Piano Man William Martin Joel (1949-) was born in New York, began studying piano at four, and joined his first band at 12.
"When I was growing up, I idolized Jimi Hendrix," he admitted. "You'd never be able to tell that from my music, because I'm a keyboard player."
In 1973, Joel signed with Columbia Records, released the album Piano Man, and launched a career as one of rock music's most prolific and talented singer/songwriters. With a commitment to music, his songs are passionate and honest.
"I think music in itself is healing. It's an explosive expression of humanity," said the man who took the Soviet Union by storm in 1987. "It's something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music."
In an interview with Scott Muni, Joel credited John Lennon as a major musical influence and recalled the profound effect of Lennon's 1980 death. "I jumped on my motorcycle and just drove... I was crying. And I just drove and drove, trying to get as far away from the news as I possibly could."
Joel ended up in a small tavern and played Beatles songs all night on a beat-up corner piano. "I played In My Life, which is an especially moving song that John had written. And people started to gather around the piano and sing... It was a very moving evening. That's the one thing I could think of to do, was to make music. That's what the man made me do."
In September 2004, Joel received a Hollywood Walk of Fame star in front of the historic Pantages Theatre, home of Movin' Out, the acclaimed Tony Award-winning musical based on 24 of Joel's songs.
Go easy on yourself.