Who was Billy Joel's first wife

Billy Joel celebrates at Madison Square Garden : The Piano Man turns 70

It's been going on for almost six years now: The superstar climbs into the helicopter once a month on the landing pad in front of his huge villa in the suburbs, then he sings his hits for almost three hours in the famous Madison Square Garden in the middle of New York - and during Even as the last fans trickle out of the arena, he is already on his way to Long Island. On May 9th, Billy Joel will leave for the 64th concert in a row in this monthly “residency” in the “Garden”. And the mood on this Thursday should be special: It will be Joel's 70th birthday concert.

No new album for 25 years

The continuing success of the man who was born on May 9, 1939 to a German Jewish father and a British Jewish mother in the working-class Bronx is astonishing. He was never as clearly working class as Bruce Springsteen, never as intellectually warm-hearted as Simon & Garfunkel. Joel's life was not without demons: He survived depression in the early 1970s and a suicide attempt in which he claims to have tried to kill himself with furniture polish. In the meantime, William Martin Joel has not released an album of new pop music for more than 25 years. The Americana-Pop of the songwriter, who is always a bit ridiculed by the critics, is still selling well with the predominantly white US audience.

Still a rock and roller

According to the Association of the Music Industry of the USA, RIAA, Joel has six Grammys, 13 top ten singles and almost 85 million albums sold - worldwide, according to Joel's own homepage, there are 150 million. The "Piano Man", perhaps his most famous song today, only made it to number 25 on the Billboard charts in the USA in 1974. "It's Still Rock 'n Roll to me", "We Didn't Start the Fire" and “Tell Her About It”, on the other hand, all landed on number one.

Permanent attraction at Madison Square Garden

Joel's concerts are also beyond imagination in the fast-paced pop business: in 1978 he played for the first time in Madison Square Garden, which can hold 20,000 people, and according to the organizer, Joel has 110 concerts and sold more than two million tickets there. Anyone who visits such a concert will quickly understand the songwriter's secret of success: Billy Joel gives the masses what they want. In the first half of the shows it even goes so far that he always offers the audience two songs from the second row and lets the applause decide what to play. The song then appears on a small monitor in the piano and Joel sings and plays it routinely in the arena. Steel workers and New York pictures from the seventies cavort on a video screen, and in front of the almost 100 percent white audience, not a word is said about the politics out there.

Forever 1982

“Close your eyes, and it's 1982 again,” is how the “New Yorker” called this concept. When the indispensable classics “Uptown Girl”, “River Of Dreams” or “She's Always A Woman To Me” are played in the second half of the concert, the audience goes along with enthusiasm and noticeably reminisces about the past decades - possibly times too that feel easier in hindsight. Not everything about these nostalgia fairs still fits in with today's times. During the songs, for example, the giant screens from the audience almost exclusively show young, white women. Years ago, according to New Yorker, Joel was tired of the fact that the city's bored money elite often sat in the most expensive seats in front of him. Since then, his employees have been buzzing into the upper tiers before the concert and looking for women who are invited to the first row, which was previously kept free.

The stage as home

The brawny bald man is currently not thinking of quitting in his private life or on stage. He is now married for the fourth time and only had a second child in 2015 with Alexis Roderick, who is more than thirty years his junior. Looking at his professional life, he repeatedly asserts that he wants to continue playing as long as all the seats in the “Garden” sell out every month - the place that appears when you enter “Billy Joels House” on Google Maps. (dpa)

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