It took a while for Billy Joel’s career to start – six years and four albums. But once it took off, it didn’t stop. Joel spent the early part of the 1970s as a singer who wrote about what he knew: New York City, girls, love. He scored a minor but critical hit in 1973 with ‘Piano Man,’ which became his signature song. But it wasn’t until 1977’s ‘The Stranger’ that his records started selling in the millions and topping the charts. His next two albums went to No. 1; so did a pair in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, right around the time he retired from making pop records (though he still tours regularly and released an album of classical songs since). He got tough (1980’s ‘Glass Houses’), political (1982’s ‘The Nylon Curtain’) and nostalgic (1983’s ‘An Innocent Man’). But Joel is at his best singing about the loves of his life.
50 Years Ago: Billy Joel Begins March to Stardom With 'Piano Man'
Even the most distinguished career has to start somewhere.
Billy Joel Confirms Final Madison Square Garden Show Date
Concert will be his 150th at the esteemed New York City venue.
How Billy Joel Followed Up His Breakthrough With '52nd Street'
It had taken him more than half a decade – and five albums – to finally catch a break.
Why Do So Many People Hate 'We Didn’t Start the Fire'?
Decades later the loathing still burns.
30 Years Ago: Billy Joel Suddenly Says Goodbye to Rock
By all appearances, he seemed happy and fulfilled. 'River of Dreams' told a different story.
When Billy Joel Returned to His Youth on 'An Innocent Man'
He was single and famous for the first time in his life.
How Billy Joel Wrote 'The River of Dreams' in Spite of Himself
It came to him in a dream, and it took root in the shower.
Why Billy Joel Wanted to Be Diana Ross on 'Tell Her About It'
The Supremes and a supermodel played a role in the 1983 hit.
Hear Fall Out Boy's Updated Version of 'We Didn't Start the Fire'
Billy Joel's 1989 hit gets revamped with three more decades of history.
Billy Joel to End Madison Square Garden Residency in July 2024
Singer-songwriter has been performing at the historic venue once a month since 2014.