Dropping out of high school to start pursuing a professional singing career, Billy Joel released his debut album "Cold Spring Harbor" in 1971. The set, unfortunately, was a flop, prompting him to end his contract with Family Productions and moved to Los Angeles. There, he worked as a lounge pianist, a job that he immortalized in his hit song "Piano Man", the title song of his second album released in 1973.
In late 1972, Joel ousted an underground recording titled "Captain Jack" which received positive reviews and later caught the attention of Columbia Records which immediately signed him under their wings. He released several new albums since, all of which reflected his evolving style ranging from pop to jazz. One of his sets that became his major commercial breakthrough was the 1977 "The Stranger", spawning four songs in the Top 25 of the U.S. Billboard charts.
By the 1980s, Joel became a hit maker with such popular songs as, "Tell Her About It," "Uptown Girl," "Innocent Man", "The Longest Time", and "We Didn't Start the Fire". After releasing his "River of Dreams" in 1994, he slowed down studio recording sessions, but continued touring around the globe. Throughout his expanding singing career, Joel has received multiple Grammy nominations and he won six of it. Besides, he has also been inducted to into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (1992), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1999), and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (2006) in addition to being presented with the Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame as well as the Kennedy Center Honors.
Joel was born on May 9, 1949 in The Bronx, New York as William Martin Joel. He married Elizabeth Weber Small from September 5, 1973 to July 20, 1982. He then married Christie Brinkley on March 23, 1985 and had a daughter with her named Alexa Ray Joel, was born December 29, 1985. The couple divorced on August 25, 1994. Joel married his third wife Katie Lee from October 2, 2004 to 2009.