Best Known For
Singer Billy Joel topped the charts in the 1970s and '80s with hits like "Piano Man," "Uptown Girl" and "We Didn't Start the Fire."
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Through the 1980s, Joel would be crowned a hit-maker with smashes such as "Tell Her About It," "Uptown Girl," "Innocent Man" and "The Longest Time." He would release two volumes of Greatest Hits and become the first American performer to unleash a full-scale rock production in the Soviet Union. While churning out hits, Joel would also frequent the benefit circuit,
performing with stars such as Cyndi Lauper and John Mellencamp to raise money for various causes.
In 1989, on the heels of successful single "We Didn't Start the Fire," Joel was presented with the Grammy Legend Award. His professional success continued unabated into the early 1990s, although his personal life became somewhat dramatic. After the release of River of Dreams (1994), Joel slowed his studio recordings, but continued to tour alone and in combination with fellow artists such as Elton John. In 1999, the worldwide sales of his songs passed the 100 million mark. Also that year, Joel was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by his idol, Ray Charles. Several years later, in 2013, Joel received the Kennedy Center Honors.
In the early 2000s, Joel found himself in and out of rehab, struggling with an ongoing alcohol addiction. In 2007, Joel released the single "All My Life," his first song with original lyrics in 13 years. Though semi-retired in terms of recording new pop songs, Joel has continued to tour and branch out as an artist. He has composed a number of classical songs and even reworked older ballads with an orchestral backing.
Throughout the years, Joel's songs have acted as personal and cultural touchstones for millions of people, mirroring his own goal of writing songs that "meant something during the time in which I lived... and transcended that time."
In 1982, Joel split with his first wife, Elizabeth Weber Small, who had been his partner since 1973. In 1984, Joel would famously meet and marry supermodel Christie Brinkley. Soon after, their daughter Alexa Ray (named after Ray Charles) was born.
Joel divorced Brinkley in 1993 and began a host of legal proceedings against various lawyers, publishers and managers that he had worked with over the years. In 2004, he married the television personality and journalist Katie Lee. They would eventually divorce after five years of marriage.
© 2014 A+E Networks. All rights reserved.
profile name: Billy Joel profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
The United Service Organization was founded in 1941, as a way to provide morale to service members through entertainment. Hollywood was happy to promote its patriotism (and its stars), and sent entertainers to combat zones, often in danger, to perform for the troops. From Marilyn Monroe to Stephen Colbert, many of the biggest names in showbiz have put on shows for the American service members around the world. Check out these famous USO entertainers.
USO Entertainers 46 people in this group
Famous Taureans 564 people in this group
They make music with instruments they were born with - their voices. Gifted vocalists have entertained audiences across musical genres from the tour de force arias of Luciano Pavarotti to the classic crooning of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett to the soulful vocals of artists like Aretha Franklin and Mahalia Jackson. With their powerful lyricism, singers like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Bruce Springsteen became poet laureates of American music while artists including Joan Baez and Joe Strummer used their voices to prompt social change while they entertained. Rockers from Elvis Presley to The Beatles to Kurt Cobain helped define their generations through their songs while icons like Michael Jackson, Cher and Whitney Houston shaped pop culture with their larger-than-life voices and personas. See these and more famous singers who have struck a chord in musical history.
Famous Singers 782 people in this group