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Nat Adderley. Made In Sweden. Zoot Sims. So he spent more time in the studio, crafting the sound of the album, than he had on any previous album. However, production was temporarily delayed when Joel was involved in a serious motorcycle accident on Long Island on April 15, , severely injuring his hands.
Still, Joel quickly recovered from his injuries, and the album only ended up being delayed by a few months. In , he embarked on a brief tour in support of the album.
The Nylon Curtain went to No. Joel's next album moved away from the serious themes of The Nylon Curtain and struck a much lighter tone. The album itself reached No. It also boasted six top singles, the most of any album in Joel's catalog. The album was well received by critics, with Stephen Thomas Erlewine , senior editor for AllMusic, describing Joel as being "in top form as a craftsman throughout the record, effortlessly spinning out infectious, memorable melodies in a variety of styles.
The music video of the song, originally written about then girlfriend Elle MacPherson , featured future wife Christie Brinkley as a high society girl, whose car pulls into the gas station where Joel's character is working. At the end of the video, Joel's "grease monkey" character drives off with his "uptown girl" on the back of a motorcycle. When Brinkley went to visit Joel after being asked to star in the video, the first thing Joel said to her upon opening his door was "I don't dance".
Brinkley had to walk him through the basic steps he does in the video. Their work together on this video shoot sparked a relationship between the two which led to their marriage in In the video for "Keeping the Faith", Christie Brinkley also plays the "redhead girl in a Chevrolet". Following the success of An Innocent Man , Joel was asked about releasing an album of his most successful singles. This was not the first time this topic had come up, but Joel had initially considered "Greatest Hits" albums as marking the end of one's career.
This time he agreed, and Greatest Hits Vol. Greatest Hits was highly successful and it has since been certified double diamond by the RIAA , with over Coinciding with the Greatest Hits album release, Joel released a two-volume Video Album that was a compilation of the promotional videos he had recorded from to the present time. Along with videos for the new singles off the Greatest Hits album, Joel also recorded a video for his first hit, "Piano Man", for this project.
Joel's next album, The Bridge , did not achieve the level of success of his previous albums, but it yielded the hits " A Matter of Trust " and " Modern Woman " from the film Ruthless People , a dark comedy from the directors of Airplane! In a departure from his "piano man" persona, Joel is shown in the video playing a Gibson Les Paul. The ballad " This is the Time " also charted, peaking at No. The episode itself was also titled "Big Man on Mulberry Street".
The Bridge was Joel's last album to carry the Family Productions logo, after which he severed his ties with Artie Ripp. Joel has also stated in many interviews, most recently in a interview in Performing Songwriter magazine, that he does not think The Bridge is a good album. In October , Joel and his team started planning a trip to the Soviet Union. Joel, his family including young daughter Alexa , and his full touring band made the trip in August The entourage was filmed for television and video to offset the cost of the trip, and the concerts were simulcast on radio around the world.
Joel's Russian tour was the first live rock radio broadcast in Soviet history. Most of that audience took a long while to warm up to Joel's energetic show, something that had never happened in other countries he had performed in. According to Joel, each time the fans were hit with the bright lights, anybody who seemed to be enjoying themselves froze. In addition, people who were "overreacting" were removed by security.
Singer Pete Hewlett was brought in to hit the high notes on his most vocally challenging songs, like "An Innocent Man". Joel also did versions of The Beatles' classic " Back in the U. The character's design is based on Joel's image at the time, including his trademark Wayfarer sunglasses.
Joel also sang his character's song "Why Should I Worry? The recording of the album Storm Front , which commenced in , coincided with major changes in Joel's career and inaugurated a period of serious upheaval in his business affairs.
In August , just before the album was released, Joel dismissed his manager and former brother-in-law Frank Weber after an audit revealed major discrepancies in Weber's accounting.
The first single for the album, " We Didn't Start the Fire ", was released in September and it became Joel's third — and most recent — US number-one hit, spending two weeks at the top. Storm Front was released in October, and it eventually became Joel's first number-one album since Glass Houses , nine years earlier.
For this album, he wanted a new sound, and worked with Mick Jones of Foreigner fame. Joel is also credited as one of the keyboard players on Jones' self-titled solo album, and is featured in the official video for Jones' single "Just Wanna Hold"; Joel can be seen playing the piano while his then-wife Christie Brinkley joins him and kisses him. Joel also revamped his backing band, dismissing everyone but drummer Liberty DeVitto , guitarist David Brown, and saxophone player Mark Rivera , and bringing in new faces, including multi-instrumentalist Crystal Taliefero.
The album was also notable for its song " Leningrad ", written after Joel met a clown in the Soviet city of that name during his tour in , and " The Downeaster Alexa ", written to underscore the plight of fishermen on Long Island who are barely able to make ends meet. The song was originally written in , around the time Joel was writing songs for An Innocent Man ; but "And So It Goes" did not fit that album's retro theme, so it was held back until Storm Front.
Joel said in a Masterclass session in Pittsburgh that Storm Front was a turbulent album and that "And So It Goes", as the last song on the album, portrayed the calm and tranquility that often follows a violent thunderstorm. That year, Joel also started work on River of Dreams , finishing the album in early Its cover art was a colorful painting by Christie Brinkley that was a series of scenes from each of the songs on the album. The eponymous first single was the last top 10 hit Joel has penned to date, reaching No.
Beginning in , Joel toured extensively with Elton John on a series of "Face to Face" tours, making them the longest running and most successful concert tandem in pop music history. In February , Joel denied rumors in the trade press that he canceled a summer leg of the tour, claiming there were never any dates booked and that he intended to take the year off.
It's always fun playing with him. Joel and second wife Christie Brinkley announced on April 13, , that they had separated, and their divorce was finalized in August The two remained friends.
Joel wrote and recorded the song "Shameless" that was later covered by Garth Brooks and reached No. Joel performed with Brooks during his Central Park concert in Ray Charles made the induction speech and mentioned the duet Joel wrote for the two of them, " Baby Grand " a track on Joel's album The Bridge released in At the time, Joel said that it would be his last tour and possibly his last concert.
The concert dubbed The Night of the Years ran for close to four hours and was later released as Years: The Millennium Concert. All were composed by Joel and performed by Hyung-ki Joo.
Joel often uses bits of these songs as interludes in live performances, and some of them are part of the score for the hit show Movin' Out. The album topped the classical charts at No. That night, he also performed " Your Song " with Elton John. The compilation also includes the Umixit software, in which people can remix "Zanzibar" and a live version of "I Go to Extremes" with their PC. On January 7, , Joel began a tour across the U.
Having not written, or at least released, any new songs in 13 years, he featured a sampling of songs from throughout his career, including major hits as well as obscure tunes like "Zanzibar" and " All for Leyna ". His tour included an unprecedented 12 sold-out concerts over several months at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The singer's stint of 12 shows at Madison Square Garden broke a previous record set by New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen , who played 10 sold-out shows at the same arena.
The record earned Joel the first retired number 12 in the arena owned by a non-athlete. This honor has also been given to Joel at the Wells Fargo Center Philadelphia formerly the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia where a banner in the colors of the Philadelphia Flyers is hung honoring Joel's 46 Philadelphia sold-out shows. He also had a banner raised in his honor for being the highest grossing act in the history of the Times Union Center formerly the Knickerbocker Arena and Pepsi Arena in Albany, New York.
This honor was given to him as part of the April 17, , show he did there. On June 13, , Columbia released 12 Gardens Live , a double album containing 32 live recordings from a collection of the 12 different shows at Madison Square Garden during Joel's tour.
Joel visited the United Kingdom and Ireland for the first time in many years as part of the European leg of his tour. On July 31, , he performed a free concert in Rome , with the Colosseum as the backdrop. On January 3 of that year, news was leaked to the New York Post that Billy had recorded a new song with lyrics—this being the first new song with lyrics he'd written in almost 14 years.
He is now holding the highest box office attendance of any artist to play at the arena. A banner was raised in his honor marking this achievement. On December 1, , Joel premiered his new song " Christmas in Fallujah ". The track was dedicated to servicemen based in Iraq.
Joel wrote it in September after reading numerous letters sent to him from American soldiers in Iraq. Proceeds from the song benefited the Homes For Our Troops foundation. On January 26, , Joel performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra celebrating the st anniversary of the Academy of Music.
Joel performed his classical piece titled, "Waltz No. He also played many of his less well-known pieces, with full orchestral backing arranged by Mr. Joel's staying power as a touring act continues to the present day. The casino honored him with a banner displaying his name and the number 10 to hang in the arena. His mood was light, and joke-filled, even introducing himself as "Billy Joel's dad" and stating "you guys overpaid to see a fat bald guy".
On July 16, , and July 18, , Joel played the final concerts at Shea Stadium before its demolition. The concerts were featured in the documentary film Last Play at Shea. The film was released on DVD on February 8, On December 11, , Joel recorded his own rendition of " Christmas in Fallujah " during a concert at Acer Arena in Sydney and released it as a live single in Australia only.
It is the only official release of Joel performing "Christmas in Fallujah", as Cass Dillon sang on the studio recording and the handful of times the song was played live in Joel sang the song throughout his December tour of Australia. DeVitto had never been given songwriting or arranging credit on any of Joel's songs, but he claimed that he helped arrange some of them, including "Only the Good Die Young".
Additionally, the agreement marked the first time since Joel regained control of his publishing rights in the s that he began to use an administrator to handle his catalog within the U. The agreement's focus is on increasing the use of Joel's music in movies, television programs, and commercials. In May , it was announced that Joel would hold his first ever indoor Irish concert at the O 2 in Dublin on November 1. He subsequently announced his return to the UK for the first time in seven years to perform three dates in October and November.
Joel played two arena dates in Manchester and Birmingham plus a very special show at London's Hammersmith Apollo. The venue holds a capacity of 1, and sold out in five minutes.
Joel headlined a solo arena concert in New York City for the first time since when he performed at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on December 31, Joel announced a concert residency at Madison Square Garden , playing one concert a month indefinitely, starting January 27, In , Joel performed 21 concerts in addition to his monthly Madison Square Garden residency.
On June 24, , he returned to Hicksville High School fifty years after his would-be graduating class received their diplomas,  to deliver the honorary commencement address.
It was also the 25th anniversary of receiving his own diploma from the same High School. In , Joel announced a concert at Camden Yards , home of the Baltimore Orioles , marking the first-ever concert at the baseball stadium. In , Joel merged his long-held love of boating with his desire for a second career. In November , Joel opened a shop in Oyster Bay, Long Island , to manufacture custom-made, retro-styled motorcycles and accessories.
The book was originally going to be released in June , but in March Joel decided against publishing the book and officially cancelled his deal with HarperCollins. Joel is expected to return his advance on that sum to the publisher. Joel's first wife was Elizabeth Weber Small.
When their relationship began, she was married to Jon Small, his music partner in the short-lived duo Attila , with whom she had a son. When the affair was revealed, Weber temporarily severed her relationships with both men. Weber and Joel later married in and she became his manager. Joel married a second time, to model Christie Brinkley , in March On October 2, , Joel married chef Katie Lee , his third wife.
Joel's daughter, Alexa Ray, then 18, served as maid of honor. Joel's second wife, Christie Brinkley, attended the union and gave the couple her blessing. On June 17, , they announced their separation. Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo conducted the ceremony. Joel has battled depression for many years. In , a career decline and personal tragedies worsened his moods. He left a suicide note and attempted to end his life by drinking furniture polish. Later he said, "I drank furniture polish.
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