MUSIC HISTORY CLASS: The Piano Man

History Lesson

On this day in 1949 legendary rock pianist and song writer, Billy Joel, was born in the Bronx. Joel would spend most of his childhood on Long Island in Hicksville, New York. Born to Jewish parents, Joel took a liking to music at an early age, receiving piano lessons from a Julliard-trained pianist named Frances Neiman. However, Joel’s interest in music and lack of interest in sports lead to turbulent relationships with his pears, often ending with Joel being bullied. In 1964, while watching The Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show, Joel decided that he wanted to pursue a full-time career in music. He then left high school without a diploma and hit the ground running, beginning what would become one of the greatest Rock n’ Roll careers of all time.

Joel has released thirteen studio albums, four of which have hit the top-spot on the United States charts (1978’s 52nd Street, 1980’s Glass Houses, and 1989’s Storm Front). With an extensive catalog featuring classics such as “Captain Jack,” “It’s Still Rock n’ Roll to Me,” and “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” it is no wonder that Joel is one the biggest selling artists of all time. However, Joel will forever been known for his 1973 magnum opus, “Piano Man.” Joel’s big break, “Piano Man” is one of the best songs ever written. Simple, passionate, and down-right brilliant, “Piano Man” still sounds as fresh today as it did over forty years ago. Joel has always provided the melody, and listeners have always felt so right.

Written by Michael Meeze (follow him on Twitter)

Michael McCarron

Michael is the Founder and Director of the Philly-based LGBT+ non-profit, Punk Out. He enjoys moshing endlessly, forgetting his karaoke performance from the previous night, and pushing that Big Gay Agenda.

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