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Billy Joel:

The Definitive Biography

  • Read by: Kirk Thornton
  • Runtime: 13.0 Hours
  • Recording: Unabridged
  • Release date: 10.28.2014
  • Publisher: Penguin Random House
  • Genre: Nonfiction/Biography & Autobiography
  • 12.97 hrs10/28/2014Unabridged
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-8041-9405-1
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The long-awaited all-access biography of a music legend

In Billy Joel, acclaimed music journalist Fred Schruers draws upon more than one hundred hours of exclusive interviews with Joel to present an unprecedented look at the life, career, and legacy of the pint-sized kid from Long Island who became a rock icon.

Exhibiting unparalleled intimate knowledge, Schruers chronicles Joel’s rise to the top of the charts, from his working-class origins in Levittown and early days spent in boxing rings to his monumental success in the seventies and eighties. He also explores Joel’s creative transformation in the nineties, his dream performance with Paul McCartney at Shea Stadium in 2008, and beyond.

Along the way, Schruers reveals the stories behind all the key events and relationships—including Joel’s high-profile marriages and legal battles—that defined his path to stardom and inspired his signature songs, such as “Piano Man,” “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” “New York State of Mind,” and “She’s Always a Woman.” Throughout, he captures the spirit of a restless artist determined to break through by sharing, in his deeply personal lyrics, the dreams and heartbreaks of suburban American life.

Comprehensive, vibrantly written, and filled with Joel’s memories and reflections—as well as those of the family, friends, and band members who have formed his inner circle, including Christie Brinkley, Alexa Ray Joel, Jon Small, and Steve Cohen—this is the definitive account of the beloved rock star’s epic American journey.

Editorial Reviews

"[A] funny, revealing, and poignant look at [Joel's] long career.Boston Globe[Billy Joel] not only lives up to its subtitle, but has the strengths of both an autobiography and biography.... [It] will likely end up as the most complete tome on the Bard of Long Island, with the most access to its subject.Houston PressSchruers clearly realizes he has gold in his interviews with Joel, his friends, paramours and confidants... [He delivers] insights on individual songs that will surprise even the most studied Joel fan.... [and] has given us the most complete look at Joel’s life and career to date. Dallas Morning NewsSchruers' account of Joel's 1970s rise is fantastic, rich in anecdotes about the origins of different songs. Billboard
[A] funny and revealing account of one of the most popular songwriters of our time.New York Daily News

"Schruers uses interviews to great effect, allowing to emerge the everyman persona that resonates with Joel's fans...a fair, thorough assessment of Joel's celebrity.Publishers Weekly[T]he rollicking story of a Hicksville boy made good. Maura Johnston, Newsday

"If you call yourself a Joel fan, you'll be reading this.Newsday

"[A] funny, revealing, and poignant look at [Joel’s] long career.”

Boston Globe

"[A] funny and revealing account.”

New York Daily News

“Schruers clearly realizes he has gold in his interviews with Joel, his friends, paramours, and confidants…[He delivers] insights on individual songs that will surprise even the most studied Joel fan…[and] has given us the most complete look at Joel’s life and career to date.”

Dallas Morning News

“If you call yourself a Joel fan, you’ll be reading this.”

Newsday

“[Billy Joel] not only lives up to its subtitle, but has the strengths of both an autobiography and biography…[It] will likely end up as the most complete tome on the Bard of Long Island, with the most access to its subject.”

Houston Press

“Schruers’ account of Joel’s 1970s rise is fantastic, rich in anecdotes about the origins of different songs.”

Billboard

“Schruers uses interviews to great effect, allowing to emerge the everyman persona that resonates with Joel’s fans…a fair, thorough assessment of Joel’s celebrity.”

Publishers Weekly

“As intimate details about the iconic performer’s rise to fame during the 1960s and ‘70s abound, Thornton performs with enthusiasm and delight. He handles the many characters who are quoted with care and gives them distinct voices. The broad time span of the book allows listeners to hear updated information about Joel’s performances, personal life, and many legal battles. Kirk is up to the challenge, keeping to a smooth pace as he holds listener attention. Billy Joel’s fans will enjoy hours of entertainment with this selection.”

AudioFile

Author Biography

Fred Schruers enjoyed a successful high-profile career as a writer at Rolling Stone, chronicling an impressive body of musicians and actors, including Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen, Jack Nicholson, Sheryl Crow, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Chris Rock. His writing has also appeared in Premiere, Entertainment Weekly, Men’s Journal, GQ, the Los Angeles Times, and Columbia Journalism Review.

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