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"Billy Joel Realized He Had Booze Problems After 'Chugging' Wine"
(June 1st, 2006)
Rocker Billy Joel turned his back on drinking when he realized he was no longer sipping and enjoying his favorite red wine. The "Uptown Girl" hitmaker, who has recently fought alcoholism, discovered good Bordeaux in his youth, but realized he'd developed a problem when he started "chugging" it. He says, "I wasn't really sipping it and tasting it and appreciating it. I was just chugging it... I wasn't drinking out of the bottle, the bottle was drinking out of me." Joel, who has been sober for a year, eventually faced up to his boozing problems by checking into a rehab center. He adds, "I said, 'I've just gotta get a cold splash of water in my face,' and I'm glad I did it. "It happens to everybody - if you do it long enough you just get to that place."
"Billy Joel Reserves Front Two Rows For Ardent Fans!"
(June 1st, 2006)
Billy Joel has decided to please his most ardent fans, as he recently announced that he would only want his zealous fans to be seated in the front two rows for all his shows.
Joel it seems was sick and tired of seeing unenthusiastic and unresponsive people seated in the best rows just because of the fact that they had enough money to purchase the tickets. He further said that looking at all those fat cats his enthusiasm to perform would reduce considerably. "The guy's there with the girlfriend... 'OK, Piano Man, entertain me,' and they don't do anything. It was a drag and you'd hear all the kids yelling in the back and you know they didn't get a shot at those tickets. "So I said, 'To hell with this. No more front row and second row tickets going on sale," ContactMusic.com quoted him, assaying.
He has now chalked put a plan which will let his true fans to fill the best seats.
"We're gonna hold the tickets.' "What we do is before the show starts, when the audience starts coming in, we send the road crew out with the tickets and they give the tickets to the kids in the back...so you look down and see all these good-looking girls...and that doesn't hurt the show," he said.
"Did You Miss Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden? Don't Worry... Sneak Peek To The Rescue!"
Latest Album "12 Gardens Live" Available For On-Demand Streaming On Over 500 Clear Channel Radio Station Web-Sites Before Release Date!
(June 5th, 2006)
What: Billy Joel is giving over 500 Clear Channel Radio station web-sites an exclusive preview of his new album, "12 Gardens Live," before it hits stores! Beginning Tuesday, June 6th, 2006, the online audience will be able to stream the 30-track CD recorded live during Joel's 12 record-breaking sold-out Madison Square Garden concerts through Clear Channel Radio's Sneak Peek program before its June 13th, 2006 release.
When: Sneak Peek available exclusively beginning Tuesday, June 6th, 2006 - Saturday, June 10th, 2006. On-Demand available from June 11th, 2006 - June 16th, 2006.
Where: Log onto ClearChannelMusic.com for more information.
Why: It's like having a personal Billy Joel concert anytime, anywhere!
Who: Clear Channel Radio's Online Music & Radio unit.
"Billy Joel's Garden Party Hits The Web"
By: Glenn Gamboa
(June 6th, 2006)
Billy Joel's new live album, "12 Gardens Live" (Columbia), collecting the best moments from his record-setting 12-show run at Madison Square Garden earlier this year, is getting a big internet push this week before its official release next Tuesday. Clear Channel will make the album available for streaming today on its ClearChannelMusic.com site.
Amazon.com is already showing the video of "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)" on its web-site, suggesting that there may be a DVD version of "12 Gardens Live" out there some day. True to the tour, the double album includes Joel's biggest hits alongside some lesser known album tracks, including "Everybody Loves You Now" and "The Great Wall of China."
"Billy Joel's Fine Just The Way He Is"
Still Singing And Successful, Joel Prefers To Lay Low At Home
By: Russ Mitchell
(June 11th, 2006)
While he may not have Bob Dylan's mystique or Bruce Springsteen's cool, if you had to name the most popular American singer/songwriter of the past 30 years Billy Joel would be a pretty safe bet.
Since 1974, Billy Joel has sold more than 100 million albums and been nominated for 23 Grammy awards.
And earlier this year, he did something no performer in history has done: sold out New York's Madison Square Garden; not once or twice, but an unprecedented 12 concerts in a row.
Not bad for a 57 year-old, who by his own admission, finds it laughable that he's a rock star.
"A rock star is supposed to be, you know, kind of matinee idol-lookin'. That kind of tall, thin, English-lookin' thing," Joel quips. "I was talkin' about this with Bono and we both decided we look like bricklayers," Joel says of himself and the front man for U2.
"You know, how'd we get to be rock stars? We just don't look the part.
Even on the grounds of his $22 million Long Island estate, Joel can't help but feel like a trespasser. Yet Joel is firmly entrenched in his roots.
"I know where I'm from and I know who I am," Joel says. "And I got good friends, who will give me a whack upside the head if I get too carried away."
Who he is, is William Martin Joel, a blue-collar kid from Hicksville, Long Island.
From the day he was born in 1949, there was music.
"There was always music playing. My mother was always singing, my father was playin' the piano. I heard music all the time," he says.
His true calling became clear the first time he saw the Beatles on TV, when Joel said his desire to perform "clicked."
"They didn't look like fabricated Hollywood-type guys. They looked like working class kids. They played their own instruments and the girls were all screaming, and I said, 'That's what I wanna do.' I like that job," Joel says.
Joel calls it "a job" for a reason. He has always approached music more as a working man than a star.
His first hit, "Piano Man," was a bittersweet portrait of the complex relationship between a performer and his audience.
Complex or not, the relationship has been enduring.
From 1974 to 1994, Joel recorded an astonishing 33 top 40 hits, but to hear him tell it, each hit was a surprise.
Of "Piano Man": "It's a waltz," Joel remarks.
And the touching love song, "Just The Way You Are," almost never made the album: "It just seemed like a cocktail lounge song. You know, it's a good song, but it wasn't a rock and roll song," Joel admits.
Fortunately for his fans, the song Joel and his fellow musicians dubbed a "chick song" were brought to their senses when Linda Ronstadt and Phoebe Snow stopped by the studio and showered praise on the song and eventually, changed Joel's mind.
And we - we listened back to it, and we're going - "I don't like this. Do you like it?" "Nah, it's a chick song." Linda Rondstadt and Phoebe Snow come by the studio when we're listening back. And Linda Rondstadt's sayin', "That's a great song." And we're going, "Yeah, you think so?"
His songs, such as "Big Shot," "Uptown Girl," and "River of Dreams" are stories ripped from the pages of his life.
"River of Dreams" was released in 1994 and the year marked a turning point, both personally and professionally. Joel and supermodel wife Christie Brinkley divorced, and "River of Dreams" turned out to be Joel's final pop album.
Not that he was ready to retire.
A gifted story-teller, Joel began a series of lectures at colleges across the country, sharing with music students lessons learned over 40 years in the industry.
When he's not onstage, you'll usually find him indulging one of his other passions, like riding motorcycles or cruising the waters off his native Long Island.
This is more than recreation, Joel designs, builds and sells his own line of boats.
In more ways than one, life for Billy Joel has come full circle.
Daughter Alexa Ray is 20 now and a singer/songwriter herself. And there's another woman in his life; in 2004, Joel married then 23 year-old Kate Lee, star of the Bravo channel's "Top Chef" reality show.
These days home, it seems, is exactly where he wants to be.
"I've been on the road now for close to 40 years and, you know, I miss my wife, I miss my home. I'm kind of a homebody. I think people assume because I'm supposed to be a rock star, that I live this jet set kind of life. But I don't. I'm kinda boring, but I don't mind," Joel intimates.
Unfortunately for him, the tabloids don't think he's boring.
in rehab last year for alcohol abuse and a car crash the previous year
- which police say wasn't alcohol related - thrust him back in the headlines.
For the record, Joel's art and his craft are in fine form.
He's got a new album out this week - he turned his historic run at Madison Square Garden into "12 Gardens Live."
And while the roar of the crowd still thrills him, he keeps it all in perspective. Remember, this is just his day job. What really matters to Joel is all the other stuff.
"A lot of us think what we want in our life is happiness. Well, happiness is an extreme. We have to learn how to recognize contentment, Joel says.
"Sometimes you gotta look around and go, 'Hey, everything is OK.' That's pretty good. That's where I am."
"'12 Gardens Live' Blooms With Billy Joel's Best"
By: Andrew Marton
(June 11th, 2006)
Throughout a mostly up (with the occasional soap-opera down) 30-plus-year career, Billy Joel, classic rock's quintessential piano man, has never issued a career-encompassing live recording. But after a much-publicized retreat from the pop scene, a brief flirtation with classical music and a string of gossip-worthy get-togethers between Joel's car and the Hamptons' finest sequoias, the melodic bard of Bayside is back - and firing on all cylinders with "12 Gardens Live."
Culled from a dozen recent concert dates at Joel's home away from home, Noo Yawk's Madison Square Garden, "12 Gardens Live" opens with "Prelude/Angry Young Man"'s fusillade of staccato notes. An exhilarating mix of Joel's barrelhouse pianistics and jazz-infused vocals follow. Joel is clearly in fine, limber form.
"12 Gardens Lives"' two discs act as musical biography, delivering Joel hits that span three decades - including "The Ballad of Billy The Kid," "Piano Man," "The Entertainer," "New York State of Mind," "Allentown," "An Innocent Man," "Keeping The Faith," and "The River of Dreams." The wedding standard "Just The Way You Are" is, thankfully, AWOL.
Backed by a stellar group of musicians, Joel reproduces live the same shimmering sound, gorgeously hand-tooled melodies and taut arrangements from the songs' studio versions.
With one welcome difference: Now in his '50s, Joel has traveled from choir-boy tenor to husky baritone, which lends a resonant maturity and world-weariness to his once-precocious lyrics.
In his wiser, and more mature state, Joel brings added soul to the cheekiness of "My Life." And no one can listen to his 1970s description of Manhattan in "Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)" - "I've seen the lights go out on Broadway, I watched the mighty skyline fall" - and not think how the song foreshadowed the horrors of September 11th, 2001. It is both a chilling and exhilarating experience. Billy Joel, the prescient pianist, is back.
"Movin' Out To Brooklyn?"
Billy Joel & Bride Tour $20M Manse
By: Samuel Abram & Melissa Grace
(June 13th, 2006)
Is Billy Joel in a Brooklyn state of mind?
The "Piano Man" and his newest bride, Katie Lee, toured a luxurious Brooklyn Heights townhouse that first went on the market last year for a stunning $20 million - the highest-ever asking price for a Brooklyn home.
"His wife came twice, he came one time," a real estate source said. "She liked it, but it doesn't seem to be something he's interested in."
A spokeswoman for Joel, a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee who won a Tony Award in 2003 for the Broadway hit "Movin' Out," had no comment.
The elegantly terraced, five-story townhouse with views of the Statue of Liberty made its high-priced debut in March 2005 - spawning fears Brooklyn's housing market was hitting Manhattan highs.
The listing price for the 8,000-sqaure-foot home has since dropped three times.
Last fall, "Lord of The Rings" star Liv Tyler toured the home, with an asking price of $16 million. The latest dip came last week as the price dropped to $12.9 million.
"We are not coming down from here," insisted Corcoran broker Deanna Kory, who represents the owners.
While the home remains the borough's top-priced residence, a much larger Remsen Street mansion is listed at $12 million.
Kory refused comment on Joel's visit, which was confirmed by a second source.
"They looked at it," that source said of Joel and his young wife. "He's not planning on buying it."
Joel owns an estate on Long Island and the couple is renovating a home in the West Village.
Of the new price, Kory said the owners are being "realistic."
Lisa Rigolini, a Staten Islander who works in downtown Brooklyn, didn't think so.
It's still way overpriced," said Rigolini, who then put herself in Joel's shoes.
For him, she decided, "it's probably just another home."
"Billy Joel Thinking About Quitting The Road?"
By: Howie Edelson
(June 13, 2006)
Is Billy Joel thinking about retiring from the road? Joel who'll kick off a European tour later this month, told TheShowBuzz.com that after all these years, he's not that crazy about being on the road, saying that, "I've been on the road now for close to 40 years and, you know, I miss my wife, I miss my home. I'm kind of a homebody. I think people assume because I'm supposed to be a rock star, that I live this jet set kind of life. But I don't. I'm kinda boring, but I don't mind."
Joel releases his new live album, titled "12 Gardens Live," today (June 13th, 2006). The set was recorded during the "Piano Man"'s recent record-breaking stand at New York City's Madison Square Garden.
Joel joked that he's never fit the typical rock star qualifications: "A rock star is supposed to be, you know, kind of matinee idol-lookin'. That kind of tall, thin, English-lookin' thing. I was talkin'about this with Bono and we both decided we look like bricklayers. You know, how'd we get to be rock stars? We just don't look the part."
Highlights on the 30-song live double-disc include "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)," "My Life," "New York State of Mind," "Allentown," "Don't Ask Me Why," "You May Be Right," "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant," and "Only The Good Die Young."
Joel is currently co-producing a Showtime series based on his mid 1970s ascent to fame. There's no word as to when the series, tentatively titled "Big Shot" after his 1978 hit, will begin shooting.
Billy Joel kicks of a month-long European tour on June 26th, 2006 in Vienna. There has been no announcement made on further US shows.
"Who Needs A House Out In Hackensack?"
By: S. Jhoanna Robledo
(June 19th, 2006)
His piano's ostensibly parked in the West Village townhouse he bought last fall for $5.9 million from artist and Johnson & Johnson heir Seward Johnson, and yet Billy Joel and his new wife, Katie Lee, are still providing grist for the real estate rumor mill with his continued house-hunting. Sources say he's been spotted from the Brooklyn Heights promenade, hanging out on the balcony of the Columbia Heights mansion whose owner tried to get a buyer for $20 million last year. (The owner's new brokers, Corcoran's Deanna Kory and Karen Kelley, have dropped the price tag to a more realistic, if still dizzying, $12.9 million.) It's the same house that Liv Tyler was rumored to have checked out a few months back as well. A virtual tour of the place gives a hint of why it's such a celebrity magnet: twelve rooms, 8,000 square feet of space on five floors, and views of both the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan. Kory could not be reached, and Kelley declined to discuss the listing.
"The 'Piano Man' Still Rocks"
(June 21st, 2006)
What's with this guy? A few years ago, Billy Joel swore off the pop/rock format and here he is releasing a 30-song document of his 12 sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden this year.
I guess the checkbook balance fell below six digits.
"12 Gardens" is the perfect souvenir for the 20,000 faithful fans in attendance on any one of the twelve nights and a perfect overview of Joel's career. What keeps the CD interesting is that Mr. "Piano Man" has mined the depths of his catalogue where the real gems are hidden. You may not have expected the set-list to include "Goodnight Saigon," "Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway)," or "The Downeaster 'Alexa'," but these songs add some interesting moments to the barrage of radio hits.
And the radio hits are certainly here in abundance. "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)," "Only The Good Die Young," "You May Be Right," "We Didn't Start The Fire," and dozens of others are featured in high energy versions. We even get a few of Joel's most Beatlesque compositions like "Laura" and "She's Right On Time." (There's also two bonus tracks not listed on the CD booklet: "A Room of Our Own" and "It's Still Rock and Roll To Me.") There's no question that Billy Joel is a master at melody and has many timeless classics in his repertoire.
The sound quality on "12 Gardens Live" is cavernous, the band is excellent, and the energy level rarely dips below frenzied. The entire night appears to be one big sing-along, as every person in the house seems to know every word. Throughout the performances, Joel's voice is still strong, although slightly more nasal than the voice of his youth. But for a guy in his late fifties, it sure sounds like he can still kick some ass on the live stage. Even the Gallery of Sound has advertised this set as "the perfect Father's Day gift." Nothing like showing your age in rock and roll.
"No 'Piano Man' Concerto"
By: Justin Davidson
(June 21st, 2006)
A new piano concerto by Billy Joel will get its world premiere Sunday - or it would, if Joel had actually written the thing. Instead, he gave the green light to the Valley Stream, New York pianist Jeffrey Biegel to plunder his "Fantasies & Delusions" for solo piano.
Using tunes from the earlier work (plus a smattering of Schumann and suggestions of Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff) Biegel produced a half-hour set of "Symphonic Fantasies," orchestrated by Phillip Keveren. This concerto-by-committee will open the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina, with Biegel at the piano, "Movin' Out" music director Stuart Malina conducting and Joel, presumably, available for a curtain call.
No word yet of a concerto tour.
Billy Joel's Concert In Front of The Colosseum In Rome, Italy To Stream On Internet!
(June 23rd, 2006)
Billy Joel and Bryan Adams are the stars of Telecomcerto 2006, the annual free concert organized by Telecom Progetto Italia in collaboration with Rome City Council, to be held this year on July 31st, 2006, in the shadow of the Colosseum, against the magical backdrop of the Roman Forum.
This year, for the first time, the Telecomcerto audience will be able to watch two live concerts on the stage that in the last three years has hosted some of the great stars of the international music scene.
Billy Joel, accompanied by his usual band, is preparing a special show for Italian audiences. With his wonderful piano-playing and the sophisticated melodies, from "Honesty" to "Piano Man," "New York State of Mind," "Uptown Girl," and "This Is The Time," that have opened the doors to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with over 100 million records sold, we can expect a legendary show along the lines of "12 Gardens Live": the 12 sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden in New York that inspired the title of his latest album, released on June 19th, 2006 (in Europe).
Bryan Adams, too, will play the Telecomcerto stage accompanied by his usual band. During the show in Rome he will be performing classic ballads, from "Summer of '69" to "Cuts Like A Knife" and tracks from the recent "Room Service" album, recorded live on the road in Europe, in what is bound to be an exciting concert for rock fans.
The Telecomcerto, having reached its fourth edition, is now one of the most important and unique appointments on the international music calendar: a magnificent event in an unrivalled setting.
In September, the concert will be broadcast free in streaming mode.
"12 Gardens Live"
Billy Joel Still A 'Big Shot' Live
By: Darryl Sterdan
(June 24th, 2006)
As its title suggests, Billy Joel's "12 Gardens Live" - his second concert recording in six years - was culled from a dozen sold-out shows at New York's Madison Square Garden.
Now, there are plenty of rockers who could sell out that many nights. But few besides Joel have a back catalogue so vast they could likely play the whole stint without repeating themselves.
Fewer still have so many hits they could release a 152-minute double-live CD with 32 tracks and still leave off over a dozen classics. So you won't find "Just The Way You Are," "Pressure," "Uptown Girl," "Honesty," or "The Longest Time, " to name a few. But you will find "My Life," "Alllentown," "Don't Ask Me Why," "She's Always A Woman," "We Didn't Start The Fire," "Big Shot," "You May Be Right," "Piano Man," "Only The Good Die Young" and a hidden version of "It's Still Rock and Roll To Me."
In keeping with Joel's recent desire to showcase his work beyond his chart toppers, you'll also find a generous portion of oldies and album cuts like "The Great Wall of China," "Laura," "Goodnight Saigon," "Everybody Loves You Now," "The Ballad of Billy The Kid," and "The Entertainer." And you'll hear them all servicably reproduced by a reasonably enthusiastic Joel and a capable if unremarkable octet.
You won't hear anything new, of course, since Joel turned his back on pop following 1993's "River of Dreams."
Other rockers might be able to sell-out a dozen nights at Madison Square Garden. But how many could do it 13 years after their last album?
"Billy Joel Makes Us Boil"
(June 27th, 2006)
We hear whispers that Billy Joel might be giving Adelaide, Australia a wide berth when he tours later this year.
Sources say he will play Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, but not Adelaide.
If he wasn't playing Perth, maybe we could understand the decision, but if he's flying straight over the top of us when he heads west, we see no excuse not to stop in.
It can't be through lack of public interest; when Billy toured with Elton John back in 1998, the show at Adelaide Oval was massive. Don't make us start fires, Billy.