Billy Joel Facts: We Bet You Didn't Know This About The Musician...

Christian Mba
Jan 25, 2024 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Dec 14, 2021
Bill Joel facts will help you know more about the classical pianist who simply loved to play the piano.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.0 Min

Did you know that the actual name of Billy Joel is William Martin Joel?

Billy Joel was born on May 9, 1949, in Bronx, New York City. He is known as a famous songwriter, music composer, and singer who enjoys great popularity even today.

He's been working as a successful solo artist in the industry since the 1970s. Billy has released 13 studio albums and is considered one of the all-time best-selling artists. All over the United States of America, Billy has been ranked seventh among the bestseller artists in recording and the fourth bestseller artist with hit singles. In 1985, he created a compilation music album namely 'Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2'. His album became one of the most selling albums in the US.

Billy Joel writes songs in different genres. Rock and pop music are his forte, however, he can not really read music. Billy Joel has had four spouses. Most recently, he married Alexis Roderick in 2015.

After reading about the life of the Grammy Legend Award-winning artist, also check Billie Eilish facts and Adam Lambert facts.

Fun Facts About Billy Joel

By Rolling Stone, Billy Joel was named among the top 100 all-time favorites and the greatest songwriters.

From his first album 'Cold Spring Harbor' which was released in 1971, 'Rivers of Dreams' which is one of his most recent albums released in 1993, Billy has written and recorded 114 songs that were released in 12 studio albums.  In addition to these,  Billy has also released seven hit singles written and composed by himself.

The first song that was written and recorded by Billy Joel was 'Piano Man'. After the release of this song, he was nicknamed 'Piano Man'. The song became his first-ever hit in the top 40.

Even after retiring as a lyrics writer and music composer, Billy still performs at Madison Square Garden quite frequently. He has also set a lifetime record of the maximum number of performances by an artist.

The first rock concert at New York’s Yankee Stadium was played by him in 1990. Billy Joel has sold about 150 million records, if not more. However, Billy couldn’t break the record of Elton John who has sold above 200 million albums all over the world.

Billy Joel’s Accomplishments

In the 20 years of Joel's career in music, he has written and produced a total of 33 hits ranked in the top 40 of the United States.

To date, Billy Joel has been nominated for the Grammy Legend Awards 23 times. Out of which, he has won five Grammy Legend Awards that included the 'Album of the Year' for his album '52nd Street'. Billy Joel was honored in the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (2006), as well as in the 1992 edition of the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

His name was also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame of 1999. In the Songwriters Hall of Fame of 2001, he was bestowed with the 'Johnny Mercer Award'. Since the beginning of Billy Joel’s solo career,  he has been a part of various tours, performing live in countries all across the world. He even held a rock music tour in the Soviet Union in 1987, becoming one of the first artists to do so.

Billy Joel received an Honorary Doctorate from Syracuse University.

Billy Joel’s Musical Career

Joel was influenced by early rock and roll. Pop music groups like 'The Beatles' were his inspiration to begin his career in music. When he was 16, Billy Joel joined a music group, 'the Echoes', and began recording in 1965.

Joel played piano in a demo version of the song 'Leader of the Pack'. The version became a hit for the Shangri-Las. In 1972, Joel recorded his first album as a solo singer 'Cold Spring Harbor' produced by Family Productions. In 1982, his song album, '52nd Street', became the first commercial album that was released in the compact disc format which was quite fresh and famous in those times.

'Oliver & Company' was an animated film for kids. The film was released by Disney in November 1988. The film featured Billy Joel as a voice behind the character Dodger. In 1990, Billy Joel was awarded a Grammy Legend Award for his contribution to the world of music. Joel was a part of an extensive tour with Elton John. The series of tours was named 'Face to Face'. The tour began in 1994.

In 2019, marking the first-ever music concert at a baseball stadium, Joel made the announcement of his concert at Camden Yards, which was home to the Baltimore Orioles. Because of the widespread COVID-19 pandemic, he reluctantly had to postpone the concerts that were supposed to be held in 2020 to an indefinite date.

Facts About Billy Joel’s Education

When he was four years old, Billy's mom, Rosalind Joel, insisted that he should start piano classes to learn to play piano.  Therefore, he unwillingly and unknowingly initiated his journey with piano lessons.

Till 1967, Joel went to Hicksville High School. However, he was unable to graduate from high school along with his classmates.

Despite being a bright student, Joel couldn't achieve the required number of credits for graduating. From then, he initiated his hustle for a successful future in the music industry instead of joining summer school. Later, he said in an interview that he thought to himself that if his credits cannot take him to the University of Columbia, then his talent would take him to the records under the Columbia label. He didn’t even need a diploma from high school to go there.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Billy Joel facts: you surely did not know about the musician, then why not take a look at Adam Levine facts, or Billie Joe Armstrong facts?

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

Read full bio >