Billy Joel

Billy Joel is an American pianist, singer, and songwriter from the Bronx who released the album Cold Spring Harbor on Family Productions Inc. in 1971, followed by 11 studio albums on Columbia between 1973 and 1993. Prior to his solo career, he recorded two albums with psych-rockers The Hassles, which splintered into the 1970 hard-rock one-off Attila.


Billy Joel was born William Martin Joel in the Bronx, New York on May 9, 1949, to a Jewish American mom, Rosalind, and a Jewish German father, Howard. His paternal grandfather, Karl Amson Joel (1989–1982), was a noted textile merchant who fled Europe with his family during the 1930s. When Billy Joel was eight, his parents divorced and Howard moved to England, where he later remarried. This union bore Joel a half-brother, Alexander Joel (born 1971), who became a pianist and conductor.

Joel took up piano at age four and joined his first band, The Echoes, at age 15. In 1964, he played on demos for the songs “Leader of the Pack” and “Remember (Walking in the Sand),” which both became big hits for girl-group the Shangri-Las. The Echoes changed names several times (The Emeralds, The Lost Souls) before Joel departed for UA recording artists The Hassles, which issued two psych-rock albums between 1967 and 1969. Joel and Hassles drummer John Small then formed the hard-rock duo Attila, which issued a self-titled album on Epic in 1970.

Cold Spring Harbor

Billy Joel released his debut solo album, Cold Spring Harbor, on November 1, 1971, on Family Productions.

Piano Man

Billy Joel released his second solo album, Piano Man, on November 9, 1973, on Columbia.

Streetlife Serenade

Billy Joel released his third album, Streetlife Serenade, on October 11, 1974, on Columbia.


Billy Joel released his fourth album, Turnstiles, on May 19, 1976, on Columbia.

The Stranger

Billy Joel released his fifth album, The Stranger, on September 29, 1977, on Columbia.

52nd Street

Billy Joel released his sixth album, 52nd Street, on October 11, 1978, on Columbia.

Glass Houses

Billy Joel released his seventh album, Glass Houses, on March 12, 1980, on Columbia.

The Nylon Curtain

Billy Joel released his eighth studio album, The Nylon Curtain, on September 23, 1982, on Columbia.

An Innocent Man

Billy Joel released his ninth studio album, An Innocent Man, on August 8, 1983, on Columbia.



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