Steinway Hall Honors Billy Joel
With Piano Man being the song that launched Billy Joel’s career, it seems fitting that this popular musician has been inducted into Steinway Hall New York, one of the centers for the legendary piano makers, Steinway and Sons. The fact that he is the only non-classical musician to have been honored in this way is a testament to his talent and popular appeal. His larger-than-life painting will hang alongside that of Vladimir Horowitz (1903-1989), the Russian pianist who was one of Joel’s idols. Other legendary musicians to have their portraits hung in the Steinway Hall include Arthur Rubinstein, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Franz Liszt. In addition to the New York Steinway Hall opened in 1925 – replacing the original 1864 showroom – there are also Steinway Halls in London, Vienna, Hamburg, Munich, Berlin and Tokyo.
Born in May 1949 in the Bronx, New York, William Martin Joel is an accomplished singer-songwriter, performer and composer. His first hit song Piano Man was released in 1973 and he went on to notch up a string of original Top 40 hits in the years that followed. As the recipient of six Grammy Awards and 23 Grammy nominations, Joel has sold more than 150 million records around the world. In 1992, he was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, with an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999, with inductions into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame following in 2006 and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2009.
With his father being a talented classical pianist, Billy Joel had been exposed to music at a young age, but was reportedly not keen to learn to play the piano himself, and it was at his mother’s insistence that he took lessons. In 1964, after seeing The Beatles featured on the Ed Sullivan Show, Joel was inspired to make music his career, forming a group called the Echoes, which had a measure of success in New York. He was 14-years old at the time. The following years saw Billy Joel produce hit after hit, being declared by Billboard magazine to be number 23 in their 2008 Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists. Billy Joel continues to tour, offering entertainment to fans far and wide who appreciate the talent of the Piano Man.