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Billy Joel

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Updated December 11, 2012

Name:

William Martin Joel, better known as Billy Joel.

Born:

May 9, 1949, Bronx, New York.

Family:

His father, Howard, was a Jewish refugee from Germany. His mother, Rosalind Nyman, was born in England to an agnostic Jewish family. His half-brother, Alexander, is also a musician.

Joel married his business manager, Elizabeth Weber, in 1971. They divorced in 1982. In 1985 he wed model Christie Brinkley, with whom he had a daughter named Alexa Ray. They divorced in 1994. His 2004 marriage to Katie Lee, 32 years his junior, raised eyebrows as she was only 5 years older than his daughter.

Education:

Joel attended Hicksville High School and was to have graduated in 1967. Having overslept and missing an exam, he was told that he would have to attend summer school in order to graduate. Instead, he opted to begin his music career. In 1992, the school decided to waive the requirement and allowed him to graduate 25 years after he left school.

Career:

Singer, songwriter and pianist Billy Joel is one of the few pop artists to have Top Ten hits in the '70s, '80s, and '90s. He has won six Grammys and is a member of both the Songwriter's Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Although now semi-retired, he continues to write and perform.

Depression:

In a book by Hank Bordowitz entitled "Billy Joel: The Life and Times of an Angry Young Man" it was revealed that Joel has battled for years with depression and alcoholism and tried to commit suicide by drinking furniture polish. He is quoted as saying, "I drank furniture polish. It looked tastier than bleach." Prior to the attempt, he left a suicide note, which later became the lyrics to "Tomorrow Is Today."
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