If you don’t know a single Bill Joel song, and most of the words to it, you must have been living on another planet for the last 40 years. In 1973 he released his first single ‘Piano Man,’ which has also become his ‘nom de plume.’ Joel has not released a new and original pop album since 1993. He says the reason is simpler than his fans may want to believe; he’s said all that he wants to say.
Joel is on a concert tour. It began with a sellout in June at Madison Square Garden. He followed with nine more sold out concerts including three more at the Garden. His next will once again be in New York on November 25th, and, you guessed it, it’s sold out. In fact the final three this year have no available tickets. He will play at University Park in Pennsylvania on December 5th, finishing back at the Garden on December 18th. Joel lives on Long Island and is now 65-years-old. He agreed to play the East Coast tour allowing him to be home as much as possible.
His concerts are comprised of hits from his 12 original albums. From his first major hit, ‘Just the Way You Are,’ to the enormous success of his next to last effort in 1989 with the release of ‘Storm Front,’ containing, ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire,’ and ‘Innocent Man,’ nearly the entire audience can be viewed singing along with Joel. His final album, ‘River of Dreams,’ also contained his last big single hit, ‘All About Soul.’
Joel said that a lot of people believe his reason for not releasing an original album in 21 years is because he’s lazy. He denies the assumption. He said he believes that a new album would sell simply because it was a Billy Joel album. But he also said he wouldn’t want to create anything which wasn’t very good.
His well-publicized personal problems with drugs and alcohol in the early 2000’s are also a reason he has chosen to not reveal more of his private life. His recollection of the press analyzing every word of every song after his divorce with model and actress Christie Brinkley is not something he wishes to repeat.
Although Brinkley, who is now 60, told a publicist that she continues to be very fond of the singer/song writer, she also notes that she couldn’t live with him.
As for Joel, his third marriage ended in 2009, and he says he’s in no hurry to become involved in a new relationship in the near future.
By James Turnage