Billy Joel calls his career success, "a miracle."
In a wide-ranging cover story interview for Billboards new issue, The Piano Man riffs on his musical life. Among the highlights:
- "My father was a better musician than me, and he couldn’t get anything going."
- After more than three years away from performing live, his acclaimed set in New York's 12-12-12 all-star benefit concert after Hurricane Sandy reignited his interest.
- Billy won't write "We Didn’t Start the Fire" part two, "Because I don’t like part one that much. And I’d have to write about Trump."
- He’s canceled -- and returned most of the advance for -- a planned memoir in 2011 after the publisher asked him to ramp up the "scandalous stuff."
- And he has no desire for a bio-pic or bio-musical along the lines of Rocket Man, Jersey Boys or Bohemian Rhapsody.
- His first show with a band, was in 1965, covering Beatles tunes at a Long Island church. The girl who later inspired "Only the Good Die Young" was in the crowd. "And I thought, ‘Oh, my God, Virginia is looking at me!’ The kids are dancing and they’re clapping. And then the priest comes over and gives us each 15 bucks. It didn’t even occur to me: You get paid for this? That was the day I decided that’s what I’m going to do."
- A big reason he's stopped creating new songs was that he lost the desire to write lyrics -- which was always his least favorite part of the job.
- In an interesting coincidence, Billy mentions that he recorded 12 albums the same number as The Beatles, and has nothing left to prove.
- He's just over $100 million shy of selling one billion dollars worth of concert tickets.
- He's drawn 13.1 million people to his shows. According to Billboard Boxscore, that even outpaces Paul McCartney