Billy Joel



I read most of the article that is linked below.  It is about Billy Joel.  Some of the songs that I uploaded from my library are mentioned in the article.  They are found on his Greatest Hits cd Volume I & II

I have heard other artists perform New York State of Mind, but in my humble opinion, nobody does it better than Billy Joel. I have never been to New York, but I love listening to Billy Joel performing his song.

SUCCESS ·MILLIONAIRAbigail Disney says ‘extreme wealth is eating our world alive.’ She and Mark Ruffalo are among 200 millionaires calling for taxes on the ultra-rich
January 23, 2023 at 2:32 PM CST

Abigail Disney

Abigail Disney and other millionaires call upon Davos attendees for higher taxes.

The ultra-wealthy aren’t typically known for asking to be taxed, but a group of 200 millionaires challenged that reputation with an open letter at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week.

 Let’s head over to Julie
Hyman in Davos, Switzerland.

Gates Foundation CEO: Helping vulnerable countries ‘requires action, not just rhetoric’

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Abigail Disney says ‘extreme wealth is eating our world alive.’ She and Mark Ruffalo are among 200 millionaires calling for taxes on the ultra-rich

The ultra-wealthy aren’t typically known for asking to be taxed, but a group of 200 millionaires challenged that reputation with an open letter at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week.

Known as the Patriotic Millionaires, the group—which includes celebrity Mark Ruffalo and heiress Abigail Disney—called for a solution to end extreme wealth in a petition endorsed by PMUK, Tax Me Now, and Millionaires for Humanity. “You, our global representatives, have to tax us, the ultra rich, and you have to start now,” they said in a letter addressed to the leaders attending the Davos forum.

It’s an echo of a similar open letter they sent to Davos attendees last spring. Citing the growing wealth inequality over the past 50 years, they noted that the world’s 10 richest men saw their wealth double during the pandemic, while 99% of the population watched their incomes shrink as they struggled to afford today’s cost of living. Indeed, a growing number of billionaires have been making out like kings over past few years.

Billionaires’ wealth has increased daily by about $2.7 billion ever since 2020, according to research from international poverty nonprofit Oxfam in conjunction with the Patriotic Millionaires. Meanwhile, poverty increased for the first time in half a century. Oxfam said imposing a 5% tax on multimillionaires and billionaires could raise $1.7 trillion annually, helping 2 billion people escape poverty.

Taxing the ultra-rich is “simple, common-sense economics,” the Patriotic Millionaires write in their letter. “It is an investment in our common good and a better future that we all deserve, and as millionaires we want to make that investment.”

They said that wealth inequality is tied to other dangerous extremes such as nationalism and climate change. They called upon those at Davos to address the “root cause of division,” adding that defending democracy is tied to creating a fairer economy.

“Extreme wealth is eating our world alive,” said Abigail Disney in a press release. “It is undermining our democracies, destabilizing our economies, and destroying our climate. But for all their talk about solving the world’s problems, the attendees of Davos refuse to discuss the only thing that can make a real impact—taxing the rich.”

The World Economic Forum did not immediately respond to Fortune’s request for comment. Disney has been a longtime critic of the systems that support the ultrarich, most recently blasting those who used private jets instead of opting to fly business class.

But a growing group of billionaires is slowly promising to give away their fortunes. When asked by CNN if he planned to give away most of his wealth during his life, Jeff Bezos said, “Yeah, I do.” He recently endowed a $100 million gift to Dolly Parton to give to a charity of choice. Mackenzie Scott, Bezos’ ex-wife, has donated $12 billion in two short years.

Warren Buffett also plans to give 99% of his wealth away within 10 years of his death, possibly to every child across the globe. Along with Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates, he created the Giving Pledge, a campaign that some of the world’s richest people have signed as a promise to donate the majority of their fortunes to philanthropic causes.

Last year, Gates tweeted that he will one day “give virtually all my wealth” to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In a recent Reddit Ask Me Anything, Gates referred to chipping away at his wealth as a “full-time job.” While he said he wouldn’t ban any billionaires, he said he was “surprised” taxes hadn’t been increased.

But these promises of eventual charity aren’t fast and binding enough to address real-time wealth inequality, at least if you ask The Patriotic Millionaires.

This story was originally featured on



Billy Joel: His Love Life, His Battles, and His Successes

 | Daniel Deisinger | This article originally appeared on our sister site:

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Marriage Begins

Joel and Elizabeth got married in September of 1973, and people that knew the musician immediately became concerned about the relationship. Elizabeth appeared to be very controlling, manipulative, and just plain rude to Joel and the people in their lives.

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She was also far more fond of the rock and roll lifestyle than Joel was. But, once the marriage began, some great music started to come out of Joel, including right off the bat “She’s Got a Way” and “She’s Always a Woman.” While it seems this relationship was destined to end poorly, Joel seemed to be enjoying it, at least at the time.

The First Big Crack

Joel did seem to be in love with Elizabeth, but it’s difficult for us to say the same thing in the other direction. Here’s one example: Billy Joel wrote the song “Just the Way You Are” as a birthday gift to Elizabeth and then played it for her.

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Did she cry? Did she hug him? Did she give an emotional thank you speech? No, none of those. When he had finished playing, she asked him if she had the publishing rights to the song. Being blinded by love is one thing, but anybody who responds to a gift like that has the wrong headspace.

A Stranger With His Money

Since she was his wife, it was only fair that Elizabeth was entitled to fifty percent of his wealth – which was growing every day thanks to his now-legitimate music career. She was also earning money from him by acting as his manager – and it was hers, not theirs.


She brought her brother Frank into the business, meaning that suddenly Billy Joel wasn’t seeing much of his own money. Joel named his next hit single and his next album after the situation: “The Stranger.” Elizabeth might have been his muse, and the listening public got plenty of good music out of the relationship, but after nine years, the romance was gone.

Still Hoping for Reconciliation

The couple filed for divorce in 1982, but the decision wasn’t mutual. Elizabeth wanted out.

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Joel, on his part, was urging her to stay and was willing to do anything that she wanted, including buying her a $4 million home on the Upper East Side and an Alfa Romeo, worth anywhere from merely tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds. But it just wasn’t to meant be. As the divorce was still going through the motions, Billy Joel – despondent and upset – got into a terrible motorcycle accident.

Bad Bedside Manners

The accident smashed up Joel’s hands – something that is, you might recognize, pretty important for playing the piano. In the hospital, heavily medicated with pain pills, Elizabeth brought a contract to him, offering to stay with him as long as he signed. At first, Joel was overjoyed until he realized that by signing the contract, he would have given Elizabeth every single thing that he owned.


All of his money, possessions, and rights to his music. “I may have acted like an idiot a time or two,” Joel told his biographer, “but I’m not a complete idiot.” He sent Weber away for good.

The Divorce Goes Through

To Joel, the relationship was over then and there. He realized Weber didn’t really love him – she might have liked him, but she loved the lifestyle and the money and the idea of being famous – take your pick – more.

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It’s telling that even Elizabeth’s sister Frank took Joel’s side in the divorce. However, years later, in 1989, Joel discovered that Frank had drained something like thirty million dollars from his earnings improperly. Joel then had to sue Frank to get his money back. He not only got it back, but he was also about to get an extra sixty million dollars in punitive damages.

A Costly Relationship

Frank was one step ahead of Joel during the court proceedings, however. He outwitted Joel by filing for bankruptcy. The two sides of the issue had to settle out of court in 1990. It seems that joining Elizabeth in marriage was the costliest decision that Billy Joel could ever make. It was his first experience with marriage, and it was enough to make anyone jaded with the entire idea.

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Joel was now wary of future relationships, though it seems like he wasn’t wary enough. Just because one relationship had ended badly – quite badly – that doesn’t mean that every relationship will. Yes, it was still true. Billy Joel was a hopeless romantic.


Joel wasn’t going to give up finding the love of his life. He eagerly clung to the idea of romance, though as he got back into the dating scene, he decided to guard himself a little better. He wasn’t going to give up, however, and hoped that the next time he walked down the aisle, it was going to last.

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If you’ve read to this point, you know that it didn’t. However, he also set his sights a little higher – his next romantic interest was a supermodel. Now a big-time music star, he was starting to meet a lot more of them.

The Second Wife

In 1983, a year after he split with Elizabeth Weber, Billy Joel went to St. Bart’s for a vacation during the holidays. While there, the 33-year-old found a piano bar and did his thing.


In a manner of seconds, three women were throwing themselves at him and the piano. The three women were Elle Macpherson, then a mere 19 years old, an undiscovered Whitney Houston, and the woman who would become his second wife – Christie Brinkley, twenty-eight years old and just as beautiful as always.

A Real-Life Fantasy

Having three beautiful women drape themselves over the piano is one of the most basic rock-star fantasies, and Joel almost couldn’t believe his eyes. All three of the women were vying for his attention.

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Whitney proudly exclaimed that she can sing – something the entire world would learn before too long. Meanwhile, Elle had draped herself over the piano like she was a movie star in a romantic film (“The Fabulous Baker Boys” with Michelle Pfeiffer comes to mind). For a dreamer like Joel, this was the perfect thing – his first relationship might not have worked out, but there will always be more fish on the sea. All he had to do was play that piano.

Letting Her Make the Moves

All three of these young women tried their hardest, but Joel eventually laid eyes on Christie Brinkley. In order to attract her, he got gussied up, sat down at the piano, and played.


Christie sat down next to him to sing with him. It was clear she was interested. She was fresh out of a long relationship with Olivier Chandon de Brailles, race car driver and heir. Just a few days after Joel and Brinkley met, however, Chandon tragically died in a car accident.

Living in Fantasy Land

Once he heard the news about Chandon’s accident, Joel reached out to Brinkley to give his regrets. The two had an immediate connection, however, and before long, their quick friendship became romantic. They started dating soon after.

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However, it’s important to point something out about this moment in Joel’s life. He was, according to Brinkley, already going out with “This girl Elle.” That would be Elle Macpherson, who was just as beautiful as Christie Brinkley – but Brinkley still had the edge. Apparently, if you throw yourself at a man while he’s playing the piano, he might just take an interest. It’s every guy’s fantasy.

All Ten Fingers

Nick Turturro is a relatively well-known actor, mostly for his spot on “NYPD Blue,” but before he broke out, he worked as a doorman for an apartment building looking over Central Park. Joel lived in the penthouse.

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As Christy and Elle tried to capture Joel’s affections, he would bring them home with him on certain nights. Turturro had the now-frowned-upon habit of ranking the women Joel brought home from one to ten. According to Joel, he would usually hold up seven, eight, or nine fingers, but for Brinkley, Turturro held up all ten fingers. Twice.

In Love With Brinkley

In his biography, Joel recalls one night – the very first night that he brought Christy home with him. On the surface, he was a cool cucumber, but inside, that kid from Hicksville was jumping around excited. Then, unfortunately, the elevator door opened, and Elle Macpherson walked in.

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Macpherson stayed, and Brinkley left, but Joel couldn’t ignore it anymore – he was enamored with Brinkley. At the moment Macpherson walked in, Joel wondered what his friends from home would say if they could see his life now – even while he was panicking about what could have very easily turned into a bad fight.

Elle Doesn’t Agree With the Biography

When she made an appearance on “Watch What Happens Live” in 2018, Elle Macpherson had some things to say about the situation. Joel says that when he brought Brinkley home, Macpherson was there waiting for him, but what Macpherson says makes it seem like Joel was hiding something.


According to her, she and Joel had been living together at the time when he started officially dating Brinkley, and that she essentially got thrown out. The term that she used was “got ousted,” which means that either she’s been quite mature about it, or she was being careful with what she was saying.

The Second Marriage Begins

Elle Macpherson was out, and Christie Brinkley was officially in. Joel and the supermodel became an item, and after a short courting period, the two got married in the New York Harbor on a 147-foot yacht.

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Likely the number of people who are able to claim such a swanky marriage site has increased, but back in 1985, it was pretty special. Almost exactly nine months later, they welcomed their daughter Alexa Ray. Alexa Ray is following in her father’s footsteps as a singer, songwriter, and pianist, having released several EPs and singles on independent labels.

The Model and the Marriage

For the music video to Billy Joel’s hit single “Uptown Girl,” Brinkley appeared as the love interest, so for obvious reasons, people assumed he had written the song about her. The truth is that the song was about Joel’s short-lived relationship with Macpherson.

Musicoholics/Richard Young

The song was originally going to be called “Uptown Girls,” and it was going to be about dating not only Brinkley but the younger supermodel as well – there was even a third girl that was going to be part of it, someone that Joel had been seeing before he met either Macpherson or Brinkley. He was dating Brinkley when it came time to record, so Joel simplified.

Bubbles the Chimp

About his relationship with Elle, Joel would state that he felt somewhat insecure about it. He wasn’t a bad-looking guy, but it isn’t untrue to say Elle had the edge in the looks department. She was also quite a bit younger (and taller) than him.

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He ended up writing “And So It Goes” for Macpherson, understanding she was on the brink of superstardom and that she would have eventually left him. There was one photo someone took of him with Elle before they broke up – Joel stated, “Elle was so tall that I looked like Bubbles the Chimp next to her, and I realized this was just not going to work.”

An Innocent Man

Joel’s next album, “An Innocent Man,” was a love letter to his new wife. There was “Uptown Girl,” of course, but the album also included “This Is the Time,” which he wrote for Brinkley. It’s a song about a couple reflecting on their best days together. Joel was back on the path to love, but new problems were about to rear their heads.

Getty Images Photo by Ron Galella

He was still suffering from financial problems due to his long legal battle with Frank Weber, and it meant he was touring nonstop to maintain his income. His relationship with Brinkley suffered, and the boiling point came when, in 1993, he stayed at a hotel right next to the Nassau Coliseum rather than drive ninety minutes home.

The Accusation

Brinkley wasn’t happy about this choice – and it was at that point when one of Joel’s band members informed her that Joel was cheating on her, an accusation that Joel denies. But, by the end of 1993, both Brinkley and Joel knew that the marriage wasn’t going to last much longer.

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Their split coincided with when Billy Joel stopped making albums – Brinkley jokes that it was the end of his songwriting career. A number of factors went into the breakup, not just the alleged affair. Just like Joel’s first marriage, he and Brinkley lasted nine years together.

Absence Didn’t Make the Hearts Fonder

Other factors that led to the breakup include Brinkley’s desire to move to the West Coast – while Billy Joel was and will remain an East Coast guy. Joel’s endless touring schedule also drove a wedge between them.

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Brinkley’s statement was that just because someone is great at communicating through art (as Joel clearly is) doesn’t mean that person is great at communicating in a relationship. Joel had always kind of been an awkward guy, and having the drive to find romance in your life is no assurance that you’ll be any good at being in a relationship.

Always Had Her Back

While the relationship might not have worked out in the long run, Brinkley reports that Joel was always supportive of her. The two were quite an item while they were together, and Joel always had her back when the claws of the media came out.

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Many people fell back on the air-headed blonde stereotype when it came to his second wife, often calling her stupid or boring. Joel didn’t like it, and during an interview with “Rolling Stone,” he said people calling her such things really bothered him. To him, she was anything but that.

More Than a Pretty Face

When Joel and Brikley went out together, he preferred people looking at her – whether this was a trophy wife sort of situation or he was nervous about his appearance, we aren’t sure. Brinkley turned out to have plenty of brain despite what the media liked to say.

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We’re unsure whose idea it was, but once when the couple was trying to avoid the media at a hotel, they booked themselves as Rocky and Sandy Shore. It’s clever, but anybody that sees it would understand that it was a couple of fake names.

She Needed a Backyard

Having a place you can go to be yourself, without the pressures of the outside world, is an extremely important thing for anybody. And for someone like Brinkley, who had cameras after her 24/7, it was even more important.

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She explained to “Sports Illustrated” in 1989 that the worst thing she could think of was being famous and poor because then it would be impossible to escape to somewhere the paparazzi wouldn’t be able to find her. Thankfully, with the money that Billy Joel was always bringing in and Brinkley’s own cash flow, they were always able to get away, even if they did have to come up with fake names.

Brinkley After the Divorce

Once Billy Joel and Brinkley split up, Brinkley moved on to other men. No doubt she’s still getting suitors even to this day. Once the divorce was finalized, Brinkley married Richard Taubman, though their relationship ended up being pretty short. They still managed to have a son together, however.

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She married her next husband, Peter Cook, in 1996 and welcomed a daughter quickly. That was her longest marriage since it lasted a full twelve years, but they split up in 2008. Brinkley might not have had a lot of success, but Joel wasn’t doing much better when they divorced. Still, he managed to move on to his next beau.

Before He Married Again

One of the other reasons Joel and Brinkley ended up splitting, and something that would go on to plague Joel for years to come, was Joel’s dependency on the bottle. He drank heavily in order to stave off depression, but to no one’s surprise, it didn’t help much.

musicoholics/ Owen Sweeney

This led to a bad public breakdown when he was onstage with Elton John at Madison Square Garden. Joel started shouting out random famous battle sites such as Bunker Hill and Antietam. Why? It’s hard to guess, but the bottle is surely at least partly to blame. The relationship between Elton John and Billy Joel took a nosedive after being the most popular dual touring act ever.

Joel Battles the Bottle

The outburst at Madison Square put a big rift between these two powerful acts, but they’ve recently been able to patch things up. However, between 2002 and 2004, Joel found himself in not one or two but three car crashes on Long Island.

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In one, he crashed into a house. He blamed bad street lighting, local wildlife, and his car, a Citroën and Porsche 9/11. Eventually, the evidence piled up, and he knew that he had to check himself into a rehabilitation center. He went on record at the time: “The fact is, I like to drink… Sometimes too much.”

The Third Marriage

As Joel struggled with his demons, he found a light at the end of the tunnel. Her name was Katie Lee, and she was a college girl from Ohio. They met at the Peninsula Hotel’s lobby, and they hit it off quickly.

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Right after graduating, she moved into Joel’s four-million-dollar loft in Tribeca. They were married in 2004 and began their life together. The biggest thing to know about this relationship was the age gap – it wasn’t the biggest we’ve ever heard coming out of the entertainment industry, but it was still quite large. When they got married, Joel was fifty-five, and Lee was twenty-three.

Early Marriage Issues

After spending some time at one of the famous Betty Ford rehab centers, Billy Joel was ready to get back to his life. With a new wife by his side (though she was only four years older than his daughter Alexa), Joel started touring again.

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Lee encouraged him to get back on the road and do what he loved. Katie Lee was an aspiring culinary star, and while she was making sure everything was held down at home, Joel hit the road. However, just a few months into their marriage, Joel once again ended up in rehab.

Surprises on Tour

In 2008, Joel was on tour with Elton John. Again. Supposedly, this was before they had a professional split but after Joel’s breakdown on stage. It’s complicated. Anyway, during this time, Joel kept seeing photos of his wife at premieres and gallery openings, and in one photo, in particular, she was dancing pretty close with another man.

Fairchild Archive / Penske Media

Lee admitted to Joel’s biographer that the photos look pretty bad, but she, just like Joel more than ten years before, denied ever having an affair. However, it was clear for one reason or another that the marriage wasn’t going to work. It could have been the touring, the age gap, or something else.

Joel Still Had Hope

The marriage was unraveling before his eyes. Billy Joel, however, was still a hopeless romantic, and he wasn’t about to just let this one go after such a short time. He told her that he wanted to go to a therapist, and she changed the topic to the furniture.

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Joel has stated that he realized then the marriage wasn’t going to last. They were divorced by 2009, and it would be at least another year before he met the person who would end up being his fourth wife. Who knows? Maybe the fourth time will be the charm.

So Far So Good

The Piano Man’s fourth marriage to Alexis Roderick began on July 4th, 2015. It happened at the couple’s annual party, which was quite a surprise for all of the guests. The marriage happened at Joel’s Centre Island Estate in Long Island. They had a celebrity officiant, none other than New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo.

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It’s unknown if this was what got them to make things official, but by the time they got married, the couple was already expecting their first child together. We can’t stop thinking about the guests – imagine just going to a normal party and finding out it’s actually a wedding!

A Growing Family

Joel is now the proud father of three. His daughter Alexa Ray Joel is now an adult and making her own way in music, but Joel and Alexis Roderick have two of their own children. They’re both daughters, named Remy Anne and Della Rose. A lot of Joel’s relationships have been costly – and not just for the wallet.

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Heartbreak is always difficult to get through, but Joel has at least been able to translate those emotions into numerous hit songs – it’s made him one of the most famous musicians in the world. Somehow, after three divorces, Joel still thinks that a romantic relationship is possible.

The First Big Hit

If you know about Billy Joel, you know about his big one. “Piano Man” came out in 1973, but the story begins before that. In 1972 Joel traveled to Los Angeles in order to get out from under a bad management door. His friends had encouraged him to go off the grid for a while, and there’s nothing like traveling across the country to do so.

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He found himself in The Executive Room on Wilshire Boulevard, at the piano. He was miserable, and in order to forget himself for a bit, he saw a mental image of himself as Bill Murray or Steve Martin on “SNL.” A lounge lizard, someone who’s always there and is always playing.

The Song That Made Him Famous

There are lots of details that made it into the song from that period. He performed under the name Bill Martin, which is why the name appears in the song, though not as the piano man himself.

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There really was a bartender named John, and customers who “put bread in my jar” often did ask him why he was slumming it in a bar. Even back then, they could realize Billy Joel was far too talented to be wasting his skills in such a nameless fashion. The song still inspires people to hit the piano and learn how to become their own piano, man or woman.

Back to the East Coast

Another one of Joel’s big early successes was “New York State of Mind.” After three years living in Los Angeles, he was sick of it. He took a trip to upstate New York with his first wife, Elizabeth Weber, and fell in love with the foliage and beauty of the area around the Hudson Valley. They rented a house near West Point.

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As soon as he finished touring, he got on a Greyhound bus to travel. He started writing the famous 1976 song right then and there. He was glad to be headed back home. He remembered thinking to himself that it was where he belonged.

What Happened to Those Kids?

The history behind this longest song in Billy Joel’s repertoire – “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” – is a bit strange. It began after Joel was inspired by the long B-side of “Abbey Road,” which was somewhat of a parody of a song, but still, it brought inspiration.

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The song was all about those kids that peak in high school and then peter out – the prom king and queen, the marriage, the divorce – it’s all there in seven minutes and thirty-seven seconds. Joel was fascinated with the idea. If you peak too early, and you’re well-known around high school, Joel thought that it was a sure thing that you were going to disappear pretty early.

Which Restaurant Was It?

As Billy Joel related to his biographer, he had an idea for a couple that meets after a long time apart. They’re back in their old Italian restaurant, and they’re ordering a bottle of red and a bottle of white. The song tells the whole story of the relationship.

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The song was expanded into the Broadway production “Movin’ Out.” The restaurant that Billy Joel used as inspiration was Fontana di Trevi, across from Carnegie Hall, a place where he frequented while he was touring there in June 1977. Joel has stated in an interview on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” that this song is his favorite.

Empathy in His Songs

For his 1983 hit, “Allentown,” Joel wrote the lyrics first, which wasn’t how he normally did it. He was originally going to write a song about Levittown, where he grew up, but there wasn’t much to write about. He switched to the nearby Allentown, which had been hit hard by the changing world.


Joel emphasized with people who had trouble finding work or staying in a job. He knew what it was like to do meaningless hard work for a low wage. So, this song was dedicated to the hard workers who won’t ever see their names on the marquee.

The Canceled Book Deal

In 2011, Billy Joel announced that he was going to release an autobiography, along with writer Frede Schruers. The book was going to be called “The Book of Joel: A Memoir.” However, in March of that year, Joel decided against publishing it. Maybe he thought there was more to his story.

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He officially canceled the deal with publisher HarperCollins, which must have been another financial blow – according to “Rolling Stone,” HarperCollins had purchased the book for 3 million dollars in 2008. Much of the information from this article comes from information that would have been in the book.

Trust the Music

The book was an emotional ride for Billy Joel. It detailed his failed marriages, his money problems, his battles against substance abuse, and everything in between.

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Joel himself explained his thoughts on reneging on the book deal: “It took working on writing a book to make me realize that I’m not all that interested in talking about the past, and that the best expression of my life and its ups and downs has been and remains my music.” So far, he’s still in his relationship with his fourth wife, and we hope that for the Piano Man, the fourth time was the charm.