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Billy Joel: The legendary “Piano Man” turns 75

Billy Joel: The legendary “Piano Man” turns 75

In the 70s and 80s, the US musician Billy Joel was one of the biggest rock stars in the world – then he dropped out. He turns 75 on May 9th.

On the 75th birthday of the US musician Billy Joel, the question that is often asked on such occasions as to whether it is not time to disappear into a well-deserved rock ‘n’ roll pension is superfluous in an extremely relaxed way. After all, the artist, who was born on May 9, 1949 in New York City, is one of the most famous early retirees in music history.

Meteoric career spanning two decades

After a meteoric career that made him one of the greatest American songwriters of the 70s with songs like “Piano Man”, “New York State of Mind” and “She’s Always a Woman” and in the 80s with super hits like “Uptown Girl “, “We Didn’t Start the Fire” and “Leningrad” reached a second peak, he released a brilliant last studio album called “River of Dreams” in 1993 and then, at the tender age of 44, largely hung up his previous rock star life on the Nail.

Exit at the height of fame

From a financial perspective, the extremely successful “Piano Man” had long since taken care of things financially. As Joel has since repeatedly asserted in various interviews, his surprising exit had purely artistic reasons. As he admitted in 2014: “Some people think I’m lazy or just stubborn. But no, I think it’s just that I’ve said it all.” And added: “If I put out an album now it would probably sell pretty well because of who I am, but that’s no reason to do it. I would want it to be good. And I’ve seen artists on this treadmill, releasing albums year after year, and the albums get worse and worse, less and less interesting, and you think, ‘Maybe you should stop.'”

Clean classical music instead of dirty rock ‘n’ roll

In one, Billy Joel had already confirmed a few years earlier that he had not written any songs since 1993. Instead of constantly coming up with new lyrics, he concentrated on composing classic instrumental pieces. In his performance, he returned to his musical origins after two turbulent decades as a rock star. He described his relationship to rock ‘n’ roll in the following parable: “First I was in love with the nice girl next door. That was classical music. Then came this bitch in fishnet stockings and torn shoes who seduced me and into the distance “That was rock ‘n’ roll. Now that I’m older, I find the nice girl next door very sexy again.”

However, the ex-pop star was not interested in developing a further career path from his rediscovered passion for classical music. In 2001, he surprised his fan base with an album called “Fantasies & Delusions”, on which he had the British-Korean pianist Hyung-ki Joo (51) record solo piano pieces he had composed himself. After that, he hasn’t released another album to this day.

Mammoth monthly gigs at Madison Square Garden

Billy Joel went into rock’n’roll retirement with impressive consistency, but he didn’t want to say goodbye to the big stage completely. In 2006, after a twelve-year absence, he went on tour again, where he promptly managed to fill Madison Square Garden in New York, which had a capacity of around 20,000 spectators, twelve times in a row, something no other artist had ever achieved before. Since 2014, Joel has been performing reliably once a month in the legendary concert arena to a sold-out crowd. , he sold 1.6 million tickets for these shows through 2023, generating over $200 million in revenue.

Retiree joy in warm Florida

At the end of 2023, the singing multimillionaire announced that he wanted to end this concert series after 10 years with his 150th concert in July 2024. A little later he revealed that for the last five concerts, contrary to his previous habit, he would not be flying from his property on Long Island to the venue in his own helicopter, but would be traveling by train for the sake of better grounding.

, the “Piano Man” wants to part with his New York villa on Oyster Bay, which he has lived in since 2002, after the conclusion of his residency concert series. However, the fact that he is selling the property for around $50 million does not mean that he is leaving New York – after all, he still has another small house on Long Island. However, given his advanced age, he now wants to dedicate himself even more seriously than before to his happy retirement. “I’m just going to spend a little more time in Florida,” Joel said, “like old Jewish boys from Long Island do.”

Source: Stern

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