Billy Joel’s Career Highlights

  • Billy Joel’s inspiration to get into music was watching The Beatles’ performance on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964.
  • In 1963, Joel joined his first band, The Echoes.
  • In 1971, Joel signed a solo recording contract and released his first studio album, Cold Spring HarborLISTEN
  • Also in 1971, Billy moved to the West Coast where he performed in various piano bars under the alias Bill Martin.
  • Joel signed a contract with Columbia Records in 1972. After three years in LA, Joel called the expedition in California “time that he now regrets.” He returned to New York in 1976.
  • After releasing the album Piano Man in 1973, the song “Piano Man” became Joel’s first Top-20 single.
  • From its release in 1977, Joel’s album The Stranger was Columbia Records’ biggest selling album until 1985.  LISTEN
  • Released in 1978, 52nd Street sold seven million copies and went to No. 1 on the charts with three Top-25 hits: “My Life,” “Big Shot” andHonesty.”
  • In 1980, “It’s Still Rock & Roll to Me” became his first No. 1 single.  WATCH VIDEO
  • Also in 1980, Joel won an American Music Award for Album of the Year.
  • Along with picking up a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Male Pop Performer, Joel won the Best Male Rock Vocal Performance at the 1981 Grammy Awards.
  • In 1981, Billy released Songs in the Attic which became his fourth straight Top-10 album.
  • He had his second No. 1 hit in 1983 with the single, “Tell Her About It” off the album An Innocent Man.
  • Billy welcomed daughter Alexa Ray with then wife Christie Brinkley on Dec. 29, 1985.
  • Joel’s Greatest Hits Vo1. 1 and 2 in 1985 proved to be his best-selling album. It sold 11.5 million copies and went double diamond.
  • Joel had a third song hit No. 1 on the charts in 1989 with “We Didn’t Start the Fire” hit No. 1.  WATCH VIDEO
  • In 1991, Joel was presented with the Grammy Legend Award.
  • In 1993, Billy toured with Elton John for a summer stadium tour across the U.S.
  • Joel was awarded the Billboard Century Award in 1994.
  • In 1998, Joel’s world-wide sales surpassed the 100-million unit mark.
  • In 1999, Billy Joel was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Ray Charles.  WATCH VIDEO
  • In 2002, Billy’s music was featured in Twayla Tharp’s Broadway musical Movin’ Out and in 2003; Joel won a Tony Award for Best Orchestrations.  WATCH VIDEO
  • Joel sold out a record 12 concerts at Madison Square Garden in 2006. The string of sold-out concerts earned him a banner in the hallowed ceiling of the World’s Most Famous Arena.
  • Joel released his single, “All My Life” in 2007 to mark his first single in 13 years.
  • On Dec. 5, 2013, Madison Square Garden announced that Billy Joel would become the first-ever music franchise of “The World’s Most Famous Arena.”
  • This past December, Billy Joel received the Kennedy Centers Honors.  WATCH TRIBUTE

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