The long-awaited, all-access biography of a music legend
In Billy Joel, acclaimed music journalist Fred Schruers draws upon more than 100 hours of exclusive interviews with Joel to present an unprecedented look at the life, career, and legacy of the pint-sized kid from Long Island who became a rock icon.
Exhibiting unparalleled intimate knowledge, Schruers chronicles Joel's rise to the top of the charts, from his working-class origins in Levittown and early days spent in boxing rings and sweaty clubs to his monumental success in the '70s and '80s. He also explores Joel's creative transformation in the '90s, his dream performance with Paul McCartney at Shea Stadium in 2008, and beyond.
Along the way, Schruers reveals the stories behind all the key events and relationships - including Joel's high-profile marriages and legal battles - that defined his path to stardom and inspired his signature songs, such as "Piano Man", "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant", "New York State of Mind", and "She's Always a Woman". Throughout, he captures the spirit of a restless artist determined to break through by sharing, in his deeply personal lyrics, the dreams and heartbreaks of suburban American life.
Comprehensive, vibrantly written, and filled with Joel's memories and reflections - as well as those of the family, friends, and band members who have formed his inner circle, including Christie Brinkley, Alexa Ray Joel, Jon Small, and Steve Cohen - this is the definitive account of a beloved rock star's epic American journey.
©2014 Fred Schruers (P)2014 Billy Joel
"Great for any Joel fan"
If you are a Billy Joel fan, this is spectacular! I thoroughly enjoyed it and even thought the narrator sounded a little like him at times.
"Fawning but likeable bio"
This bio has much to love and hate, which seems to mirror the often dichotomous opinion people (or music critics) have of the Piano Man. Schruers covers all the bases of Joel's life from his ancestors hegira from Nazi Germany, to his early days on Long Island, through pop stardom and later touring years. As might be expected from Schruers somewhat abbreviated treatment, each episode is covered in an almost cursory way with little time for in depth exploration of Joel's musical influences, cultural context, or critical interpretation. The hits, loves, tribulations, drug and alcohol abuse just breeze by and readers hoping for critical analysis or even behind the scenes details may come away disappointed. Nevertheless, Billy Joel has its pluses. Schruers notes in his sources the hundred+ hours of interviews and access Joel gave him; add to this the interviews with others in Joel's entourage plus voluminous research and what you get is a book that brims with quotes for every occasion that often illuminates Joel's personality and humor. But therein also lies the problem. One gets the sense that this is less a biography than ghostwritten autobiography and Schruers' access may have come at the price of a reluctance to delve with any depth or criticism into the darker aspects of Joel's life. The end result is a sympathetic, almost fawning bio that will neither offend nor illuminate but should appeal to those interested in a quick, breezy read and whose curiosity about the Piano Man would be satisfied with a Joel on Joel treatment.
I quite enjoyed the narration, particularly Thornton's stabs at imitating Elton John, Keith Richards and other musicians. That aside, the narration is jaunty and befits the material.
"The reason I play piano"
Probably not, the voice of Billy Joel and others were just not believable
No, because of the narration
Better voice for Billy Joel specifically
No... but if they did they would hire someone who is an addict in denial..Maybe Charlie Sheen.
Man, Oh Man was I disappointed in Billy Joel...my hero who was the reason I started playing piano is an ass who needs to get serious about recovery..He seems to be his own God, and as a God, what a let down...He's got serious problems with drinking, and women less than half his age....To me this goes to show what kind of human he is...He may be a master songwriter and musician but as a human being he is an egomaniac
loved it. very in depth. great story. the fact that Billy Joel himself assisted the author/narrator is impressive.
"Very interesting and informative bio of the Piano Man"
I learned a lot about the life and influences on Billy Joel's remarkable catalog. As a lifelong fan, I don't think I'll be able to listen to his music without remembering the context in which it was created from now on.
"Great book about a music legend!"
Although I grew up listening to Billy Joel music I really had no idea what he of his family had endured. I listened non- stop and plan on re-listening again soon.
the life story of this beloved American icon is inspirational, informative and incredibly well presented. the "open door" into Joel's life makes his music even more powerful and fun.
the work of the writer to include so many sources adds an unexpected depth to the story. the talent of the 'reader' makes the audio easy to follow in many environments.
hooray for BILLY JOEL for yet another great production. yet again, you've left your audience wanting more.
"I love Billy Joel"
I have been a fan of Billy Joel ever since I bought "The Stranger", and so I couldn't resist this title. There are a lot of interesting facts about his life and how he came to write some of his hits. It's not really a tell-all, down and dirty kind of celebrity story, and I liked the direction the author chose to go with this.
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