist and composer, Billy Joel.
Billy Joel (real name: William Martin Joel) is an American singer, songwriter, pianist and composer. Joel is commonly nicknamed the "Piano Man", and has been making music since the 1960s, during all this time releasing popular and successful albums throughout the 1970s-1990s.
When Billy Joel was 21 years old, his band broke up and his girlfriend left him. All this caused him to try and kill himself by drinking furniture polish. After the incident, Joel checked himself into a hospital for depression, which he later said was a great experience, since he saw people who had far worse problems and learned to stop feeling sorry for himself.
Another interesting fact about Billy Joel is that he was also a boxer for 3 years. He broke his nose, but was crowned local welterweight champ of Hicksville in 1964. When Billy Joel was already in the music industry, many critics trashed him during the 1970s. Joel used to tear up those reviews onstage.
In 1971, Billy Joel released his debut album as a solo artist, signing a record deal with Family Productions and releasing the album Cold Spring Harbor. In 1977, Joel released his fifth album, The Stranger, which was his breakthrough album. The album became Columbia's best-selling release, selling more than 10 million copies and having several hit singles, including "Just the Way You Are" and "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)."
During the 20 years of Joel's solo career, he produced 33 Top 40 hits in the US, all of which he wrote himself, three of which ("We Didn't Start the Fire", "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me", "Tell Her About It") topping the charts.
Joel was nominated 23 time for the Grammy Award and has won it 5 times. He has sold more than 150 million records all over the world, which makes him one of the best-selling artists of all time, and the sixth best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in the US. Joel's 1985 compilation album, Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2, is one of the best-selling albums in the US.
In 1992, Billy Joel was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, in 1999 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2006 he was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. In 2001, Joel received the Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and in 2013, he received the Kennedy Center Honors, which is the nation's highest honor for influencing American culture through the arts.
Billy Joel wrote the lyrics of the song "We Didn't Start The Fire" first, which he rarely does. He says that this is why this song has no melody.
According to Billy Joel, the song is terrible musically, and sounds like a mosquito buzzing around your head. "We Didn't Start The Fire" is a very popular song, although Joel admitted that he doesn't consider this song to be one of his favorites.
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