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Billy Joel More Than a Piano Dealer

Billy Joel could have ended up being a piano dealer with a high skill on the keys. His personal love for music and the luck in his life that led him to the right places at the right times to be noticed kept this from happening, making him a household name among those who love music.

When the average parent walks into the piano dealer to buy an instrument for their budding artist, they likely have visions of grandeur and glory, hoping their budding musician will rise to the ranks of the best. That may have been what Billy Joelís mother wanted, or maybe she just wanted him to be good enough to get them out of the New York housing developments where they lived. Regardless of her reason, her insistence that he take piano at a very early age and her ability to pay for excellent teachers paid off, and he became a very accomplished pianist.

In high school, Joel took a job playing at a piano bar. This job cost him his high school diploma, because he overslept one morning after a late night at work and missed an exam. He never finished his degree, however, stating that he would go to Columbia Records where he didnít need a high school diploma. He made good on that promise, as this was the label that signed him later in his life.

In fact, Joel knew he wanted to be a full time musician before he finished high school after seeing the Beatles on television in his early teens. He began playing for the Echoes, a British Invasion group, when he was just 14 years old, playing for recording sessions at age 16. Because of his talent and early successes, he never had to worry about his career path leaving him with no option for a job other than working for a piano dealer.

Joel eventually became a singer-songwriter in addition to being a pianist. In the early 1970s he had his first solo record contract, an album called Cold Spring Harbor. However, this did poorly because it was mastered incorrectly and sold with the error, so he made little money on this early recording. Luckily, he got a job at the Wilshire Boulevard bar, where he gained a huge following, composed several songs, and caught the eye of a Philadelphia radio station, where Columbia Records heard his songs and signed him for a contract.

Joel is unique among people in the industry in that he has a varied talent. In 2008, he performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, playing classical pieces he composed himself with full orchestra backing. On his recordings, he sings modern style music that has tones similar to rock and roll, gospel, pop, blues, and even Broadway. He points to Ray Charles as part of his inspiration, and even named his daughter Alexa Ray after his idol.

Joel has been one of the most successful modern pianists in the industry, combining his vocal talent with his skills on the keyboard to create a serious music career. The next time a parent walks into a piano dealer to pick out an instrument for his or her child, it may not be with visions of Mozart playing in their mind. It may be visions of the multi-faceted artist Billy JoelFeature Articles, whose unique style and high profile talent have made him a legendary name among American households who love music.

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