Happy 75th Birthday to the Big Shot, Billy Joel!

One of the world’s best-selling music artists is 75 today! William Martin Joel, better known as Billy Joel, was born on May 9, 1949 in New York City.

You probably know him as the Piano Man, that guy who always wore the dark sunglasses, or the man who’s sold out Madison Square Arena 100+ times! But we’re betting there’s a few things you don’t know about Mr. Joel, so in honor of his birthday today, May 9, here’s 9 Things You May Not Know About Billy Joel!

  1. He started playing the piano at age 4 because his mother insisted. He has said he’s a better organist than piano player!
  2. Joel took up boxing as a teenager because he wanted to learn how to defend himself. He won 22 bouts on the Golden Gloves circuit, but quit after he got a broken nose.
  3. He dropped out of high school to pursue music, but in 1992, he finally received his diploma after submitting English essays in place of a missed English exam.
  4. Joel said he was inspired to get into music after seeing The Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” “That one performance changed my life… Up to that moment I’d never considered playing rock as a career,” Joel said.
  5. Before his solo career, Joel was in several bands, including the Echoes, Emeralds, the Lost Souls, the Hassles, and Attila.
  6. Music is not Joel’s only venture: he started a boat company and also opened a shop in Long Island to manufacture custom-made motorcycles.
  7. Joel has been married four times: Elizabeth Weber(1973-82), Christie Brinkley(1985-94), Katie Lee(2004-09), and his current wife Alexis Roderick(2015). He has three daughters: Alexa Ray, Della Rose, and Remy Anne.
  8. Accolades include five Grammys, Kennedy Center Honors, and the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
  9. He is the only performing artist to have played both Yankee and Shea Stadiums!

We will be hearing more about Billy Joel over the coming months as he is about to end his record-breaking residency at Madison Square Garden in July. He’s also touring this summer – and you can win tickets with Throwback Nation Radio! If you haven’t entered yet, do so here! 

Happy birthday, Billy Joel!

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