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Billy Joel

As a Long Island, N.Y. teenager, Billy Joel was torn between boxing and music as career paths when the sight of The Beatles on Ed Sullivan made the decision for him. He dropped out of high school and joined a local band called The Echoes, and went on to do club and studio work with several outfits, honing his instrumental and writing skills. After much self-reinvention and repackaging as a singer/songwriter, he started to attract a following in the early '70s when his recording of "Captain Jack" started getting airplay. With his contract to a struggling label soon bought out by Columbia, his career took off with 1973's Piano Man, which was followed by a series of successful, multi-hit albums throughout the '70s and early '80s. Since then he's worked in styles from new wave to doo-wop, but always retained his flair for the catchy pop melody. Presented with a Living Legend Grammy award in 1991, Joel continues to tour, record and find appreciative audiences.

Written by: Mary Eisenhart

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