This I Believe

Ben - Sterling Hts., Michigan
Entered on March 25, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in Billy Joel.

That’s right, I believe in the Piano Man himself.

I believe in all of it: the man, the music, and the magic that is his velvety vocals and eloquent melodies.

William Martin Joel was born on May 9th, 1949, in Bronx, New York. Simply looking at Joel’s relatives gives insight as to the kind of person Billy was destined to be. His father, Howard Joel, was a soldier in the United States army unit that freed all of the prisoners of the German concentration camp, Dachau. The incredible ceases to stop here, though. His brother, Alexander Joel, is a very famous classical music pianist and conductor in Europe. Billy Joel is a beautiful blend of the two: a legendary musical talent who’s music seems to “free” people from all of their problems and worries.

Billy Joel first started recording solo music in 1971. His first album was entitled Cold Spring Harbor. However, there was a setback, which caused a delay to the release of his greatness. While being produced, his album was mastered at too fast of a speed, which made Billy sound more like “Alvin.” But Billy was not to be squashed so easily. He moved to Los Angeles later in the year and played his music in the Executive Lounge bar. It was here that Billy Joel gained the experience and inspiration he needed to write what was to be the greatest album in the history of American rock music: Piano Man. Thus, a star was born. Billy used the momentum gained from Piano Man and wrote, recorded and released twelve more full-length albums- including The Stranger and Glass Houses- along with releasing two volumes of his Greatest Hits (totaling twenty five songs).

Billy Joel has been so influential to American music. The living legend has won a total of six Grammy’s, a member of both the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the recipient MusiCares Person of the Year award in 2002. He is also the only person to ever sing the National Anthem in two Super Bowls (he did so in Super Bowls XXIII and XLI). Billy was also the composer, lyricist, and orchestrator for the Broadway smash Movin’ Out- a musical inspired from twenty-four of his own hit songs. Billy won a Tony award for best orchestrations.

Billy Joel has done it all. From soothing a nation with his sheer musical genius, to touring with Elton John (another living legend), to hosting Saturday Night LIVE four times. Billy Joel truly has lived the American Dream.

I “may be right”, or I “may be crazy”, but I for one, believe in Billy Joel.

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