Billy Joel was commissioned along with Freddy Mercury as a set for a music suite. While having near complete freedom for both pieces, this one needed to have the lyrics to The Piano Man displayed in a prominent place.
Billy was born in 1949 in the Bronx, NY. At age 15, he played his first gig at a piano bar in his neighborhood. He loved it so much that he quit high school to pursue his career. He was part of two bands before signing a solo record deal with Family Records.
His big break may have come when he caught the attention of Columbia Records by performing Captain Jack live on a Philadelphia radio station. As a result, he signed a record deal with them in 1973. He really became popular with the release of The Stranger in 1977 with his hit singles “Just the Way You Are”, “Movin’ Out”, “Only the Good Die Young” and “She’s Always a Woman”. Due to poor management, he earned only $3,000 from the album.
Joel has continued to produce noteworthy records and has received a whopping 23 Grammy nominations . His voice is synonymous with the 70s and 80s. To date, he has sold over 78 million records.