In this article, we will discuss a number of unexpected occurrences in Billy Joel’s existence. These ten short facts will help us understand the artist’s lifestyle.
10 facts about Billy Joel
This week, Billy Joel revealed on Howard Stern that he had tried heroin (which he wrote about in his bizarre 1982 song “Scandinavian Skies”) and that he contemplated forming a supergroup with Sting and Don Henley. Here are some additional startling Piano Man facts.
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- He Attempted Suicide by Using Furniture Varnisha.
After a breakup at age 21, Joel searched his mother’s belongings for poison. He contemplated bleach, but the skull and crossbones deterred him.
He believed furniture polish would taste better, but “All I did was fart furniture polish for a few days and polish my mother’s chairs,” he told Details. The experience inspired his composition “The Stranger” about the dark side.
- He Was an Excellent Boxer.
After bullies knocked the books out of Joel’s arms as he walked to his piano lessons as a child, he took up boxing as an adolescent and even won a few Golden Gloves amateur bouts. In one of his most recent fights, he suffered a fractured nose.
- He Fled Woodstock Because the Restrooms Were Filthy.
Joel spent a day and a half at the upstate New York music festival in 1969 because he wanted to see Jimi Hendrix, but he departed because the bathrooms were so filthy.
- The Obnoxious Tune “Laura” is About His Mother.
Joel’s drummer Liberty DeVitto confirmed that Rosalind Joel inspired the swirling, an angry song with the lyrics “Laura/Calls me/midnight/passes on her painful information” and “I’m her machine/She can punch all the keys/She can press any button I was programmed through.” Laura is the title because it has the same number of syllables as “mother,” as suggested by DeVitto.
- And “Vienna” is About a Visit to His Father.
Billy’s German father, Helmuth, subsequently known as Howard, a classical pianist who fled Germany during the Holocaust and made his way to The Bronx, where Billy was born, was hardly known to him. Joel hadn’t seen his father in over a decade when he was in his twenties and in Europe, but he heard he was in Vienna, where they met.
- “Big Shooter” is Somewhat About Bianca Jagger.
Joel has stated that the song is a parody of himself, but in 2010 he told Howard Stern that he wrote it after having dinner with Mick and Bianca Jagger and envisioned the lyrics to be Mick’s feelings toward his then-wife.
- He Experienced a Heavy Metal Phase.
In 1970, he was a member of the duo Attila, which released a single album with Joel dressed as a barbarian and surrounded by chunks of raw flesh on the cover. Before that, two years after seeing the Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” Joel formed an ensemble that performed British Invasion-inspired covers.
- Even Though He is an Atheist, He Believes in Spirits.
When Joel resided in East Hampton, he witnessed a 19th-century woman sitting and brushing her hair in his home.
- Even Though He Was Born to Nonobservant Jewish Parents, He Attended Mass as a Child.
Billy attended church with his Italian-American and Polish-American Catholic companions on Sundays while he was growing up in Hicksville, Long Island. He even confessed his sins.
- He Completed High Education at the Age of 43.
He left Hicksville High School without completing his assignments, but in 1992 he submitted the missing essays and received his diploma.
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