I don't know about you, but because of this current virus pandemic, I'm missing my 'live' music concerts, especially BILLY JOEL! In New York where Billy does a concert once a month at Madison Square Garden, that hasn't happened in six months! We BILLY JOEL fans go to his concerts to hear his songs, reminisce and sing-a-long. But one of my favorite treats, especially at his New York concerts, are the unexpected musical guests that show up! Well, since we can't go to his concerts right now because of social distancing, I'd like to share with you some past BILLY JOEL musical guests that I think you might enjoy. (Click-a-link)
It's BILLY JOEL relaxing in Bayville, Long Island, N.Y., four miles down the road from his estate, on July 4, 2020. For many years (See July 4, 2012 blog) BILLY JOEL has held a huge catered barbecue on this date at his mansion on Centre Island, L.I. N.Y., attended by celebrities and dignitaries, such as, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, Howard Stern and wife Beth Ostrosky, comedian Kevin James, as well as, BILLY JOEL's oldest daughter, Alexa Ray! And five years ago, during his annual 4th of July party, he surprised guests by having a wedding and married Alexis Roderick! (Happy 5th Anniversary Bill and Alexis!) I asked him about his annual 4th of July barbecue today (because he should have been home preparing) and he told me because of this COVID-19 pandemic, the barbecue has ''been canceled''. He said the social distancing, the threat of the virus, it just wouldn't be the same or safe. And as he was looking at me, he said people like us (age 65 or older) ''are in the zone''. Well, since he was relaxing and wasn't doing anything, we spent the next 20 minutes talking about various topics. He was friendly and super nice. Our conversation is posted further down the blog.
Photo: John Marchut
BILLY JOEL poses in front of my car with BILLJOEL vanity plates. He Curious, he asked me, ''How'd you get those plates''? (that's New York talk)
Then after talking to BILLY JOEL for about 20 minutes, a lady comes out of the Greek Souvlaki Place and looks at BILLY JOEL, then looks at me, I'm wearing a BILLY JOEL t-shirt, looks at my car plates, sees BILLY JOEL's motorcycle, then asks Billy... ''Are you BILLY JOEL''? Billy doesn't say anything, but I say, looking at Billy, ''too many clues''. He smiles. Then the lady asks Billy to take off his sunglasses, which he does, to see if it's really him. It then becomes apparent to her that she's indeed talking to BILLY JOEL. Interrupting our conversation, she started asking questions and I could see Billy was starting to feel uncomfortable. So Billy felt this was a good time to make his exit, explaining to me and this lady that he has to go and pick up his wife and kids. (After all, today is his 5th wedding anniversary and he should be home with his wife) I was pained to see him leave, but grateful that I got to spend the time that I did with him. We had a good long chat. I got some pictures. And in this chance encounter I also videoed his departure, seen below, for memory sake.
< Go Full Screen Video: John Marchut
Before I tell you about our conversation, a little background on why I developed this BILLY JOEL website, and why I'm such a huge BILLY JOEL fan. You see, I was raised in Syosset, Long Island, N.Y., and back in the late 1960's there was a band called 'The Hassles'. Members John Dizek, Jon Small, Rich McKenna and Harry Weber were all from Syosset, and I knew of them being from Syosset myself. When Harry Weber got kicked out of the band for excessive drug use, BILLY JOEL replaced him. The band produced two albums on United Artists and were semi-successful. But when the band eventually faded, BILLY JOEL and drummer Jon Small, formed a duo band called Atilla. Well, BILLY JOEL had an affair with Jon's wife, Elizabeth (Weber) Small, from Syosset, and that was the demise of Atilla. Fast forward, Elizabeth and Billy move in together and BILLY JOEL went solo with his first album, 'Cold Spring Harbor' (1971). The record was recorded at the wrong speed, BILLY JOEL had signed a dreadful recording contract with producer Artie Ripp, and fled to L.A. for years trying to void the contract. To make ends meet, BILLY JOEL became Bill Martin at a 'piano bar' and Elizabeth would waitress. And In 1973, Elizabeth (Weber) Small would become BILLY JOEL's first wife! While in L.A., BILLY JOEL would record his second and third albums, 'Piano Man' (1973) and 'Streetlife Serenade' (1974), which were semi-successful. Coming back to Long Island, N.Y. in 1975, BILLY JOEL formed a new (Long Island) band and hired, from Syosset, Doug Stegmeyer (bass guitar) and Brian Ruggles (sound engineer) who I knew and know. Besides Billy Joel (Hicksville, L.I.) other members included, Liberty DeVitto (Seaford, L.I.) Richie Cannata (Garden City South, L.I.) Russell Javors (Plainview, L.I.) and Doug Stegmeyer (Syosset, L.I.) Eventually, Elizabeth Weber's brother (Frank) and sister (Mary Sue) from Syosset, would also come on board. Frank Weber would became BILLY JOEL's mananger. Mary Sue Weber would became the hairstylist for the band. By now, BILLY JOEL was popular on Long Island and the Tri-State area, and gaining national attention. Well one evening, in the summer of 1977, I was at the Syosset Italian restaurant 'Christiano's', and who strolls in, BILLY JOEL. He walks up to the bar near take-out, and stands right next to me! Since I knew all the Syosset people BILLY JOEL knew, and he was getting national air-play on the radio, becoming more popular, I was starstruck. Because you just knew, because of his talent, that one day he was going to make it big! I asked for his autograph and that was the first time I met BILLY JOEL, 43 years ago! Then in the autumn of that year (1977) BILLY JOEL released his 5th solo album, 'The Stranger'. This was the album that would finally become his commercial breakthrough! Hence this website and still a huge fan!
So here's my BILLY JOEL 4th of July story. Coming back from my daily two mile walk, a motorcycle zooms by and I noticed it was BILLY JOEL (his goatee is a dead giveaway) You see, I live in Bayville, Long Island, N.Y., and BILLY JOEL's primary residence is four miles away on Centre Island, N.Y. People that live in this area see him around all the time. Well, sometimes BILLY JOEL goes on his joy ride, and other times he goes down to the strip by the beach to hang-out and chill. Being a huge fan, I was going to jump into my car and follow him. But from my walk, being all sweaty and such, I really had to shower first. When I finished, and on a whim, I put on a BILLY JOEL t-shirt and went down to the strip hoping he was there chilling out. Looking for his motorcycle, I spotted it and saw him sitting in the shade, on a bench, all by himself. The place was deserted, nobody around. So I pulled into a parking space right in front of where he was sitting so he could see my car plates. And that was the icebreaker I needed to start a conversation. As I got out of my car I said... ''Hey Billy, you like my plates''? He looked at them and said... ''Sounds like a doorbell''. Meaning, (BILLJOEL - DINGDONG) Then he asked me... ''How'd you get those plates''? And I said... 'It was pure luck''. (All conceivable combinations that you can think of pertaining to billy joel, such as, joelfan, bilyjoel, bjoelfan etc... are all taken) But this started our conversation. I stated how I was one of he's biggest fans, and started to drop names of people that we both knew from Syosset. He instantly knew that I wasn't just another ordinary BILLY JOEL fan. Most fans would not know what I know about these people from Syosset, and Billy seemed to acknowledge that. Then I reminded him of all the times we ran into each other back in the day. Rienhard's in Bayville, The Tiki Bar in Bayville, Cagney's in Oyster Bay, Head's & Tails in Syosset and Christiano's, also in Syosset. All but one of these establishments are no longer in existence, and BILLY JOEL knows what I know. These facts gave me genuine credibility. That's when he opened up to me. He said ... ''I just came back from Florida, and just in time, because the virus is exploding down there''. Looking at me, he said ... ''People like us (65 and over) are in the zone''. He also mentioned, prior to the Florida trip, that he took his family to Austria to visit his half brother, Alexander Joel, a conductor. I said 'Vienna'? He said... ''No, Alexander has since moved to another city in Austria''. He then noticed the t-shirt I was wearing and said chuckling ... ''Hey, your wearing one of my shirts!''. (It was a BILLY JOEL 'Last Play At Shea' 2008 t-shirt) I then asked him about his annual 4th of July barbecue bash, and he said ... ''It's been canceled''. Continuing, he says ... ''The virus, social distancing, it wouldn't be the same or safe''. ''But today is my wedding anniversary''! (Billy Joel married Alexis Roderick five years ago on July 4th) Then I said, matter-of-factly, ''I think you finally found the right one this time Bill''. And he says, half jokingly, ''I hope so''. (Billy Joel has been married 4x times) Getting back to the pandemic, I asked him about his concerts. The next four concerts this year are at his monthly residency at New York's Madison Square Garden, which are all SOLD OUT. They haven't been canceled as of this writing, but Billy anticipates they will be and rescheduled. But the rescheduled 2021 concert calendar could also be in jeopardy, unless Billy says ... ''They develop a vaccine''. (Sadly, medical experts rank activities posing the greatest risk for contracting COVID-19 as ... attending a large concert venue, where social distancing is virtually impossible, or going to a packed sports arena) So I say... ''You not performing is going to make you rusty''. He responds... ''I already am''. (Billy Joel's last concert was five month's ago in Mexico City on March 2, 2020) Well BILLY JOEL, and most celebrities, don't like to step onto a political soapbox to express their views publicly. It creates controversy. But BILLY JOEL did express his concern to me about this country (USA). It's a mess. The corona virus, the economy, people are out of work, unemployment is at an all time high, and now, civil unrest. So privately, BILLY JOEL says to me ... ''Trumps gotta go''. (Some people might disagree, but BILLY JOEL is entitled to his opinion just like everyone else) Anyway, some of you may be wondering why there's no selfie's of me and Billy? Well, as you know, its advised during this pandemic to stay six feet apart from one another. So I asked a young passerby to take some pictures of Billy and I. Needless to say, he F'd up. I don't know what he did, but no pictures. I took back my camara without checking to see how they came out. Never assume. So disappointed. Then that lady approaches us, starts asking questions and interrupts our conversation. Feeling uncomfortable, that's when Billy decided to leave. But I did get to chat with him for quite some time, took some pictures, and I videoed his departure on his motorcycle. And since BILLY JOEL is also out of work, I'm sure I'll run into him again soon. (If I do, I'll let you know!) I hope you enjoyed my story meeting BILLY JOEL once again, but this time, on his 5th wedding anniversary and America's 244th Birthday, July 4, 2020!
Liberty DeVitto was BILLY JOEL's drummer for thirty years (1975 - 2005). He was instrumental on BILLY JOEL's biggest selling albums during that time. They had a falling-out over 'musical differences', Liberty sued Billy, and years later, a confidentiality settlement was reached. Since then, their relationship was forever strained, up until now! In a new book, 'Life, Billy And The Pursuit Of Happiness' by Liberty DeVitto, Liberty writes about his experience and memories of being BILLY JOEL's drummer during the most formidable years. In the past decade, Liberty has sent numerous e-mails to Billy, to no avail, to try and mend their relationship. But just recently, BILLY JOEL agreed to meet. The two hashed things out and ended their meeting with hugs, and expressions of love. And ironically, the book's foreword is written by BILLY JOEL himself! A must read book! Release date - July 17, 2020
Liberty DeVitto Billy Joel Andrew Gilmartin
Photo taken in Florida, February 2020
June 7, 2020 Billy Joel news.
BILLY JOEL released his second studio album, that he titled 'Piano Man', in 1973 on Columbia Records. The title song has become through the years, his signature song, as well as, his nickname! To promote his early career and that album, BILLY JOEL produced a 1973 'Piano Man'♫ music video♫ (almost ten years before MTV!) But most BILLY JOEL fans have only seen the 1985 'Offical' Piano Man music video that replaced the 1973 'Original'! Have you ever seen the 1973 'Original' Piano Man music video? Not likely, because the 'Offical' Piano Man music video has been seen over a 149 million times! The 1973 'Original', only 70 thousand.
May 10, 2020 Billy Joel news
May 9th was BILLY JOEL's Birthday! Born William Martin Joel in Bronx, N.Y. on May 9, 1949, singer / songwriter BILLY JOEL, also known as the 'Pianoman', turned 71 years old on Saturday!
HAPPY 71st BIRTHDAY BILL!
May 1, 2020 Billy Joel news.
There's a growing concern that life as we knew it will never be the same, or at least not for the next couple of years. Even as businesses start to reopen, social distancing will become the norm. Just think about that. All gatherings where there are a high concentration of people will be limited. Restaurants, movie theaters, beaches, schools, etc... will all have social distancing in place. And what about large gatherings like Baseball games? No World Series? Football games, Super Bowl? Hockey games, Stanley Cup? Basketball, NBA playoff's? No Kentucky Derby? And what about 'live' concerts, where tens of thousands of people are in attendence in a stadium! Not likely, or at least not in the short-term foreseeable future. BILLY JOEL has a concert scheduled next month, June 6, 2020 at New York's Madison Square Garden. There's no 'offical' word of a cancellation as of yet, but I anticipate that announcement very soon (See Concert Tour Dates for updates). And although BILLY JOEL has not produced a new album in over 27 years, he has had an unexpected resurgence late in his career. But this pandemic will probably force him to cancel all of his upcoming 2020 scheduled concerts well into 2021. And as time goes bye, and BILLY JOEL gets older (he celebrates his 71st Birthday on May 9, 2020) this COVID-19 pandemic might force him to, I might sadly say, retire. But let's pray that doesn't happen! And although the late George Harrison of the BEATLES once said of life, ''All Things Must Pass'', please Billy, not just yet! Your fans need you now more than ever!
April 16, 2020 Billy Joel news.
Doctor in Quarantine Sings 'Corona Man', A Billy Joel Parody.
Dr. Matthew Hensler is a surgeon in Cincinnati, Ohio (USA) who's had to spend the last couple of weeks in self-quarantine after being exposed to someone with the coronavirus... So, isolated at home, and a big Billy Joel fan, he wrote and posted a COVID-19 themed version of BILLY JOEL's 'Piano Man'! Matthew says... ''I'm a huge Billy Joel fan. I've listened to him since I was a kid. It's one of the songs I can play on the piano. This was kind of a way for me to help cope with everything''. 'Corona Man' (mshosu 4:12 min)
Matthew S. Hensler, MD
April 5, 2020 Billy Joel news.
BILLY JOEL's Foundation donates $500,000. for proteactive gear; pledges further donations for relief during this coronavirus pandemic health crisis for New York hospitals. Joel and his wife, Alexis Roderick, released a statement saying... The donation is being made through the emergency aid group BStrong. The donation will go toward (PPE's) such as masks, kits and hazmat suits for the doctors and nurses in New York hospitals who lack ample supplies. 75% of the equipment will go to hospitals on Long Island and New York City, and the other 25% will go to upstate New York hospitals, where the demand is less.
BILLY JOEL's oldest daughter, Alexa Ray Joel (34) who's mother is model Christie Brinkley, has been engaged to entrepreneur Ryan Gleason since January 2018. The planned wedding was to take place this year (2020), but due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the wedding has now been put on hold until...
March 29, 2020 Billy Joel news.
Below is a special message and photo from BILLY JOEL and wife Alexis, commenting about the Coronavirus pandemic and the way our New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo is stepping up and leading the way in the United States epicenter of this virus here in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo is a 24/7, 365 days a year Governor. Besides governing, below are photos of his involvement in such events as the yearly 9-11 Memorials, the 'Friends of the Harbor' clean up.... and way too much more to mention! The Governor is shown below, photographed with BILLY JOEL, wife Alexis Joel and their children, which are the Governor's godchildren, and the special message.
As assumed in our March 14, 2020 Blog, BILLY JOEL's two other upcoming concerts, the April 18, 2020 concert at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N. Carolina and the May 2, 2020 concert at New York's Madison Square Garden were postponed and rescheduled due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The new dates are April 17, 2021 and November 13, 2020 respectively. All tickets to previous dates honored on new dates. Rescheduling is possible for other furture concerts. Check back to this website, mylifebillyjoel.com for updates.
March 14, 2020 Billy Joel news.
Due to the (Coronavirus, COVID-19) outbreak, BILLY JOEL's concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 19, 2020 and April 10, 2020, are postponed and rescheduled to September 26, 2020, and October 11, 2020 respectively. Also in jeopardy of being postponed and rescheduled, are the April 18, 2020 BILLY JOEL concert at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N. Carolina, and BILLY JOEL's May 2, 2020 concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Check back later this month, on this website, mylifebillyjoel.com for lastest information on possible date changes.
March 11, 2020 Billy Joel news.
I meet BILLY JOEL for the first time in 1976 on Long Island, New York when he was an up and coming musician. (I was starstruck, hence this website) Known mostly in the Tri-state area back then (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) BILLY JOEL constantly toured the country to promote himself and his music. Well 45 years later, BILLY JOEL is known all over the world! BILLY JOEL has held concerts in Japan, Russia, Australia, the United Kingdom, etc... and just recently, he performed at Foro Sol Stadium in Mexico City, Mexico, where the native tongue is Spanish, but everyone sang the chorus to 'Piano Man' in English! Below are two videos, with photos, from the March 6, 2020 Mexico City BILLY JOEL concert! 'Piano Man' (Best video > 7:08 min by - S P) Encore: 'You My Be Right' (Best video > 9:14 min by - Dan Delaney)
Edmund George BILLY JOEL, Mexico City, Mexico Edmund going wild in Mexico!
I had the pleasure of meeting the two BILLY JOEL fans on right, Edmund and George, at a BILLY JOEL pre-concert dinner on November 15, 2019 in New York City. Pictured here are the two, true-blue fans of BILLY JOEL, with friends, at the Foro Sol Stadium in Mexico City, for the BILLY JOEL concert in Mexico! I'm photographed, see (November 2019 Blog) with both of them, and they're wearing the same BILLY JOEL concert shirts (pictured) that they wear to every BILLY JOEL concert! And these guys attend them all, no matter where! (Also see Edmund / George in Fan Photos)
February 27, 2020 Billy Joel news.
The last time BILLY JOEL played the 'Garden' in New York City, on January 25, 2020, burglars broke into his home, smashed twelve of his motorcylcles and trashed his home office! Well, BILLY JOEL has apparently ramped-up security at his estate with state-of-the-art CCTV cameras, floodlights, alarms, guard dogs and guns! During his concert at Madison Square Garden on February 20, 2020 - BILLY JOEL dares the burglars to try it again!
January 30, 2020 Billy Joel news.
TMZ photo of a not-so-happy BILLY JOEL during the investigation (Police officer in background)
The weekend of January 25/26 some 'Big Shot' broke into BILLY JOEL's Centre Island, New York mansion, trashing and damaging a dozen motorcycles that were in his garage, as well as his home office! BILLY JOEL discovered the break-in and damage when he retuned home Monday morning on 1/27/20, and called the police. The police 'May Be Right' when they said, 'It Just May Be A Lunatic They're Looking For'. Understandably, BILLY JOEL is upset and an 'Angry Young Man', knowing that someone would trespass onto his property and damage his treasured personal motorcycles. The police are under 'Pressure' to find and arrest the culprit to this crime, fast! The intruder gained access into the house by smashing the glass to the door that leads into the garage.
Actual photo provided by TMZ
TMZ photos of Nassau County Police and Centre Island Police investigating crime scene at BILLY JOEL's estate.
I love reading mystery novels. I watch Forensic Files, CSI and Court TV, and should have became a private investigator, but I didn't. But I will tell you this, my theory on this BILLY JOEL break-in.
I have been living on the north shore of Long Island, N.Y. where the crime occurred, three miles from BILLY JOEL's estate, for thirty years. I know much about the area, and I have some theories. And here they are.
The suspects: (1). A furious, annoyed and irate neighbor on Centre Island who hired someone to carry out this crime. (2). A business deal gone bad within the last two years. (3). A disgruntled ex-employee. According to the police report, nothing was stolen or missing. Odd? But twelve of BILLY JOEL's motorcycles that were kept in his garage, were smashed and damaged, and his home office was trashed. So this was not a burglary, this was personal!
Opportunity: It was a known fact that BILLY JOEL would be in concert at New York's Madison Square Garden on Saturday night 1/25/20, and nobody would be home. Arriving by car would not be an option for the intruder. The village of Centre Island, N.Y. is a peninsula. One way in, and one way out. The Centre Island police would notice all vehicles entering or leaving. But if this were true, the trespasser would have to leave their vehicle on a private street, where parking is prohibited, in front of the estate's gate, hop a fence, walk the grounds (16 acres) towards the house, and then come back the same way he came in. Not likely. The intruder probably arrived from the rear of the estate by skiff (a small boat), via Oyster Bay harbor to the shoreline, or walked the shoreline from a residence on Centre Island, under the cover of night.
Motives: There are several. First, BILLY JOEL has been renovating his estate for years. Adding additions to his mansion for his expanding family, adding a dock for his boats, and a helipad (helicopter landing pad) for commuting convenience. Hence, constant construction and noise, most certainly annoying neighbors.
Secondly, due to a local ordinance, no docks could be built after 1960 in this area. The docks that were alreadly there, prior to that year, were grandfathered in. Many residences did apply for permits to build docks, but were denied, including BILLY JOEL. But BILLY JOEL had a dock built for his three boats, within the past two years, maybe because he has a personal relationship with the Govenor of New York State, and who is also the Godfather to two of BILLY JOEL's daughters. So some people may have resented that BILLY JOEL got special treatment allowing him to build his dock, when others could not.
And thirdly, and most likely, his helipad, in which there are now (4) four on Centre Island. BILLY JOEL commutes via helicopter to his gigs in New York City and out of state concerts to JFK via helicopter. Although it's usually less than 10x times a month, most neighbors are annoyed by the noise in this otherwise quiet community. BILLY JOEL was the latest resident to get a helipad on Centre Island, N.Y., and neighbors have now had enough of helipads and the noise, taking their complaints to the town board.
So the Centre Island Board of Trustees limited helicopter take-offs and landings from Centre Island, N.Y. But there are other people who live on Centre Island, who commute leisurely for pleasure, and daily for business (50x times a month) into Manhattan by helicopter, and are probably furious and enraged due to now limited take-offs and landings, and may be blaming BILLY JOEL for the town boards decision for limited use. (Centre Island to New York City by car- 2 hours, by helicopter- 15 minutes)
So, could it be one of the neighbors who hired the intruder that had BILLY JOEL's motorcycles smashed and his home office trashed? My instinct tells me the prime suspect would be one of BILLY JOEL's upset neighbors. I would also consider and question people who had recent BILLY JOEL business dealings gone bad, and all ex-employees who might have felt slighted. Everyone mentioned above is a suspect, though I believe it was one of the neighbors. I have no proof or evidence of anything, so this is all speculation on my part as an amateur sleuth. But I will tell you this, whoever did orchestrate this crime was sending BILLY JOEL a message. Because this was not a burglary, this was personal!
January 28, 2020 Billy Joel news.
At BILLY JOEL's monthly Madison Square Garden concert in New York City, a special music guest showed up! None other than Jon Bon Jovi. See Video: by JOEL FN