There are so many reasons to love Long Island, from its scenic vistas and its long beaches to its delicious seafood and gorgeous landscaping.
But here’s another one for you – did you know that music legend Billy Joel, most commonly referred to as the Piano Man, is also a product of Nassau County?
A Childhood on Long Island
Although Joel was born in the Bronx, he spent most of his childhood in Long Island. He grew up in Hicksville, in a home that was one of many built by Long Island developer William Levitt’s firm. Billy Joel was just one year old when his family moved to the subdivision, which took the place of old potato farms.
Long Island was where Joel first found his love of music, eventually going on to form his own band. He speaks frequently of the music education he received in high school, and his band, The Commandos, played multiple gigs like the Hicksville High School fall mixer.
After dropping out of Hicksville High School, he went on to become a successful solo artist. He’s still as loyal as ever, having had the same band for the last 25 years and the same road crew for over 40.
Joel’s Love of Long Island
Billy Joel isn’t quiet about his love for his hometown. He croons frequently about Long Island, whether it’s mentioning Manhasset’s Miracle Mile in “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” or referencing Oyster Bay in “The Ballad of Billy the Kid,” Joel makes sure his listeners know how spectacular this region truly is through his music.
He also loves the ocean, writing at least one song about the water on each and every one of his albums. As a young man, he used to head out on the North Shore frequently on borrowed boats.
Today, he still lives on Long Island. He owns multiple homes in Huntington, Sag Harbor, and Centre Island. His gorgeous beachfront Sagaponock home sold in 2014 for $19.95 million. He even owns a bike shop, 20th Century Cycles, in Oyster Bay. Now that’s invested!
How He’s Giving Back
It’s no secret that Billy Joel is one of the most affluent musicians of our time. However, he’s not keeping that wealth to himself, instead choosing to give back to the region that made him the man he is today. He has raised money for many local charities, including Long Island Cares. This organization helps fight hunger in the region.
In addition, Joel performed in the 12-12-12- Concert for Sandy Relief, which raised millions of dollars for disaster recovery efforts following Superstorm Sandy, which hit both New York and New Jersey.
He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty, either. In 2013, Joel contributed to the 2013 annual Friends of the Bay Cleanup. This massive effort, which took place in Oyster Bay, required Joel to help haul tons of garbage away from the bay and its many beaches.
Billy Joel is a Long Island native and recognizes how integral this region has been to his success as a music superstar. What’s more, he’s not afraid to help out others in his community and continues to help out his home on a regular basis. Billy Joel, this is why Long Island loves you – “just the way you are!”