Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Billy Joel Book Review

I was looking at the book options at Blogging for Books and there were so many that I wasn't sure where to start.  There were fun adult coloring books which would be fun but I was drawn to the few biography books including someone that I love him music and might not be able to deal with the life he has lead.  Billy Joel: The Definitive Biography by Fred Schruers is about the life of Billy Joel and no matter what else I looked at, I was drawn back to this book so I had to read it.

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 and sweaty clubs 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 a beloved rock star’s epic American journey.

I don't know about you but I grew up listening to Billy Joel on records, tapes and then CDs.  Hearing his songs bring up good memories of childhood and enjoy all of the talent that went into his music writing, singing and piano playing.  I always knew that he went through some tough times but as a kid, that means less then it means as an adult so I was fascinated to read this book.  The introduction sort of brought things into perspective because Billy Joel is still out there performing when he is 64 years old and the process changes just because of the age difference.  But turning the page to the first chapter went all the back to his childhood with the stories of his family that fled Nazi Germany in the middle of the war to save their lives and loose their textile business.  The book jumped to his childhood growing up with his mother and "sister" (who was his cousin) with no father and his struggle to try to graduate from high school so that his mom wouldn't be disappointed.  I wasn't thinking that the story was going to start there but with his struggles with drugs and alcohol so it was interesting to see that everyone has a history and they are willing to share what happened before he got famous.  This is a well written and interesting historical account of the family which I really enjoyed.  I hope that you enjoy this and check it out at your local library or bookstore soon.

**I received a copy of this book for my review and honest opinion.  All opinions here are my own.


  1. I didn't know this book was out there but I am going to look into borrowing it from my local library. I grew up in the same town as Billy Joel (my dad used to go fishing in his backyard) and his music was played so often that it actually feels like he was a member of our family. :)
    Thank you for this review!

    1. Hope you check it out and enjoy. I feel like I grew up with his music too (even if not in his backyard). It was very interesting and I was totally impressed with how deep in his background they got instead of just the glitz and glam which is what I was expecting!


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