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Billy Joel's Biography

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William Martin "Billy" Joel (born May 9, 1949) is an American rock musician, singer-songwriter, and classical composer.

Since releasing his first hit song, "Piano Man", in 1973, Joel has become the sixth best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in the United States, according to the RIAA. He is also a six-time Grammy Award winner, a 23-time Grammy nominee and has sold over 100 million records worldwide.

He was inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame (1992), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1999), and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (2006). Joel "retired" from recording pop music in 1993 but continues to tour (often with Elton John).

Childhood and Early Life

Joel was born in the year 1949 and raised in the Levitto wn section of Hicksville, New York. His father, Howard (born Helmut), was born in Germany as the son of German-Jewish merchant and manufacturer Karl Amson Joel who after the advent of the Nazi regime emigrated to Switzerland and later to the United States.

Billy Joel's mother, Rosalind Nyman, was born in England to a Jewish family (Philip and Rebecca Nyman). His parents divorced in 1960, and his father moved to Vienna, Austria.

Billy has a sister, Judith Joel, and a half-brother, Alexander Joel, who is an acclaimed classical conductor in Europe, currently chief musical director of the Staatstheater Braunschweig.


Upon seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, Joel decided to pursue a full-time musical career, and set about finding a local Long Island band to join. Eventually he found the Echoes, a group that specialized in British Invasion covers.

The Echoes became a popular New York attraction, convincing him to leave high school to become a professional musician. He began playing for the Echoes when he was 14 years old.


Joel married his business manager, Elizabeth Weber Small, on September 5, 1973. They divorced on July 20, 1982. Joel married Christie Brinkley on March 23, 1985. Joel and Brinkley divorced on August 25, 1994, although the couple remained friendly. On October 2, 2004, Joel married 23-year-old Katie Lee.

At the time of the wedding, Joel was 55. Joel's daughter, Alexa Ray, then 18, served as maid-of-honor. Joel's second wife, Christie Brinkley, attended the union and gave the couple her blessing.

By FW Editor

Tags: musician, rock, composer

Category: Others  - ( Others Archive)

Date Added: 05 March '10

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