RISMEDIA, May 9, 2007-William Martin Joel, better known as Billy Joel, was born on May 9, 1949, in the Bronx, New York. Known for his singing, piano playing, and song-writing, Billy Joel is the sixth best selling artist in the United States, according the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). His first hit song, “Piano Man,” made its debut in 1973.
Did you know the following about this award-winning musician?
– Once performed on the Canadian children’s show You Can’t Do That On Television.
– At the age of 14, Joel joined his first band, The Echoes (which later became The Lost Souls)
– He has a banner in the rafters of the Times Union Center, Nassau Coliseum, Madison Square Garden, Wachovia Center, and Hartford Civic Center in Hartford.
– Billy Joel’s height is 5’5″.
– Joel attended Hicksville High School, and was to have graduated in 1967. However, he was one English credit short of the graduation requirement; he overslept on the day of an important exam due to his late-night musician’s lifestyle. He left high school without a diploma to begin a career in music. In 1992, the English credit requirement was waived by the Hicksville School Board and he received his diploma at Hicksville High’s graduation ceremony 25 years after he left the school.
– Billy Joel was one of the singers of the song We Are the World in 1985, although he has admitted that he personally dislikes the song.
– Was the first to perform a concert at Yankee Stadium in New York City
– Provided both the voice and singing voice for the character Dodger in the Disney full-length animated feature Oliver & Company alongside Cheech Marin, Richard Mulligan, Dom DeLuise, Robert Loggia, Bette Midler and Joey Lawrence, among others.
– During the 1994 Grammy Award Show, the director cut short Frank Sinatra’s acceptance speech for receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award. During Billy’s performance of ‘River of Dreams’, at the interim pause in the song, Billy extended it, looked at the celebrity audience with a grin while pretending to check his watch and said, “valuable advertising time going by…dollars…dollars…dollars.” which was met with laughter from the audience.
– Broadway’s Movin’ Out (2002), is a musical based on 24 Billy Joel songs which was a smash hit on Broadway from 2002 to 2005 (last Broadway show was on December 11, 2005). Joel was composer, lyricist, and orchestrator and won a Tony Award for Best Orchestrations.