Artist picture of Billy Joel

Billy Joel

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The Recording Industry Association of America ranks Billy Joel as the third best-selling solo act of all time (behind Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley) with classic songs Uptown Girl, Just The Way You Are and New York State Of Mind. The son of a classical pianist, he initially rebelled, becoming a successful amateur boxer but, inspired by The Beatles, opted for music instead and joined covers band Echoes. He played on the Shangri-Las' classic Leader of the Pack and, using the stage name Bill Martin, got a job playing in a bar, the subject of his 1973 debut single Piano Man when he was signed by Columbia Records. His rich songwriting and full-blooded stage shows won him a legion of admirers, with Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett and Ronnie Spector among those covering his songs. His greatest success, however, was the 1983 album An Innocent Man, including the massive hit Uptown Girl, written about his then wife, model Christie Brinkley. Artist biography compiled by BDS/West 10. All rights reserved