Happy Birthday Billy Joel: Celebrating the Legendary Musician’s Most Iconic Moments

by Suzanne Halliburton

Billy Joel, please sing us a song, Mr. Piano Man. We know it’s your birthday — your 72nd — but a good party needs great music, right?

So let’s get to the great music. The best way to celebrate a Billy Joel birthday is to click some buttons on the cyber jukebox and drift back to that time when he sang this song, Piano Man. It was off his second studio album. And it feels like that perfect neighborhood bar song everyone performs when they’ve been over served. Joel wrote this song while remembering the work he did as a lounge performer.

Cause remember, we’re all in the mood for a melody.

Billy Joel Wrote Just the Way You Are for First Wife

Now, we’re rolling towards the late 1970s. Billy Joel releases the album The Stranger. It spent six weeks at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart. All four singles released from the album hit the top 40, with Just the Way You Are securing some spiffy hardware at the 1978 Grammys.

But that’s not the only memorable song from the Stranger. How about Movin’ Out, She’s Always a Woman to Me and Only the Good Die Young. No wonder this album was Billy Joel’s top seller for a non-compilation collection. Columbia had threatened to drop Billy Joel before he released this album. It needed to sell well. And boy, did it. The Stranger surpassed Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water as Columbia’s top seller.

So Billy Joel, don’t go changing to try and please us. We adore your music. He wrote this song for his first wife. Enjoy.

Yes, Billy Joel, You May Be Right. We’re Crazy for Your Music

That brings us to 52nd Street. It’s the first album for Billy Joel to peak at No. 1. And Joel added two more Grammys to his trophy case. It’s difficult to pick a favorite song off the album, kind of like choosing the best ice cream. It’s all good. My Life, Big Shot and Honesty were the top singles.

Remember, Billy Joel doesn’t mean for you to worry about him. He’s no victim of circumstance. H’s wonderful.

Joel Wanted To Amp Up His Rocker Image

Billy Joel was rolling up on the 1980s. And because he wanted to cultivate more of a rock and roll image, he released It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me. It was his first single to zoom to No. 1. Our lesson from this song –you get more mileage out of a cheap pair of sneakers.

Piano Man Meets Up Town Girl/Super Model

Then in 1983, Billy Joel gave us one of the most 1980s albums of them all — An Innocent Man. And, this album also represented a great love story between Joel and Christie Brinkley. The Piano Man and the super model met in St. Bart’s in early 1983. He began playing the piano at an island bar. Brinkley was there, along with fellow super model Elle MacPherson and Whitney Houston.

And this meeting gave Billy Joel Uptown Girl, or at least an idea for the music video. So let the Downtown Man meet the girl of his dreams.

Wow, What a Career and It’s Still On Fire

And yes, Billy Joel still is touring this year. At 72, he’s produced 33 songs that ranked in the top 40. And he wrote every one of them. Three made No. 1. Joel also has won five Grammys with 23 nominations. And he’s already a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

No, he didn’t start the music fire. It just felt like it. So Happy Birthday, Billy Joel.