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WILLIAM MARTIN JOEL “BILLY” JOEL. 1949-PRESENT. Billy Joel. Born May 9 1949 in Bronx, New York Began studying piano at the age of 4 Boxed through his teen years as a welterweight Singer, Songwriter Plays the piano, harmonica, guitar(electric and acoustic), and the accordion

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William martin joel billy joel



Billy joel
Billy Joel

  • Born May 9 1949 in Bronx, New York

  • Began studying piano at the age of 4

  • Boxed through his teen years as a welterweight

  • Singer, Songwriter

  • Plays the piano, harmonica, guitar(electric and acoustic), and the accordion

  • Best known for his first hit “Piano Man”

  • 18 Grammy Nominations not including the ones he won

  • Won 6 Grammy Awards among dozens of other awards

  • 16 platinum albums

Billy joel1
Billy Joel

  • Dropped out of high school to pursue a performing career and was in his third band by the time he was 16 years old

  • Inspired by seeing The Beatles (British Invasion) on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964

  • First album Cold Spring Harbor released in 1970 was not a commercial success an led him to move to Los Angeles to lay low

  • In Los Angeles , he got a gig working as a lounge pianist at The Executive Room on Wilshire Boulevard under the pseudonym Bill Martin which later led to his song “Piano Man” and the start of his career

  • Many of his early songs related a growing frustration with the music industry and Hollywood, foreshadowing his exit from Los Angeles in 1976

  • As the years passed, Joel's style began to evolve, showing his range from pop/rock to the bluesy-jazz styling's that are now associated with his name

Music style
Music Style

  • Influenced by various different styles growing up

  • Growing up Billy loved jazz, rock and roll, boogie-woogie, soul music

  • Joel has played many different styles of music throughout his career with different bands including psychedelic rock, pop, rock, ragtime, doo-wop, contemporary pop, soft rock and even some punk but he is best known for his pop/rock and his bluesy-jazz styles,

  • His fusion of two distinct eras made him a superstar, in the late 70’s & 80’s

  • Changed bits of his playing style to conform to the popular style of music at the time

  • In his different albums, you can hear his style slightly differ due to his song writing being a lot about personal struggles and what was going on in the world at that time which influenced the type of music he was creating


  • Piano Man-1973Billy Joel - Piano Man – YouTube

  • Written in ¾ time signature, meaning 3 quarter notes per bar

  • Has been called Piano Rock, Soft rock, Folk rock

  • Instruments featured are : piano, harmonica, bass, accordion, mandolin, drums and vocals

  • Begins with a jazzy piano solo and then movies into its famous piano and harmonica introduction

  • Verses and chorus feature a descending walking bass linewhich is common in baroque music and jazz

  • Ends in a turnaround which is a passage at the end of a section that leads into another section, which is often a repeat of some of the song


  • Root Beer Rag-1974Root beer rag

  • Style: Ragtime

  • Instrumental

  • Very fast tempo

  • Listen for syncopation and octave changes

  • Syncopation in general terms is "a disturbance or interruption of the regular flow of rhythm": a "placement of rhythmic stresses or accents where they wouldn't normally occur."


  • New York State of Mind-1976 3:15

  • New York State Of Mind

  • Style: Soft Rock, Jazz

  • Saxophone added

  • Slower Tempo

  • Syncopation

  • Blue notes, notes sung or played at a slightly lower pitch than that of the major scale for expressive purposes

  • Song was never a hit or released as a single but has grown to be a fan favorite over time


  • The Longest Time-1983 2:53

  • The Longest Time

  • Style: Doo-Wop, A Capella

  • Doo-wop features vocal group harmony with the musical qualities of many vocal parts, nonsense syllables, a simple beat, sometimes little or no instrumentation, and simple music and lyrics

Works cited page
Works Cited Page

  • "Billy Joel." - Biography. 22 Apr. 2013 <http://www.billboard.com/artist/284376/billy-joel/biography>.

  • "Billy Joel." Billy Joel. 22 Apr. 2013 <http://www.classicbands.com/joel.html>.

  • "Billy Joel biography." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television. 22 Apr. 2013 <http://www.biography.com/people/billy-joel-9354859?page=1>.

  • "Billy Joel." Rollingstone.com. 22 Apr. 2013 <http://www.rollingstone.com/music/artists/billy-joel/biography>.

  • "Billy Joel." Wikipedia. 22 Apr. 2013. Wikimedia Foundation. 22 Apr. 2013 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Joel>.

  • "The Official Billy Joel Site." The Official Billy Joel Site. 22 Apr. 2013 <http://www.billyjoel.com/>.