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[ Live From Long Island ]
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[ The Video Album: Volume II ]
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[ Greatest Hits: Volume III ]
[ The Essential Video Collection ]
[ Rock Masters: Billy Joel ]
[ The Last Play at Shea ]



"Surveillance"
By: George Rush & Joanna Molloy
(June 1st, 2002)

"A very eligible Billy Joel showed up with five exotic women at Fuel on the Bowery the other night. "It was like the UN of babes," said a spywitness...."


"Hitting A Sour Note"
By: George Rush & Joanna Molloy
(June 15th, 2002)

A fender bender prevented Billy Joel from showing up at the "Songwriters Hall of Fame" dinner Thursday.

"He was driving in the rain down a slippery road in Sag Harbor and his car swerved and hit a pole," said Joel's spokeswoman. "Nobody else was hurt, but his face was bruised and swollen on one side, so he decided not to go. He was extremely disappointed to miss it."


"At Heart, A 'Stranger' To Pop's Fast Lane"
By: Glenn Gamboa
(June 19th, 2002)

Billy Joel has never seemed like one of those hard-living, untouchable rock stars. He's always been more like a cool neighbor - a regular guy who just happens to be one of the most successful singer-songwriters in music history.

Though he has sold more than 77 million albums since busting on the scene in 1971 with his debut "Cold Spring Harbor" album, the 53 year-old native of the Bronx who grew up in Levittown, has managed to stay grounded, maintaining - in public, at least - a healthy outlook about the world and his place in it.

That well-known, down-to-earth demeanor made yesterday's announcement of his entry into Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut for treatment a surprise to fans and those in the music industry.

"He just never seemed like the type to have this kind of problem," said one concert promoter who asked not to be identified. "There was never any talk like that about him."

"Talk like that" about Joel did begin to circulate after the cancellation of high-profile concerts with Elton John at Madison Square Garden and Nassau Coliseum in March. Joel's spokeswoman, Claire Mercuri, said the cancellations were due to a well-documented respiratory ailment that had been dogging Joel for weeks. However, the absences seemed to fuel growing rumors of a possible alcohol abuse problem stemming from sightings around Long Island.

Some said Joel had been gaining weight, while others said he uncharacteristically had lost his cool with some fans.

Mercuri declined to discuss the nature of Joel's problems, saying he was seeking treatment for a "specific and personal problem that had recently developed." The problem had developed in recent months, however, and Joel made the decision to enter Silver Hill in May, she said.

Few of Joel's friends and associates wanted to discuss his personal problems yesterday, though many were confident he would work out his issues.

After all, in recent years, especially since his decision to focus on writing classical music after 1993's "River of Dreams” album, Joel has lived pretty normally out in the Hamptons. He spends a lot of time on his boats and proudly watching Alexa Ray, his daughter with Christie Brinkley, grow into a teenager and a singer-songwriter herself.

Joel's relationship with his ex-wife Brinkley remains so cordial that she even set him up on a date with Trish Bergin, the former News 12 Long Island reporter who now works for "Inside Edition." Joel and Bergin dated for several months before breaking up.

His career continues to grow, even though he hasn't written a new rock song in more than nine years. He had a Grammy nomination this year for a duet with Tony Bennett. His "New York State of Mind" became a source of local comfort after the terrorist acts of September 11th, 2001. And he came in at #29 recently on Rolling Stone's list of top-grossing musicians, pulling in an estimated $17.1 million last year, mainly from his "Face 2 Face" concerts with John.

Those close to Joel said his spirits have been high since the release of his classical music debut "Fantasies & Delusions" last fall, a record that means as much to him as his string of working-man hits such as "Piano Man" and "Only the Good Die Young."

Joel's rock albums continue to sell well, with his "Greatest Hits, Volume I & Volume II," topping more than 21 million copies to become the fifth-biggest album of all-time. A collaboration with choreographer Twyla Tharp has yielded a musical, "Movin' Out," that is set to open in Chicago this month before coming to Broadway in October.

Despite his ongoing successes, Joel talked with Newsday in March about coming to a crossroads in his life, one he would have to confront after his successful "Face 2 Face" tour with John came to an end.

"I have no idea what I'm going to do," Joel said then. "It's an interesting place to be. It's not the most secure feeling in the world, but that's OK, too. Sometimes not being secure is a good motivator."


"'Piano Man' Checks Into Silver Hill Hospital"
By: Eve Sullivan
(June 19th, 2002)

Singer Billy Joel is the latest celebrity to check into Silver Hill Hospital for substance abuse treatment, sources say.

Joel, 53, who recently postponed concert dates for his "Face 2 Face" Tour 2002 with Elton John, reportedly arrived at the 208 Valley Road facility last week.

The New Canaan Police Department increased patrols near Silver Hill over the weekend because of the celebrity's presence, a police source said.

Police officials would not comment on extra patrols yesterday.

One source said Joel is receiving counseling at the facility's chemical dependency treatment center.

During a reporter's visit yesterday to the sprawling 60-acre campus, a handful of patients standing outside said they had not seen Joel or heard anything about his stay.

"I did hear someone famous was coming," a patient said.

A Silver Hill spokeswoman would not comment on whether the "Piano Man" is at the facility.

"We cannot confirm or deny any patient's presence at Silver Hill Hospital," she said. "Everything is strictly confidential."

Joel - whose hits include "Just The Way You Are," "New York State of Mind" and "Only The Good Die Young" - recently rescheduled tour dates with John, saying he was ill.

According to the Sony Entertainment's Billy Joel web-site, BillyJoel.com, the singer-songwriter was placed under a doctor's supervision for acute laryngitis, inflamed vocal cords and an upper-respiratory infection.

Joel's publicist did not return a phone call seeking comment yesterday.

The Long Island, NY, resident joins a long list of celebrities who have spent time at the psychiatric and substance abuse treatment center.

Pop star Mariah Carey checked into Silver Hill last summer after suffering an "emotional and physical breakdown," according to her publicist.

At that time, police said they had to deal with media members parked outside and a low-flying aircraft.

Other notable patients include Michael Jackson, Liza Minnelli, Gregg Allman and Joan Kennedy.

The hospital, built in 1931, is near the Wilton border. It has a capacity of about 85 patients and is known for its individual care.


"Report: Billy Joel Checks Into Hospital For Substance Abuse Treatment"
(June 19th, 2002)

Billy Joel has checked into a hospital for substance abuse treatment, The Advocate of Stamford reported.

The 53 year-old singer-songwriter arrived at Silver Hill Hospital last week, The Advocate reported Wednesday, citing sources it did not identify.

Joel, a resident of Long Island, NY, is receiving counseling at the facility's chemical dependency treatment center, a source told The Advocate. The newspaper said a Silver Hill spokeswoman would not comment, citing patient confidentiality.

Telephone messages were left Wednesday morning for a hospital spokeswoman and a publicist for Joel.

Joel, whose hits include "Piano Man," "Just The Way You Are," "Only The Good Die Young" and "Uptown Girl," recently rescheduled concert tour dates with Elton John, saying he was ill.

According to Sony Entertainment's Billy Joel web-site, BillyJoel.com, the singer-songwriter was placed under a doctor's supervision for acute laryngitis, inflamed vocal cords and an upper-respiratory infection.

The resident joins a long list of celebrities who have spent time at the psychiatric and substance abuse treatment center.

Pop star Mariah Carey checked into Silver Hill last summer after suffering an "emotional and physical breakdown," according to her publicist. Other notable patients have included Michael Jackson, Liza Minnelli, Gregg Allman and Joan Kennedy.


"Billy Joel Checks Into Substance Abuse and Psychiatric Hospital for 'Personal Problem'"
(June 19th, 2002)

Billy Joel has checked himself into a substance abuse and psychiatric hospital for a "personal problem," his record label said Wednesday.

The 53 year-old, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter is staying at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut. Joel's stay was first reported in Wednesday's The Advocate of Stamford.

A brief statement released by Columbia Records said: "Billy Joel recently checked himself into Silver Hill Hospital for a planned 10-day stay to deal with a specific and personal problem that had recently developed.

"Joel scheduled his stay in Silver Hill several weeks ago and expects to leave in a few days, as planned."

A publicist for Joel was unavailable for comment. The Advocate, citing unidentified sources, said the singer was receiving counseling at Silver Hill's chemical dependency treatment center.

Joel, whose hits include "Piano Man," "Just The Way You Are," "Only The Good Die Young" and "Uptown Girl," in March rescheduled a joint tour with Elton John, saying he was ill. The tour is to begin again in September.

A review in The New York Times of a show shortly before the postponement described him as rambling and bellowing, and said Joel "seemed to have ingested something quite a bit stronger than cough syrup."

He was placed under a doctor's supervision for acute laryngitis, inflamed vocal cords and an upper-respiratory infection, according to Sony Entertainment's Billy Joel web-site, BillyJoel.com.

A long list of celebrities have spent time at Silver Hill's psychiatric and substance abuse treatment center. Pop star Mariah Carey checked in last summer after an "emotional and physical breakdown," according to her publicist. Other patients have included Michael Jackson, Liza Minnelli, Gregg Allman and Joan Kennedy.


"Billy Joel In Rehab"
By: Josh Grossberg
(June 19th, 2002)

Billy Joel is apparently looking for a substance-free state of mind.

The "Piano Man" has checked into Silver Hill Hospital in Connecticut for treatment in its chemical dependency program, according to a report in the local Advocate of Stamford.

The 53 year-old Joel shelved concert dates on his "Face 2 Face" Tour 2002 with fellow ivory-tickler Elton John and was admitted to the facility last week to seek counseling for an undisclosed substance abuse problem, the Advocate reported, citing unidentified sources.

A hospital spokesperson on Wednesday refused to confirm whether the entertainer was being treated there, citing patient confidentiality.

Joel's record label, Sony Entertainment, originally issued a statement on BillyJoel.com blaming the canceled shows on illness, saying the Hall of Fame singer-songwriter was suffering from acute laryngitis, inflamed vocal cords and an upper-respiratory infection.

However, reps for Joel finally came clean on Wednesday and issued a statement confirming he was in the clinic for an undisclosed "personal problem."

"Billy Joel recently checked himself into Silver Hill Hospital for a planned 10-day stay to deal with a specific and personal problem that had recently developed. Joel scheduled his stay in Silver Hill several weeks ago and expects to leave the facility in a few days, as planned."

Silver Hill hospital's drug and psychiatric center is notable for treating such celebrities as Liza Minnelli, Michael Jackson, Gregg Allman and, most recently, Mariah Carey, who sought counseling there after suffering an "emotional and physical breakdown" last summer.

Joel, the Long Island native known for such classic hits as "Only The Good Die Young," "It's Still Rock and Roll To Me," "Uptown Girl," "She's Always A Woman" and "New York State of Mind," hasn't had an album of new material since 1993's "River of Dreams." (There have been several greatest-hits compilations, a live album and a classical album of piano compositions, "Fantasies & Delusions," for which he wrote the music but didn't perform.)

Still, he has been a workhorse on the road, touring constantly by himself and with John. Joel - who has won six Grammys including the Living Legend Award - has admitted in his "Behind The Music" to losing millions of dollars over the years to unscrupulous managers and needing to tour to recharge his bank account.

In 1998, he was forced to scrap several dates of a European tour after coming down with a bad case of laryngitis.

However, in a review of a "Face 2 Face" show in March, The New York Times hinted that Joel was facing more than just throat problems.

"When Mr. Joel emerged for his set, there was sympathy as well as adulation: The audience had been warned that he had a cold. But Mr. Joel seemed to have ingested something quite a bit stronger than cough syrup," wrote critic Kelefa Sanneh.

Sanneh added: "The concert ended with an unusual rendition of Mr. Joel's "Piano Man." As he got to the most famous line - "Son, can you play me a memory? I'm not really sure how it goes" - Mr. Joel looked as if he were about to nod off. And so, with Sir Elton's help, the audience took over the role of the "Piano Man," singing a sentimental song to a washed-out fellow who once knew the words."

In a recent "60 Minutes" interview, the twice-divorced Joel told Steve Kroft that, while he can't hit the high notes like he used to, he still looks forward to putting on a good show and is "happier now than I have been in a long time."

"You know, happiness is an extreme, just like sadness is an extreme. I think there's a great deal to be said for contentment. And I'm a very contented person," he said.


"Billy Joel In Hospital For 'Personal Problem'"
Singer/Pianist Checks Self Into Connecticut Substance Abuse/Psychiatric Facility

By: Alyssa Rashbaum
(June 19th, 2002)

Billy Joel has checked himself into a Connecticut substance abuse and psychiatric hospital, according to his label, Columbia.

The 53 year-old artist entered New Canaan's Silver Hill Hospital for "a planned 10-day stay to deal with a specific and personal problem that had recently developed," according to a statement released Wednesday (June 19th, 2002). The statement offered no further explanation.

Wednesday's issue of The Advocate of Stamford was the first to report the singer's stay, explaining that Joel was undergoing treatment for an unnamed illness at the hospital's chemical dependency treatment center. Columbia's statement said he "scheduled his stay in Silver Hill several weeks ago and expects to leave in a few days, as planned."

This would be the second bout of ill health for Joel this year. In March the singer postponed and rescheduled a tour with Elton John due to illness.


"Billy's Beach House!"
Billy Joel Is Selling His Hamptons Manse - 5 Bedroom Retreat In North Haven, NY, Price - $8.5 Million

By: Tricia Johnson
(June 19th, 2002)

The "Piano Man" is changing his tune. Just five months after Billy Joel snapped up this waterfront retreat for $7 million, it's back on the market. A local real estate broker says Joel abruptly stopped renovations. Built in 1955, the traditional-style home sits on 5.6 acres with a tennis court, a pool, and a pool house. The property includes 340 feet of bayfront with a deepwater dock, a rare commodity. Sources say it appealed to Joel because he has a boat-building business. After famously selling his East Hampton home to Jerry Seinfeld two years ago for around $30 million, fickle buyer Joel bought a home on neighboring Shelter Island as well as another house near chez Seinfeld.

"Piano Man's Sad Song"
By: Marsha Kranes
(June 20th, 2002)

Billy Joel has checked himself into rehab in a bid to overcome his addiction problems - while the woman who dumped him and broke his heart is off on her honeymoon with her new man.

Colleagues of the "Piano Man's" ex-love Trish Bergin think her newfound happiness with someone else very likely brought Joel's substance-abuse problems to a head.

The fresh-faced former Long Island News 12 anchor - who is 31 and pregnant - married Southampton lawyer Randi Weichbrodt on June 4th, 2002.

On Monday, 53 year-old Joel checked himself into Silver Hill Hospital, a prestigious psychiatric and substance-abuse facility in New Canaan, Connecticut.

Joel's Columbia Records publicist, Claire Mercuri, yesterday confirmed he was in the hospital "for a planned 10-day stay to deal with a specific and personal problem that had recently developed."

She said he had scheduled his treatment "several weeks ago and expects to leave the facility in a few days, as planned."

She would provide no details about the nature of his treatment. Silver Hill officials wouldn't even acknowledge he is there.

But the Stamford Advocate newspaper, which broke the story yesterday, cited sources as saying Joel was receiving counseling in Silver Hill's chemical-dependency treatment center.

Joel's drinking was partially responsible for Bergin's decision to dump him.

A colleague said Bergin - who was introduced to Joel by his ex-wife Christie Brinkley - was upset about his excessive drinking and was thinking of splitting from him. She finally did after she showed up at his home unexpectedly and found him in bed with another woman.

Joel, distraught and repentant, showered Bergin with Dom Perignon and flowers, begging for a second chance.

She finally broke down in March 2001, after he sent her a photo of a $50,000 boat and a set of keys for her birthday. But the reconciliation didn't stick.

A Bergin colleague, asked if the newscaster had broken up with the rocker because he had fallen off the wagon, replied bluntly: "He was never on the wagon."

Joel's problems had become more apparent in recent months.

In March, the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter had to reschedule his sold-out "Face 2 Face" Tour 2002 with Elton John. The reason given: inflamed vocal cords, an acute upper respiratory infection and laryngitis.

But his last performance - on March 15th, 2002 at Madison Square Garden - raised reviewers' eyebrows.

"Joel croaked and wrung his hands as if they were so sweaty he was gonna slip off the piano," noted Dan Aquilante in his review in The Post.

"The audience had been warned that he had a cold. But Mr. Joel seemed to have ingested something quite a bit stronger than cough syrup," wrote New York Times reviewer Kelefa Sanneh.

Rehab is not new to Joel. At the age of 21 he spent three weeks in a psychiatric ward after making a halfhearted attempt at suicide. He later said he had been depressed over the breakup of a serious romance and his lack of success as a professional musician.


"At Heart, A 'Stranger' To Pop's Fast Lane"
By: Glenn Gamboa
(June 20th, 2002)

Billy Joel has never seemed like one of those hard-living, untouchable rock stars. He's always been more like a cool neighbor - a regular guy who just happens to be one of the most successful singer-songwriters in music history.

Though he has sold more than 77 million albums since busting on the scene in 1971 with his debut "Cold Spring Harbor" album, the 53 year-old native of the Bronx who grew up in Levittown, has managed to stay grounded, maintaining - in public, at least - a healthy outlook about the world and his place in it.

That well-known, down-to-earth demeanor made yesterday's announcement of his entry into Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Conn. for treatment a surprise to fans and those in the music industry.

"He just never seemed like the type to have this kind of problem," said one concert promoter who asked not to be identified. "There was never any talk like that about him."

"Talk like that" about Joel did begin to circulate after the cancellation of high-profile concerts with Elton John at Madison Square Garden and Nassau Coliseum in March. Joel's spokeswoman, Claire Mercuri, said the cancellations were due to a well-documented respiratory ailment that had been dogging Joel for weeks. However, the absences seemed to fuel growing rumors of a possible alcohol abuse problem stemming from sightings around Long Island.

Some said Joel had been gaining weight, while others said he uncharacteristically had lost his cool with some fans.

Mercuri declined to discuss the nature of Joel's problems, saying he was seeking treatment for a "specific and personal problem that had recently developed." The problem had developed in recent months, however, and Joel made the decision to enter Silver Hill in May, she said.

Few of Joel's friends and associates wanted to discuss his personal problems yesterday, though many were confident he would work out his issues.

After all, in recent years, especially since his decision to focus on writing classical music after 1993's "River of Dreams" album, Joel has lived pretty normally out in the Hamptons. He spends a lot of time on his boats and proudly watching Alexa Ray, his daughter with Christie Brinkley, grow into a teenager and a singer-songwriter herself.

Joel's relationship with his ex-wife Brinkley remains so cordial that she even set him up on a date with Trish Bergin, the former News 12 Long Island reporter who now works for "Inside Edition." Joel and Bergin dated for several months before breaking up.

His career continues to grow, even though he hasn't written a new rock song in more than nine years. He had a Grammy nomination this year for a duet with Tony Bennett. His "New York State of Mind" became a source of local comfort after the terrorist acts of September 11th, 2001. And he came in at #29 recently on Rolling Stone's list of top-grossing musicians, pulling in an estimated $17.1 million last year, mainly from his "Piano Men" concerts with John.

Those close to Joel said his spirits have been high since the release of his classical music debut "Fantasies & Delusions" last fall, a record that means as much to him as his string of working-man hits such as "Piano Man" and "Only The Good Die Young"

Joel's rock albums continue to sell well, with his "Greatest Hits: Volume I & Volume II," topping more than 21 million copies to become the fifth-biggest album of all time. A collaboration with choreographer Twyla Tharp has yielded a musical, "Movin' Out," that is set to open in Chicago this month before coming to Broadway in October.

Despite his ongoing successes, Joel talked with Newsday in March about coming to a crossroads in his life, one he would have to confront after his successful "Face 2 Face" Tour with John came to an end.

"I have no idea what I'm going to do," Joel said then. "It's an interesting place to be. It's not the most secure feeling in the world, but that's OK, too. Sometimes not being secure is a good motivator."


"Rehab State of Mind"
Sources: Joel Enters Treatment Facility

By: Robert Kahn
(June 20th, 2002)

Billy Joel checked in to a Connecticut rehab center favored by pop stars to get control of an alcohol problem, friends and associates said yesterday.

The move elicited surprise and words of support from fans and acquaintances of the platinum-selling singer-songwriter, who grew up on Long Island and became a fixture on the East End for his work in environmental causes and a staple in gossip columns that have chronicled his social life.

Friends said the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, 53, had gotten to the point that he felt he needed help.

"Billy has felt his drinking has really been controlling him in ways he did not like, and he is hoping to get it behind him," one told Newsday.

A spokeswoman for Columbia Records, Joel's label, said the singer checked in to Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut, to deal with "a specific and personal problem that had recently developed." He is due to leave June 27th, 2002.

The Advocate newspaper in Stamford, Connecticut, quoted a hospital worker as saying Joel checked in for the sake of his daughter, Alexa, 16. The worker said Joel was there to treat an addiction to wine.

Yesterday, a state police car with two troopers guarded the entrance to the hospital, which has treated stars such as pop diva Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson and Liza Minnelli.

Joel made news in the spring when his publicists cited inflamed vocal cords in canceling several metro-area concert dates with Elton John. But Claire Mercuri, the Columbia spokeswoman, said the problem that led him to Silver Hill was not related to the cancellations.

Although Silver Hill would not reveal details, associates said Joel entered the facility Monday for the planned 10-day stay.

A friend said a car accident last week in Sag Harbor that prevented Joel from attending a Songwriters Hall of Fame dinner at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers left him shaken.

"The accident last week scared him," the friend told Newsday, even though alcohol was not cited as a factor in the one-car incident the night of June 12th, 2002.

An East Hampton Town police report indicates the accident occurred at 11:38pm Joel told police he was driving northeast on Hands Creek Road "when he realized he was going to miss his turn at the intersection with Springy Banks Road," Officer Nelson Vargas wrote. "He attempted to turn left, lost control of his vehicle and struck a fire well and post."

"There was no sign of alcohol," Chief Todd Sarris said.

Joel, who was alone in the 1999 Mercedes-Benz four-door sedan, refused medical attention for minor cuts and scrapes on his head. His car was towed.

Joel has owned property in Sag Harbor since selling his waterfront home in Amagansett to Jerry Seinfeld for $32 million, but a police report lists his home address on Hamilton Avenue in White Plains, which is in a business district.

Mercuri said the accident was "100 percent unrelated" to Joel's entering Silver Hill: "It was only a little fender-bender. He had made his decision to go several weeks ago."

"Inside Edition" newswoman Trish Bergin, who had an oft-documented on-again, off-again romance with Joel, said yesterday she didn't want to talk about their relationship.

"It's ancient history," Bergin said through a spokeswoman.

Bergin, who had worked at cable's News 12 Long Island, recently married and is expecting a child. She and Joel had been introduced by the singer's second wife, supermodel Christie Brinkley.

East End friends said they knew Joel to be a moderate drinker.

"I was at his 50th birthday party that went on for three days and there was champagne and there were toasts, but he drank no more than most people," said Arnold Leo, secretary of the East Hampton Town Baymen's Association, an organization that Joel has supported.

Other Joel fans said they were saddened and surprised.

"Billy Joel was my first concert ever," Mike Meseika said wistfully on a break from his job at the Sam Goody music store in Forest Hills. "I'm kind of surprised, not knowing he had a problem."

Said Michael Smith, salesman at the Tower Records on Broadway at 66th Street: "His stuff will always sell, rehab or not.


"A Bottle of Red? Joel Reportedly Treated for Alcohol Addiction"
By: Eve Sullivan
(June 20th, 2002)

Billy Joel checked into Silver Hill Hospital to battle alcohol addiction for the sake of his teenage daughter, a source told The Advocate.

The 53 year-old Rock & Roll Hall of Famer arrived at the Valley Road facility Friday and has been staying in a 10-bedroom house with other patients, the source said.

Joel apparently decided not to stay in a celebrity cottage at the hospital, which is known for its famous patients and individual care.

The singer-songwriter is mainly addicted to alcohol, said the source, who works at Silver Hill. Joel decided to fight the addiction for his 16 year-old daughter, Alexa, whom he had with his former wife, model Christie Brinkley, the hospital worker said.

After news spread yesterday about Joel's stay, his record label, Columbia Records, released a statement saying he checked himself into the substance abuse and psychiatric facility.

"Billy Joel recently checked himself into Silver Hill Hospital for a planned 10-day stay to deal with a specific and personal problem that had recently developed," the statement said.

Police have been patrolling the secluded hospital, which is on a 60-acre campus near the Wilton border.

New Canaan police officers patrolled Valley Road yesterday afternoon and security guards were posted at hospital entrances. At least one television news crew took a live shot by the roadside.

Sources said Joel was unable to eat lunch in the hospital's main dining room yesterday because of camera crews camped outside.

Joel, whose first Top 20 single was "Piano Man" in 1974, recently postponed concert dates for his "Face 2 Face" Tour 2002 with Elton John. The shows have been rescheduled for September.

A New York Times review of the show shortly before the postponement announcement described Joel as rambling and bellowing and reported that he "seemed to have ingested something quite a bit stronger than cough syrup."

According to a Sony Entertainment web-site, Joel left the tour because he was ill and is under a doctor's care for acute laryngitis, inflamed vocal cords and an upper-respiratory infection.

A Silver Hill spokeswoman declined to comment on Joel's stay, saying everything at the hospital is confidential.

Joel's publicist did not return phone calls seeking comment.

A native of the Bronx, NY, Joel has spent most of his life in Long Island, NY. He recently was featured on a television documentary about the Hamptons, with Brinkley and their daughter.

Known for such hits as "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)," "Uptown Girl" and "It's Still Rock and Roll To Me," Joel has maintained his popularity for almost 30 years. He has been awarded four honorary college degrees and won numerous Grammy awards.

Silver Hill has played host to numerous celebrities, including Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Liza Minnelli and Tatum O'Neal.


"Daughter Sustains Billy Joel"
By: Robert Kahn
(June 21st, 2002)

Many of the loves in Billy Joel’s life come and go, but over the years, one has remained constant - his 16 year-old daughter, Alexa Ray.

Word of the pop star’s battle with the bottle - a fight sources say he has taken on in rehab in Connecticut "for the sake of his teenage daughter" - prompted friends' recollections of a dad who attends his daughter's school recitals and walks hand-in-hand with her on the streets of East Hampton.

Joel's former wife, model Christie Brinkley, has custody of Alexa Ray with her husband, architect Peter Cook.

But the teen regularly sees Joel, and Billy’s relationship with Christie is amicable, friends say.

(Brinkley did not return calls Thursday.)

"Billy's relationship with Alexa is one of those fully unconditional loves," says Arnold Leo, secretary of the East Hampton Town Baymen’s Association and an occasional Sag Harbor dining companion of Joel. "He dotes on her."

Peter Needham, a partner of Joel’s at C.H. Marine in Shelter Island, tells a story about a business meeting he tried to have with the singer.

"We were sitting there talking business, and she was across the room. She sat down and started playing piano. He just stopped talking to me, walked over, sat down next to her and the two of them started playing," says Needham.

Parents of Alexa Ray's classmates at the exclusive Ross School in East Hampton, say Joel has been a regular presence.

"About a year ago, he came to the spring recital. Alexa had a little solo singing part in it," recalls Tina Rodriguez, whose stepdaughter, Tabitha, is a Ross ninth-grader. "He came with (ex-girlfriend Trish Bergin) and of course Christie was there with her husband, and they all sat together."

East Hampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, a former teacher who taught Alexa Ray at Ross, recalls that after Joel sold his Amagansett house to Jerry Seinfeld, "I said, 'Billy, I hope you stay in this area.' And he said 'I wouldn’t leave. This is where my daughter is.'"

Schneiderman said the last time he saw Billy and Alexa Ray, about six months ago, "they were walking around East Hampton together, just holding hands."

Joel would the first to admit his attachment to Alexa Ray has made him a protective dad.

"If there are any guys out there that break her heart," he wrote in an Internet chat session, "I’m going to break their necks."


"Ailing Joel Told Pals He Wants True Love"
By: Tracy Connor
(June 21st, 2002)

In the days before he checked into a chic rehab clinic, Billy Joel confided to friends he had a bad case of the bachelor blues.

"He was down in the dumps," a close pal told the Daily News yesterday. "I think that he may be feeling a little lonely."

Joel, 53, has been dwelling on his failed marriages to Elizabeth Weber and supermodel Christie Brinkley, as well as his breakup with newscaster Trish Bergin.

In an appearance on NBC's "Today" show two weeks ago, a reporter asked the platinum-selling "Piano Man" if there was anything he'd "love to do...that you haven't done?"

"I'd like to have a long-term successful relationship with a woman," Joel said. "How about that?"

Joel and Bergin ended their tempestuous romance last year, as the story goes, after she caught him with another woman. She married a Southampton, LI, lawyer this month and is pregnant.

Friends said Joel has mentioned Bergin's wedding as one reason for his lingering depression, although one said, "I don't think he's lacking for company."

In fact, the twice-divorced dad showed up at the Bowery club Fuel a couple of weeks ago with three attractive women. And at last month's Tribeca premiere for the movie "About a Boy," Joel brought Russian fashion designer Vassa as his date.

But a longtime buddy said forays like that are rare for Joel, who doesn't hit Manhattan hot spots hunting for models like a rock star.

"He's looking for a real relationship," he said.

Last week, Joel entered Connecticut's Silver Hill Hospital - where Mariah Carey and Liza Minnelli have been treated - for a 10-day stay to deal with a "personal problem."

While it's believed he's getting alcohol-abuse counseling, his friends insisted he's not an out-of-control carouser.

"He may have felt he was drinking too much, but I don't think it was evident to anyone else," one said. "It's not like there was an intervention where people said, 'Hey, Billy, you need help.'"

Joel, who has Long Island houses in East Hampton, Shelter Island, and North Haven, is a regular at East End hangouts such as Nick & Toni's and the American Hotel.

But friends said they never or rarely saw him publicly drunk.

Joel's Columbia Records spokeswoman, Claire Mercuri, declined to say when he's leaving Silver Hill.

A revue of his music, "Movin' Out," starts previews in Chicago next week, and he's scheduled to finish a postponed tour with Elton John in September.

Tour manager Max Loubiere said Joel, who pulled out of the concerts because of throat problems this spring, is looking forward to getting back on the road.

"He's fine," Loubiere said. "He's in good shape."


"Tryin' Out"
Start With Billy Joel Songs
Add The Creative Edge of Twyla Tharp
Hang It All On The Story of Brenda and Eddie
No Wonder the "Movin' Out" Team Is A Bit Tense

By: Chris Jones
(June 23rd, 2002)

In the summer of '75, Brenda and Eddie, king and queen of the Parkway Diner, were still going steady, unaware that deep-pile carpet would not stem their inevitable fall.

In the spring of '02, Twyla and Billy, shooting to be the king and queen of a Broadway fall, did not look much like they would be sharing a bottle of white or a bottle of red any time soon.

The stakes for Brenda and Eddie, characters in a Joel song called "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant," were merely fictional. But Twyla Tharp and Billy Joel have staked their hefty real-life reputations on "Movin' Out," an expensive and highly unusual new theatrical entertainment that begins performances at the Shubert Theatre in Chicago this week and will open on Broadway in the fall.

Instigated by Tharp, a woman hitherto known almost exclusively for choreography, the show has no dialogue (and thus no book writer), no incidental music and no original songs. Although "Movin' Out" is rooted in dance, not traditional narrative, it is billed as the story of six friends whose stormy friendships wax and wane through the bucolic 1960s, the agony of Vietnam, and pain and reconciliation in the years that followed.

This story has been put together entirely from 31 existing compositions of Joel, the iconic "Piano Man."

Tharp says it all began with the central question of what happens to Brenda and Eddie.

And if you once thought Brenda and Eddie were an unlikely pair, then you haven't met Twyla and Billy.

It's a Thursday morning in May at a spiffy new rehearsal studio overlooking New York's 42nd Street, which these days looks more like Downtown Disney than a haven of urban sin.

Tharp has opened her rehearsal to visitors from the Midwest. Clearly, this is one aspect of the Broadway process that she does not especially enjoy.

This morning, Tharp is tense and Joel is late.

"I don't think we should wait another half-hour for him," says Tharp, a noted perfectionist and self-confessed workaholic who has won two Emmy Awards, choreographed five Hollywood movies (including "Hair" and "Ragtime") and created more than 100 dances for everyone from the Royal Ballet to Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Since 1965, she has maintained her own company of dancers under the name Twyla Tharp Dance.

"Billy's in the elevator," says one of the production assistants.

And, sure enough, Joel finally ambles into the rehearsal studio, spilling coffee and apologies.

The night before, Joel had been up very late playing the piano, unannounced and without charge, for a group of delighted investment banker-types who happened to be hanging out in the lobby of the swanky St. Regis Hotel.

So this morning, when the car showed up at his hotel, he had the blinds down and thought it was still the middle of the night.

"Actually," he says with a laugh as he finally sits down in the rehearsal studio, "it was the middle of the morning."

The hot beverage in Joel's hand, where the nails are bitten down short, still is wavering. "I haven't had coffee in so long," Joel says. "I've forgotten how to hold it."

Ever on task, Tharp is already moving to the first number, taken from the first act of the show, in which Brenda and Eddie were enjoying their halcyon days.

"This is 1967," says Tharp, setting up the number, "when things were all perfect and rosy."

"Summer love," adds Joel.

"Summer love," allows Tharp.

An assistant hits a button and a voice sounding very much like Joel's begins to sing, and a band sounding very much like the kind of musicians you can hear on such Joel albums as "The Stranger" or "The Nylon Curtain" begins to play.

Joel looks worried and leans over.

"You do know," he asks, with nary a trace of irony, "that this is not me singing."

For "Movin' Out," Joel's longtime musical director Tommy Byrns found a singer - Michael Cavanaugh - who sounds enough like Joel that one will have a Joel-like experience. Cavanaugh, who will head an onstage band made up mainly of longtime Joel backers, sings all of the songs in the show.

The recording moves unmistakably into the introduction of "Just The Way You Are."

Perched on a folding chair, looking at the dancers with a rather touching combination of awe and pride, Joel begins playing the chords in the air. "I didn't like this song for a long time," Joel will later say, nodding in Tharp's direction. "I thought of it as a chick song. Thanks to her, I like it again now."

A few minutes later, Tharp is setting up another number. She starts to talk about Eddie and Tony fighting together in Vietnam.

Tony? That's Anthony, the fellow who worked in a grocery store, savin' his pennies for someday. He is, of course, warned about heart attacks from a note-bearing woman named Mamma Leone and, thereafter, decides he's "Movin' Out."

In this show, Tony becomes involved with the restless Brenda.

But Tharp is getting ready to move on to where Brenda and Eddie make up - a scene she calls "The Reconciliation."

Joel, who clearly wanted his visitors to see more of the emotional guts of the show, seems sorry there are not more dramatic scenes on the agenda for the day.

"I guess we're only showing you the happy parts," he says.

Joel has been asked several times if he would compose a Broadway musical.

Scott Zeiger, who runs Clear Channel Entertainment, argues that the only way the commercial theater will attract Baby Boomers and younger audiences is to get classic rock author-musicians to write for the stage.

"These are the composers with whom we all grew up," Zeiger said in an interview. "Younger people are comfortable with their music."

Barry Manilow, Randy Newman, Paul Simon, Elton John and Jimmy Buffett all have gotten involved with musicals, albeit with varying degrees of success. The prolific Joel (he wrote 10 songs in seven weeks for his "An Innocent Man" album in 1982) was an obvious target for these suitors from Broadway. For one thing, his compositional range - which includes ballads, classical-influenced work, tenpin alley, jazz, Motown and hard-driving rock - is larger than most of his peers. For another, his big hits are more lyrically complex than most other artists' works.

Then there's the matter of Joel's undeniable clout at the box office. Over a long career, the 53 year-old composer and singer has won six Grammy Awards. In 1977, "The Stranger" spawned a remarkable four hit singles ("Just The Way You Are," "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)," "Only The Good Die Young," and "The Stranger". In October 1979, Columbia Records declared that Joel was its best-selling solo artist of the 20th Century.

But there have been some less positive issues of late. Earlier this year, Joel's tour with Elton John suffered from postponed engagements after the singer declared he had been diagnosed with acute laryngitis, inflamed vocal cords and an acute upper respiratory infection. In February, he was nominated for a Grammy Award for his collaboration with Tony Bennett on "New York State of Mind," but it has been nearly a decade since he has had a hit album. And the last hit single that many Joel fans recall was "A Matter of Trust" in 1986. (On Wednesday, a Joel spokesperson confirmed that the singer entered a Connecticut psychiatric and substance-abuse treatment center last week.)

Still, the main issue with Joel and Broadway has always been the difficulty of persuading him to actually let his songs be used. The obvious question is, why now?

"It was explained to me that this was dance," Joel says. "It was not proposed to me as someone making a musical out of my songs. They were not going to cobble together a book. My words were to be the dialogue. That was the difference this time."

Joel leans back on his chair. "To be honest, I was ready for a cringe fest," he says. "This could have been cornballed to death."

His eyes mist. "But then I saw these incredibly beautiful, finely tuned dances. For me, dance is a whole other dimension."

As he frankly admits, Joel is not so much a Tharp collaborator here as someone who has allowed his existing songs to be used. It is Tharp who has put the overall narrative together and picked which songs will be used (some are lesser-known Joel compositions such as "I've Loved These Days").

But Joel is clearly emotionally - as well as financially - involved. Like many artists at a similar stage in their career, he's thinking not of financial or popular success (he has all he needs of both) but of artistic legitimacy.

"I don't know anything about the people, politics and machinations of Broadway," Joel says. "I've written what I've written. These songs are my children. They now have a life of their own. They're going out and making a living."

Tharp has been at the top of the dance world's pile of contemporary choreographers for many years. On the face of it, a musical based on the songs of Billy Joel looks like a risk she does not need to take.

But Tharp knows the attention - and the cultural relevance - that can come from working with popular music. One of her most celebrated compositions was "Nine Sinatra Songs," an evening of contemporary dance choreographed to such torch songs as "One For The Road." A populist as much as a perfectionist, she also has long craved what entertainment industry people call "crossover appeal."

Aside from her work in Hollywood (most of which is not recent), Tharp has choreographed and directed a Broadway production of "Singin' In The Rain" in the mid-1980s, which though not a critical hit, did return its investment.

Despite Tharp's reputation for choreographic excellence and her driven personality, the world of contemporary dance has never been an especially lucrative field - especially for a choreographer with her own company of dancers to maintain. It's been a long struggle to keep those who make up Twyla Tharp Dance on constant payroll (many of them make up the cast of "Movin' Out").

But one senses that a show such as "Movin' Out" was the only way for Tharp to get the broader exposure of a major Broadway show with the kind of control she insists upon. The only way to get the control she needs is to actually control the narrative. With this show, which she first conceived two years ago, she gets the populist hook of Joel's music (which means an $8 million budget and a set by Santo Loquasto) and the freedom to forge her own vision.

Still, her affection for the Joel cannon seems born both in genuine affection - and in the choreographer's eye for finding the right roots for dance.

"Sinatra was a stylist, but he wasn't a songwriter like Billy," Tharp says, fingers tapping on a desk. "Billy captures the impulse of time and character. There's a vivid quality and a sophistication to his work. We've lived through the same times and I feel very comfortable with his material. I've really looked at these songs almost as shards."

From those shards, Tharp has put together an overall narrative arc. She says she did this by listening to Joel's entire body of songs in chronological order and finding the bigger themes in his canon - getting out of Hicksville, dealing with Vietnam, finding love and beauty in blue-collar America. She picked the dramatic songs, but she tried to avoid the kind of literality you would find in "Mamma Mia!"

In other words, although the central characters of "Movin' Out" are Brenda, Eddie and Tony, along with James (from the obscure Joel song of the same name), Judy (from "Why Judy Why") and Sgt. O'Leary (the "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)" character who becomes a bartender at night), there's the kind of fluidity to the characters that comes only from dance.

Elizabeth Parkinson, who plays the role of Brenda, for example, also is the "Uptown Girl" at another point in the show. So, at that point, is she still Brenda? Or another character?

Well, yes. But Parkinson, a longtime Tharp collaborator, prefers to see the question in another way.

"This show is unlike anything that has ever been seen on Broadway," she says. "There is no book. This is a play that's told through dance."

"This could be the antidote to what is ailing the dance world," says John Selya, who plays Eddie. "It's honest dancing. It's genuine. And it's real. And everybody loves Billy's music."

Still, one cannot help but think that the success of this show - both critically and at the box office - will depend on how well the story hangs together. Unlike "Mamma Mia!," this is not a comedy. And yet Tharp still has had to shape a story from songs that were penned, initially, as self-contained pieces.

That said, both Joel and Tharp say that bigger stories are to be found in everything Joel has penned. And the worst that could be done would be to worry too much about the lack of a book.

"I'm sick of being literal," Tharp says. "Dance is figurative and abstract."

Joel doesn't stay long at the rehearsal. Interviews done, he's on his way out. But his emotional commitment to this project - and admiration for Tharp - is palpable.

Tharp, relaxing for a brief moment just before Joel leaves, points first at herself and then at the "Piano Man" with the droopy features and the restless eyes.

"I'm really rock and roll," she says, eyes flashing. "He's really high art."


"Billy Joel's Personal Battles"
(June 24th, 2002)

Musician Billy Joel checked into a substance abuse and psychiatric hospital in Connecticut on June 19th, 2002 for an undisclosed problem. Tonight on ET, get the latest news on the "Piano Man's" personal battle.

A statement from the 53 year-old Grammy winner's spokesperson stated, "Billy Joel recently checked himself into Silver Hill Hospital for a planned 10-day stay to deal with a specific and personal problem that had recently developed. Joel scheduled his stay...several weeks ago and expects to leave in a few days, as planned."

Friends of Joel's ex-girlfriend, Trish Bergin, think her new-found happiness with another man may have led to his current health battle, according to The New York Post. Bergin, a 31 year-old Long Island news anchor, married Southampton lawyer Randi Weichbrodt earlier this month. Joel was introduced to Bergin two years ago by his ex-wife, supermodel Christie Brinkley.

This is Joel's first time in rehab. When he was 21, he spent three weeks in a psychiatric ward after attempting suicide, according to the Post. He later stated that he had been depressed over the breakup of a serious romance and his lack of success as a professional musician.

In March, Joel rescheduled a joint concert tour with Elton John, citing inflamed vocal cords, an acute upper respiratory infection and laryngitis. The "Face 2 Face" Tour 2002 is set to resume in September.


"'Movin' Out' Songlist Includes Joel's 'Innocent Man,' 'Uptown Girl,' 'Big Shot'"
By: Robert Simonson
(June 24th, 2002)

"Movin' Out," the new musical collaboration between pop legend Billy Joel and choreographer Twyla Tharp which will begin its pre-Broadway tryout in Chicago on June 25th, 2002, has released its songlist - that is, the collection of pre-existing Joel songs which will make up the narrative's score.

Among the selected tunes are such monster Joel hits as "We Didn't Start the Fire," "Big Shot," "Uptown Girl" and "Just The Way You Are," as well as more obscure early work such as "James," "Summer, Highland Falls," and "Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)." The latter, a rocking apocalyptic vision of the destruction of New York City, made a big impression when Joel played it at a charity event shortly after September 11th, 2001. The albums "The Stranger" and "An Innocent Man" were culled for five tunes apiece.
========================================================
The song list follows (in alphabetical order):

• "Air (Dublinesque)" (from the album "Fantasies & Delusions")
• "An Innocent Man" (from the album "An Innocent Man")
• "Big Man On Mulberry Street" (from the album "The Bridge")
• "Big Shot" (from the album "52nd Street")
• "Captain Jack" (from the album "Piano Man")
• "Elegy: The Great Peconic" (from the album "Music of Hope")
• "Goodnight Saigon" (from the album "The Nylon Curtain")
• "Invention in C Minor" (from the album "Fantasies & Delusions")
• "I've Loved These Days" (from the album "Turnstiles")
• "James" (from the album "Turnstiles")
• "Just The Way You Are" (from the album "The Stranger")
• "Keeping The Faith" (from the album "An Innocent Man")
• "The Longest Time" (from the album "An Innocent Man")
• "Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)" (from the album "Turnstiles")
• "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)" (from the album "The Stranger")
• "New York State of Mind" (from the album "Turnstiles")
• "Only The Good Die Young" (from the album "The Stranger")
• "Pressure" (from the album "The Nylon Curtain")
• "Reverie (Villa D'Este)" (from the album "Fantasies & Delusions")
• "The River of Dreams" (from the album "River of Dreams")
• "Running On Ice" (from the album "The Bridge")
• "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant" (from the album "The Stranger")
• "Shameless" (from the album "Storm Front")
• "She's Got A Way" (from the album "Cold Spring Harbor")
• "The Stranger" (from the album "The Stranger")
• "Summer, Highland Falls" (from the album "Turnstiles")
• "This Night" (from the album "An Innocent Man")
• "Two Thousand Years" (from the album "River of Dreams")
• "Uptown Girl" (from the album "An Innocent Man")
• "Waltz #1 (Nunley's Carousel)" (from the album "Fantasies & Delusions")
• "We Didn't Start the Fire" (from the album "Storm Front")
========================================================

As previously reported by Playbill On-Line, the leads will be played by John Selya, Elizabeth Parkinson, Keith Roberts, Ashley Tuttle, Scott Wise, Benjamin G. Bowman and Michael Cavanaugh.

"Movin' Out" will open at the Richard Rodgers on October 24th, 2001, after previews from September 30th, 2001. The Chicago run, at the Shubert Theatre, will be June 25th, 2001 - August 4th, 2001.

The casting of seasoned performers who are nonetheless not marquee names in the lead roles would seem to indicate the producers' and creative team's wish to make the unique teaming of the talents of Joel and Tharp the star attraction.

The cast of 27 is completed by Andrew Allagree, Mark Arvin, Aliane Baquerot, Alexander Brady, Holly Cruikshank, Ron De Jesus, Melissa Downey, Scott Fowler, David Gomez, Meg Gurin-Paul, Laurie Kanyok, William Marrie, Rod McCune, Jill Nicklaus, Rika Okamoto, Karine Plantadit Bageot, Lawrence Rabson, Katya Shelkanova, Dana Stackpole and John Todd.

The principals are a group highly steeped in dance, as opposed to theatre. Their prominence in the piece would seem to lend authority to accounts that Movin' Out will be a show heavy on song and dance, and light on book (in fact, no librettist is attached to the project). One source close to project said the musical's tale will be told entirely through Joel's songs and Tharp's footwork.

Parkinson and Wise were both featured dancers in the Broadway revue, Fosse. Wise first made his mark in Jerome Robbins' Broadway, winning a Tony for his work. The two hoofers are husband and wife.

Roberts was also in Fosse as well as Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake. Selya is a veteran of many seasons at American Ballet Theatre. Tuttle also has dozens of ABT ballets to her credit. Much of Bowman's work has been at the New York City Ballet.

All are members of Tharp's own dance group, Twyla Tharp Dance.

The Chicago-to-Broadway route is the same one used by The Producers and, with less fortunate results, Sweet Smell of Success. Rehearsals began in late April.

The musical, previously called "The Thoel Project," had a workshop over the October 6th-7th, 2001, weekend. According to press materials, the story concerns "six lifelong friends, told over two turbulent decades. This new musical takes us back to a time we all remember - to the days when almost anything could happen, and the nights when almost everything did."

Designers are Santo Loquasto (sets), Suzy Benzinger (costumes), Donald Holder (lighting) and Brian Ruggles and Peter Fitzgerald (sound).

Stuart Malina is the music director on the venture.


"Joel To Leave Rehab"
(June 25th, 2002)

Billy Joel, who friends say is battling the bottle, is expected to leave a Connecticut rehab center tomorrow, his spokeswoman said. The pop star, 53, has been at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan since June 17th, 2002. Meanwhile, Trish Bergin of "Inside Edition," with whom Joel had a romance that ended last year, says she is confident he "has the strength and resolve" to recover, reports Newsday's Robert Kahn. Joel, expected to return home to Long Island, Claire Mercuri said, will head to Chicago in mid-July for the premiere of "Movin' Out," a Broadway-bound show based on his songs.


"Joel Musical Debuts In Chicago Tonight"
By: Jack Helbig
(June 25th, 2002)

Broadway insiders have been trying for years to get singer-songwriter Billy Joel to write the score to a Broadway show, according to producer James L. Nederlander, Jr.

But it took Twyla Tharp, an avant garde choreographer with a taste for using pop tunes in modern dances, to coax Joel into live theater.

The show they created together, "Movin' Out," has its world premiere tonight at the Shubert Theater in Chicago, the start of a 10-week pre-Broadway run.

Tharp, whose previous projects include an evening of dances performed to Frank Sinatra's hits, "Nine Sinatra Songs," got the idea of using Joel's songs in a Broadway show two years ago, said Nederlander, of the Nederlander Organization, one of America's largest theater producers.

"Tharp always felt Billy Joel's songs were ideal for treatment on the stage because they told stories," he said. "The deeper she got into the project, the more she realized how much his songs interconnect."

Nederlander became a major investor in "Movin' Out" after seeing a workshop production of the show last October. Joel was impressed enough by this early production to give Tharp permission to use his material in her show.

Joel wrote no new songs for "Movin' Out." Instead, Tharp followed the example of the creators of last season's hit show, "Mamma Mia!," which used ABBA hits for its score.

In "Movin' Out," Tharp weaves together 24 of Joel's hits from the '70s and '80s. Many of Joel's better-known songs seem to have been inspired by the Long Island working-class Catholic folks he grew up with in the '50s and '60s.

"It was Tharp who saw that characters like Brenda and Eddie from 'Scenes from an Italian Restaurant' and Anthony from 'Movin' Out (Anthony's Song),' or people like that appear again and again in other Joel songs."

Tharp's show, which features a large corps of dancers and one singer/piano player, tells her story entirely in dance and song. Some have expressed skepticism about a musical that contains no new songs, no incidental music, and no dialogue.

But in recent years, Broadway has seen a number of hit shows with virtually no spoken dialogue, most notably the Tony Award winning musical "Contact," which consisted almost entirely of dance.

Asked to describe "Movin' Out," Nederlander quips that the show is "part 'Contact,' part 'Mamma Mia!,' part 'Fosse,' and all Twyla Tharp and Billy Joel."


"'Piano Man' Movin' Out of Rehab"
By: Andy Geller
(June 26th, 2002)

"Piano Man" Billy Joel plans to check out of a chic rehab clinic today, his spokeswoman says.

"He's doing very well," said Claire Mercuri, his Columbia Records publicist.

Joel checked into the Silver Hill rehab center in New Canaan, Connecticut, on June 17th, 2002 for a 10-day stay. The 10 days are up today.

Colleagues said the 53 year-old rocker was seeking help in battling both the bottle and depression - problems made more acute by the marriage of his ex-lover, Trish Bergin.

The former Long Island News 12 anchor, who is 31 and pregnant, wed Southampton lawyer Randi Weichbrodt on June 4th, 2002.

A Bergin colleague said Joel's ex had been upset about his excessive drinking and about finding the singer in bed with another woman.

Joel had begged for a second chance, showering her with Dom Perignon and flowers. She broke down in March 2001, after he sent her a photo of a $50,000 boat and a set of keys, but the reconciliation didn't last.


"Joel Due to Leave Connecticut Clinic Today"
By: George Rush & Tracy Connor
(June 26th, 2002)

Billy Joel is movin' out.

After 10 days in a Connecticut rehab clinic for alcohol abuse, the singer is slated to head home to the Hamptons today, his spokeswoman said.

Joel, 53, checked himself into Silver Hill Hospital last week after telling some pals he was depressed - partly because ex-love Trish Bergin had just gotten married.

Bergin, the new weekend co-anchor for the syndicated program "Inside Edition," wished him well in a statement but made it clear she's moving on.

"I am confident that Billy has the strength and resolve to make a full recovery and get on with living his life," Bergin said. "He remains a friend, and my thoughts and prayers are with him, but my focus now is on my husband and family."

Over A Long Time Ago

In the days before he went into rehab, Joel shared his disappointment to several pals about Bergin's nuptials, although one longtime friend denied that the singer is pining for her.

"That was over a long time ago. He's been out with three or four girls since Trish," the source said, adding that Joel's problem was his love of wine.

"He likes his reds and whites - but no more," the friend said. "When you're having too much fun, you get to the point where you say, 'Maybe I should get some help.'"

Healthy Example

It also looks like the "Piano Man" drew his inspiration from the "Rocket Man" - singer Elton John, with whom Joel was touring until he got sick and postponed their concerts.

"There's no doubt Elton John played a role in getting him into rehab," the friend said.

"He sees how much healthier Elton is. Billy has had to cancel concerts because of his throat problem. He looks at Elton and says, 'This guy never gets sick.'"

Joel has spent 10 days sharing a 10-bedroom house with other substance abusers at Silver Hill, a bucolic retreat in New Canaan that's popular with celebrities.

"He's doing fine. He's had no special privileges. He just wants to get out," a friend said.

Spokeswoman Claire Mercuri said Joel plans to return to the house he rented in the Hamptons while his other properties are being renovated.

Eventually, he'll head to Chicago to advise on "Movin' Out," a Broadway-bound musical adaptation of his hits that he's doing with choreographer Twyla Tharp, friends said.


"Billy Joel Leaves Substance Abuse Facility"
(June 26th, 2002)

Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter Billy Joel has checked out of a substance abuse and psychiatric hospital, after a 10-day stay at the facility, his spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Spokeswoman Claire Mercuri confirmed Joel's departure without giving any details about his stay at the Silver Hill Hospital in Connecticut.

Last week, Joel's spokeswoman said the rocker had planned a 10-day visit to the facility to address "a specific and personal problem that had recently developed."

According to a recent report in the New York Daily News, Joel canceled an appearance at the Songwriters Hall of Fame dinner in New York after crashing his Mercedes-Benz.

The newspaper said Joel lost control of his car while trying to make a quick turn and slammed into a fire well and pole. He was not seriously injured in the accident.

During a March concert at New York's Madison Square Garden, Joel criticized the venue's high ticket prices, commented on American military battles, slurred his words and nearly nodded off, according to the paper.

In March, Joel also rescheduled some spring tour dates for his "Face 2 Face" 2002 Tour with Elton John. At the time, Joel's tour manager reportedly said the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee was suffering from acute upper respiratory infection and laryngitis.


"Billy Joel 'Movin’ Out' of Rehab"
"Piano Man" Plans to Resume Concert Dates With Elton John in September

(June 26th, 2002)

Billy Joel, expected to leave rehab today, will be back on stage soon with Elton John.

John's management said that the singer's web-site (EltonJohn.com) had received many e-mails from fans wondering whether Joel's stint in rehab meant that dates would be canceled.

The concert dates are makeup performances that had been canceled in March, when Joel's management said the singer was suffering from an inflamed vocal cord, a chest infection and laryngitis.

'Elton Reportedly Inspired Joel to Seek Help'

The New York Daily News reported there's "no doubt" John played a role in Joel's decision to check into rehab. John, who had a past history of substance abuse, is said to live a healthier lifestyle now.

"Billy sees how much healthier Elton is. He's had to cancel concerts because of his throat problem. He looks at Elton and says, 'This guy never gets sick,' " a source told the newspaper.

The Daily News also reported that Joel's problem wasn't drugs, but wine.

Joel checked into Silver Hill Hospital in Connecticut 10 days ago to deal with "a specific and personal problem that had recently developed," according to a spokeswoman, who declined to elaborate.

Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson and Liza Minnelli have also been treated at Silver Hill.

'Car Crash Precedes Hospital Visit'

Only days before checking into the hospital, Joel lost control of his 1999 Mercedes-Benz on June 12th, 2002 in East Hampton, near his ritzy home on New York's Long Island. According to the accident report, he was about to miss his turn, tried to make a quick left and slammed into a fireplug and pole.

The report did not indicate that Joel was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He was not seriously injured, but one side of his face reportedly was bruised and swollen and he had to skip the Songwriters Hall of Fame dinner three days later.

Joel joked about his drinking last year on the VH1 special "All Access," saying that he used to go onstage smashed. He claimed that he doesn't drink as much as he used to, "except on days off."


"Billy Joel, Out of Hospital, Plans Next Act"
By: Glenn Gamboa
(June 27, 2002)

Billy Joel is back home on Long Island today, after completing his 10-day stay at the Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut, to treat an alcohol addiction.

The 53 year-old Rock & Roll Hall of Famer has no immediate plans to return to work, his spokeswoman Claire Mercuri said. However, he is expected to head to Chicago for the July 16th, 2002 premiere of "Movin' Out," which features his songs and Twyla Tharp's choreography and moves to Broadway in September.

Friends say Joel is in good spirits after his treatment, though he has been surprised by the attention his rehabilitation has received.

The singer decided to schedule his treatment in May, after recognizing that alcohol had a stronger hold on him than he thought it should, according to those close to him.

Joel was also upset by a serious upper respiratory infection, which led to the postponement of shows in New York in March, and how the illness might affect his future, friends say.

However, Mercuri said Joel has recovered and is expected to return to performing on September 13th, 2002, when he is scheduled to play the Ice Palace in Tampa, Florida., with Elton John. He will then begin a three-week, eight-show stand in New York with John on September 23rd, 2002 at Madison Square Garden, to make up the shows postponed by his illness.


"'Piano Man' Leaves Rehab Fit As A Fiddle"
By: Andy Geller
(June 27th, 2002)

Looking trim and jaunty, Billy Joel was in the mood for a melody yesterday after moving out of a rehab clinic for those who make love to their tonic and gin.

"I feel great and I'm glad to be home," the "Piano Man" said when Post fotog Doug Kuntz caught up with him in Sag Harbor, where he moors his two boats, the 36-foot Alexa and the 65-foot Islander.

Wearing shades, a t-shirt and jeans - and with a cell phone clamped to his ear - the 53 year-old rocker seemed happy and in tune with the world around him.

He boasted of losing an improbable 30 pounds during his 10-day stay at the Silver Hill clinic in ritzy New Canaan, Connecticut Joel checked himself into the rehab center, where Joan Kennedy, Liza Minnelli and Mariah Carey were treated, June 17th, 2002 and checked out yesterday.

Friends say the singer was seeking help for both depression and alcoholism.

During his stay at the clinic, Joel told People magazine that a respiratory infection forced him to cut short a tour following a March 15th, 2002 appearance with Elton John at Madison Square Garden.

"That made me very depressed," he said. "I then began what I ultimately realized was a prolonged period of overindulgence."


"Billy Joel Checks Out of Rehab"
(June 27th, 2002)

Billy Joel has checked out of Silver Hill Hospital, a substance abuse and psychiatric center he entered earlier this month for treatment.

Claire Mercuri, Joel's publicist at Columbia Records, said the singer left the hospital Wednesday. She declined further comment.

The 53 year-old musician, whose hits include "Piano Man," "Just The Way You Are," "Only The Good Die Young" and "Uptown Girl," in March rescheduled a joint tour with Elton John, saying he was ill. The tour is to begin again in September.

Columbia Records has said little about the reasons Joel went to Silver Hill on June 14th, 2002. The hospital is known for a celebrity clientele and individualized care.

But Joel told People magazine he became "very depressed" after a respiratory infection forced him to cut short the tour with John.

"I've been touring for 30 years and have only had to cancel a handful of shows in my life, so I took this really hard," he told the magazine for its July 8th, 2002 issue. "I then began what I ultimately realized was a prolonged period of overindulgence. I don't want to get any more specific."

Joel also said that Alexa Ray, his 16 year-old daughter with ex-wife Christie Brinkley, inspired him to seek help.

"I told my daughter that I recognized I was having a problem," he said. "And my gift to her for Father's Day was going to be cleaning up my act."


"Billy Joel Tells of 'Overindulgence'"
(June 27th, 2002)

Singer-songwriter Billy Joel has spoken for the first time about the depression which led him to check into a US substance abuse and psychiatric hospital.

Joel said he was "very depressed" after a respiratory infection forced him to cut short a tour with Sir Elton John.

He said: "I took this very hard. I then began what I ultimately realised was a prolonged period of overindulgence. I don't want to get more specific."

Joel, 53, was involved in a car accident earlier this month and checked into Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut, on June 17th, 2002.

A long list of celebrities, including Michael Jackson and Lisa Minnelli, have spent time at the hospital.

He left the hospital yesterday to return to his home in Long Island, New York.

He told the magazine that his daughter Alexa Ray was his inspiration for getting better.

"I told my daughter that I recognised I was having a problem. And my gift to her for Father's Day was going to be cleaning up my act."

Joel, who is divorced from model Christie Brinkley, is known for a string of hits including "Piano Man," "Only The Good Die Young," "Just The Way You Are" and "Uptown Girl."

He is due to resume the postponed "Face 2 Face" 2002 Tour with Sir Elton in September in Tampa, Florida.


"Billy Joel Says He Entered Rehab As A Gift To His Daughter"
By: Ruth Bashinsky & Tracy Connor
(June 27th, 2002)

Billy Joel is back in a "New York State of Mind" - after leaving a Connecticut rehab facility and going home to the Hamptons, his spokeswoman said.

The 53 year-old singer said his 10-day stay at Silver Hill Hospital for alcohol abuse was a Father's Day present to Alexa, his 16 year-old daughter with ex-wife Christie Brinkley.

"I told my daughter that I recognized I was having a problem. And my gift to her for Father's Day was going to be cleaning up my act," Joel told People magazine.

The "Piano Man" said he was depressed because an upper respiratory illness forced him to pull out of a concert tour with Elton John in March.

"I've been touring for 30 years and only had to cancel a handful of shows in my life, so I took this really hard," he said.

"I then began what I ultimately realized was a prolonged period of overindulgence."

Joel, a wine connoisseur, is a regular at Hamptons hot spots. Two days before he checked into Silver Hill in New Canaan, he was seen downing glasses of Merlot at Bobby Van's in Bridgehampton, a source said.

But he insists there was no specific incident that led to his decision.

"It was more of a gradual realization during the last couple of months," he said. "I became concerned enough to voluntarily want to seek help."

He also denied he was drunk during his last concert with John, a Madison Square Garden gig in which he slurred his words and rambled.

"I did take medication under my doctor's supervision. The media speculated that I was on something stronger, and this is just not true," he said.

"I had difficulty breathing and felt lightheaded and disoriented, close to passing out."


"How Billy Joel Ended Up In Rehab"
By: Annette Witheridge
(June 28th, 2002)

The eyes said it all. Billy Joel, backstage at a New York awards ceremony, resembled a puppy as he swallowed every word barked at him by supermodel ex-wife Christie Brinkley. She ordered him to put a jacket on. He did. She straightened his collar and his eyes lit up. Moments later they were all smiles as she introduced him to the audience.

The TV cameras panned to the couple's teenage daughter, Alexa, grinning as she rested her head on the shoulders of Brinkley's latest husband, Peter Cook.

To the casual observer, it appeared that everyone was playing happy families, showbiz style. Joel and Cook are Brinkley husbands two and four, and on countless other occasions the two men have put on the same act at glittering social gatherings, charity functions and environmental protest meetings in the Hamptons, Long Island's summer playground of the rich and famous.

Joel and Brinkley are year-round residents and, despite its supposed live-and-let-live reputation, the cluster of hamlets that make up the Manhattan Riviera is gossip central. Consequently, when 53 year-old Joel quietly checked himself into an exclusive drink and drug rehabilitation clinic last week reportedly to be treated for alcohol abuse and depression, no one in the Hamptons was surprised.

The warning signs had been there for a long time and the "Piano Man," broken-hearted at losing yet another beautiful girlfriend, had been hitting the bottle hard, it was said. The normally jovial singer was in a deep depression and stressed almost to breaking point. June, he half-heartedly joked to anyone who would listen, was always going to be the cruellest month.

Trish Bergin, the glamorous TV reporter he once hoped to marry, was pregnant and tying the knot with local lawyer Randi Weichbrodt. He was in the middle of rehearsals for his first Broadway-bound play on June 12th, 2002 when he crashed his Mercedes-Benz into a telegraph pole. Bruised and battered by the airbag, he pulled out of the following night's Songwriters Hall of Fame dinner in Manhattan.

Coming on the heels of a troubled tour with Elton John - Joel claimed he had a bad cold but a critic noted he appeared to have "ingested something quite a bit stronger than cough medicine" - it was one cancellation too many. Brinkley read him the riot act. She effectively told him to get help, or else. Alexa, at that difficult age of 16, had spotted his penchant for booze, and the man who sang about "a bottle of red, a bottle of white" was knocking back more than his fair share of both.

But as Joel takes his first tentative steps at group therapy with fellow inmates at Connecticut's £600-a-night Silver Hill Hospital, the American East Coast version of London's Priory, it is unlikely he will point the finger of blame at the one person who sent him down the slippery slope - namely, Brinkley herself.

"Billy has never made a secret of the fact he is still in love with Christie," says one of their circle, quoted on condition of anonymity. "Late at night, he will confess to exactly that. But when he sobers up he tries to make a joke of it and claims the entire extended family, including Brinkley's latest husband, get on like the proverbial house on fire.

"The truth is the opposite. Billy bites his tongue around Peter, and Christie tries her best to introduce him to what she hopes are suitable girlfriends. But, of course, it doesn't work. He has never got over losing her."

In fairness, Joel, who was born in nearby Hicksville, has always worn his heart on his sleeve. At just 5 feet, 7 inches tall, tubby and odd looking, he has bragged how he switched from classical piano playing in his teens when he discovered that rockers really did get the girls.

"Her name was Virginia Callaghan and she didn't know I was alive. Then my band did a gig, playing songs like "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and she looked at me. That did it, I knew I was in the right field," he has said in interview. The relationship between the fat Jewish boy and the cool Long Island beauty petered out, but 13 years later, he immortalised her in the song "Only The Good Die Young" with the lyrics "Come on Virginia, don't make me wait, you Catholic girls start much too late."

Joel's first manager, Ruby Mazur, a childhood friend who designed the Rolling Stones' mouth-and-tongue logo, won't say whether Virginia caused Joel's first breakdown at 21, but he saw the warning signs. Heartbroken by a failed romance, Joel swallowed a fistful of pills at the Hicksville launderette, threw up over the dryers and was carted off to hospital by his pals.

He locked himself in his bedroom and wrote "Cold Spring Harbor," his breakthrough 1971 album, and started dating music business executive Elizabeth Weber. He wrote Just the Way You Are for her but their nine-year marriage ended in 1982 and he met Brinkley months later on the Caribbean island of St Barts. She was reeling from the break-up of her engagement to champagne heir Olivier Chandon when Joel bounded in telling the world that "Uptown Girl" was all about their romance. Mazur recalls him saying: "I never thought I would get someone as beautiful as Christie Brinkley. This is how I want to live my life."

Mazur tried to warn him off, saying: "You will see how bored and depressed this will make you." But love-struck Joel took no notice and married Brinkley two years later, dragging the blonde darling of fashion catwalks back to his home base in the Hamptons.

The cracks were there almost from the start, and the birth of Alexa the following year failed to cement their union. Brinkley loved uptown Manhattan, and Joel only really felt at home among the Long Island fishermen and working-class families of his youth. On tour around the world, Joel could often be found nursing a drink or three in hotel bars and would often join strangers for nights out.

He dramatically canceled a 1994 tour to rush to Brinkley's bedside at a Colorado hospital after she narrowly escaped death in a horrific helicopter-skiing accident. They announced their surprise separation a few weeks later and Christie married playboy Rick Taubman, also injured in the accident, eight months on in a lavish mountain-top ceremony.

The union lasted less than a year and it was Joel who arranged her escape. He was the first person at her bedside after she gave birth, alone, to Taubman's son, Jack, and America's tabloid magazines went into a frenzy over rumours of a reconciliation. Sadly, it was not to be. The fickle Brinkley met Southampton architect Cook shortly afterwards, and when they married, Joel was at the wedding. Over the years, according to friends, Brinkley has invited Joel for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, but has always made it clear to him that it is merely for Alexa's sake.

Trying to get that point across proved impossible, but Christie did her best to introduce him to suitable girlfriends, including Hamptons artist Carolyn Beegan, whom he saw on and off for six years, and finally blonde Brinkley look-a-like Trish, who was to dump him, complaining of his drinking, and announcing that she was marrying someone else.

Initially, Joel's spokeswoman, Claire Mercuri, claimed that Joel would be spending just 10 days receiving treatment for "personal problems" at Silver Hill, whose previous clients include Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Liza Minnelli and Tatum O'Neal. Yesterday, she refused to respond to numerous phone calls regarding his stay.

Quite whether 47 year-old Brinkley will welcome him back to the fold is anyone's guess. But the talk among Hamptons residents is that she is as much an addiction for Joel as alcohol. They speculate that if he can cure himself of one, then he can rid himself of the other.