Billy Joel: Mr New York?

Billy Joel is a symbol of New York as much as the Empire State Building or The Brooklyn Bridge and the Bronx born entertainer has taken over one of the Big Apple’s other attractions: Madison Square Gardens. 

The 65-year-old has announced his record breaking 13th and 14th show at Madison Square Gardens as the singer/songwriter extends his residency at the great arena.  Back in December 2013, it was announced that Billy Joel would become the first ever performer to be given a residency at the MSG, which is also home to the New York Knicks and Rangers.  

Since then – Joel has played 12-sold out gigs to a capacity crowd of 20,000 people. The announcement of a 13th gig, on January 9 2015, broke the previous record of the longest run at MSG of 12 set in 2006- of course held by Joel himself.

The 14th gig which will be held a month later, on February 18th, marks Joel’s 60th concert at MSG, at total only surpassed by his long-time friend – Elton John – who has taken to the stage 64 times. 

Selling out MSG for consecutive months is no easy feat, yet every time a new date is added the tickets continue to sell-out at a fantastic rate leaving some fans disappointed.  But what makes the Piano Man, such a hit? 

He’s sold 150 million records worldwide making him the sixth-best-selling recording artist of all time and the third-best-selling solo artist of all time, beaten only by Elvis and Elton John. His sell-out European Tour, which hit the UK last year, showed that whatever attracts the crowds to Joel, must be something special considering he hasn’t released a single since 1993’s River of Dreams

Joel has global appeal – his music is unique and original – from ballads to rock and his performances on the stage are nothing short of electrifying despite his advancing years.  He can no longer summersault off the piano and he may resist from trashing the stage but he can still rock and entertain the crowd in a way that performers half age struggle to do.  And his contacts in the business also helps – some gigs are politely interrupted by big names such as AC/DC’s Brian Johnson. 

But if you’re over here in the UK and have so far led a sheltered life, you might not be so familiar with Billy Joel and assuming you don’t have the funds to simply jump on a flight to New York – I’ve kindly put a playlist together for your listening pleasure.   Pay close attention to his 1977 album – The Stranger. 

Take a listen and add another reason to your list to why you just have to book that flight to New York!