Where is Billy?

Upcoming Billy Joel concerts include Frankfurt & London

Billy Joel concerts-Frankfurt-London-2016Personal heroes, we all have them. When one of my greatest musical heroes, Billy Joel, announced his plans for yet another tour, this reminded me that it was high time I devoted an article to this remarkable artist.

After a period of relative peace and quiet, having completed several farewell tours, Billy Joel has announced that he will be back on the road in 2016. Fabulous news for all the fans of this American pianist, singer-songwriter and rock legend. During his 2016 tour, Billy Joel will not only be performing in the US, but also in the UK and Germany. For Dutchmen like me, his concerts in London and Frankfurt will probably be the nearest opportunities to see the great man in action.

From classical to rock

With my background in classical music and love of pop and rock music, Billy Joel has always been a great source of inspiration for me. As a pianist, composer and singer-songwriter with a great interest in classical music, Billy Joel has always explored the boundaries between genres. His vast body of work ranges from classical music to pop, rock, jazz and beyond. Passion, beautiful melodies and a powerful message – that’s what good music is all about (not labels!) A man after my own heart. And I am not the only one to have been affected by his songs. With over 150 million records sold, 33 Top 40-hits and 23 Grammy nominations, Billy is among the most successful artists on the planet!

Piano Man with a rock artist temperament

Billy Joel’s music speaks for itself, but his bad-boy image probably contributed significantly to his celebrity status. Piano songs used to be the domain of sensitive, somewhat soft and sentimental musicians. That is, until piano man Billy Joel came along, with his excessive alcohol abuse, womanizing and tough rock guitarist attitude. An innovative combination!


Political ‘history nut’ Billy Joel

Many of his songs are based on his personal experiences and background. His political songs have always held most appeal for me. Several of his songs, such as Goodnight Saigon, Leningrad and We Didn’t Start The Fire, were inspired by historical events. In We Didn’t Start The Fire, Billy Joel lists a series of historical events and historical figures from World War II until into the ’80s. My favourites also include some of his ballads, like New York State Of Mind.

Being a complete ‘history nut’ (he even considered becoming a history teacher), this artist has performed some amazing historical concerts. He was the first rock artist to perform in the former Soviet Union (which was highly exceptional at the time!), but his highlights also include more recent performances such as the White House Concert for the Obamas and, of course, ‘Concert for Sandy‘ in New York on 12 December 2012, for the victims of hurricane Sandy. During the latter concert, Billy Joel joined forces with artists including Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, and Coldplay. The event was watched by two billion people and raised 32 million dollars!

(In case you missed it, here’s your chance:)

So, where is Billy? Billy Joel is everywhere. Intertwined in our recent music history, in countless record collections – fortunately, also of younger generations who are starting to (re)discover him – and even on stage again this year, in Frankfurt, London and who knows where else…!
Are you planning to see the legend in action? I’ld love to hear what you think!

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