William Martin Joel, born May 9, 1949, started playing piano at four years old. The young Long Islander wrote his own spinoffs of classical works for years before joining his first band at 14, The Echoes. He stayed in the band for four years before joining The Hassles, which signed with United Artists and recorded two albums. In 1971, Joel still toured with the band but signed a solo recording contract, promoting his first solo album worldwide with the band.
Joel encountered contract issues that led him to drop out of the band and become a piano bar performer, going by the name Bill Martin. He was later hunted down by Columbia Records for an anonymous live tape of him played in a Philadelphia radio station. Joel accepted, and his album Piano Man became a gold album with the title song making the top 20 single list.
By 1975, Joel had won even more awards for his second album, Streetlife Serenade and performed in Carnegie Hall. Over the years, his fame culminated as his music career progressed. Joel continued to tour, winning awards along the way, and topped charts with #1 singles and albums such as "It's Still Rock N Roll To Me" and 52nd St. The list of countless awards that Joel has received includes Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Favorite Male Pop Performer and more. Now, Joel is even being honored on Broadway, with the show Movin' Outfeaturing performances of all his classic hits.
Fifteen albums and 33 Top Forty hits later, people still pay to hear the piano man play. Joel is currently touring the country, still entertaining fans with the same music that moved them so many years ago.
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