Billy JoelWilliam Martin Joel (born May 9, 1949) is an American singer, songwriter and pianist. Commonly nicknamed the "Piano Man" after his signature 1973 song of the same name, Joel has had a successful music career as a solo artist since the 1970s. From 1971 to 1993, he released twelve studio albums that spanned the genres of pop and rock music, and in 2001 released a one-off studio album of classical music compositions. Joel is one of the world’s best-selling music artists; and the fourth-best-selling solo artist in the United States, with over 160 million records sold worldwide. His 1985 compilation album, ''Greatest Hits – Volume I & Volume II'', is one of the best-selling albums in the United States.
Born in New York City, in the Bronx, Joel grew up on Long Island. Growing up, he took piano lessons at his mother's insistence. After dropping out of high school to pursue a music career, Joel took part in two short-lived bands, The Hassles and Attila, before signing a record deal with Family Productions and starting off a solo career in 1971 with his first release ''Cold Spring Harbor''. In 1972, Joel caught the attention of Columbia Records after a live radio performance of the song "Captain Jack" became popular in Philadelphia, prompting him to sign a new record deal with the company and release his second album, ''Piano Man'', in 1973. After ''Streetlife Serenade'' and ''Turnstiles'' in 1974 and 1976 respectively, Joel released his critical and commercial breakthrough album, ''The Stranger'', in 1977. This album became Columbia's bestselling release, selling over 10 million copies and spawning several hit singles, including "Just the Way You Are", "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)", "Only the Good Die Young", and "She's Always a Woman"; the album also contains the popular album tracks "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant", Joel's favorite of his own songs which has become a firm staple of his live shows, and "Vienna", also one of Joel's personal favorites and nowadays one of his most streamed songs on the internet.
Joel's next album, ''52nd Street'', was released in 1978 and it soon became his first album to peak at No.1 on the ''Billboard'' 200 chart. Joel released his seventh studio album, ''Glass Houses'', in 1980 in an attempt to further establish himself as a rock artist; this release featured "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" (Joel's first single to top the ''Billboard'' Hot 100 chart), "You May Be Right", "Don't Ask Me Why", and "Sometimes a Fantasy". His next album, ''The Nylon Curtain'', was released in 1982, and stemmed from a desire to create more lyrically and melodically ambitious music. ''An Innocent Man'', released in 1983, served as a homage to genres of music which Joel had grown up with in the 1950s, such as rhythm and blues and doo-wop; this release featured "Tell Her About It", "Uptown Girl" and "The Longest Time", three of his best-known songs. After ''The Bridge'' and ''Storm Front'' in 1986 and 1989 respectively, Joel released his twelfth studio album, ''River of Dreams'', in 1993. He went on to release ''Fantasies and Delusions'', a 2001 album featuring classical compositions composed by Joel and performed by British-Korean pianist Richard Hyung-ki Joo. Joel provided voiceover work in 1988 for the Disney animated film ''Oliver & Company'', in which he played the character Dodger with his song, "Why Should I Worry?", and contributed to the soundtracks to several different films, including ''Easy Money'', ''Ruthless People'', and ''Honeymoon in Vegas''.
Across the years of his solo career, Joel produced 33 self-penned Top 40 hits in the U.S., three of which ("It's Still Rock and Roll to Me", "Tell Her About It", and "We Didn't Start the Fire") reached the top of the ''Billboard'' Hot 100 charts. Joel has been nominated for 23 Grammy Awards, winning 6 of them, including Album of the Year for ''52nd Street''. Joel was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (1992), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1999), and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (2006). In 2001, Joel received the Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2013, Joel received the Kennedy Center Honors for influencing American culture through the arts. Since the advent of his solo career, Joel has had a successful touring career, holding live performances across the globe. In 1987, he became one of the first artists to hold a rock tour in the Soviet Union following the country's alleviation of the ban on rock music. Though Joel has not released a studio album since 2001's classical ''Fantasies & Delusions'', he continues to occasionally tour or perform one-off concerts. Provided by Wikipedia