Billy Joel Greatest Hits

Billy Joel’s Career

Color Photo of Billy Joel Today
Color Photo of Billy Joel Today

Billy Joel is an American pianist, singer-songwriter, and composer.  Since releasing his first hit song, “Piano Man,” in 1973, Joel has become the sixth best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in the United States. His compilation album “Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2” is the third best-selling album in the United States by discs shipped. Joel had Top 40 hits in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, achieving 33 Top 40 hits in the United States, all of which he wrote himself. He is also a six-time winner who has been nominated for 23 Grammy Awards throughout his career. He has sold over 150 million records worldwide. This is his story…

Early Childhood

Born William Martin “Billy” Joel on May 9, 1949, in the Bronx and was raised in the suburb of Hicksville, New York. His father, Howard (born Helnmuth), was born in Germany, the son of German merchant and manufacturer Karl Amson Jowl. He emigrated to Switzerland and later to the United States in order to escape the Nazi regime. Billy Joel’s mother, Rosslind Nyman, was born in England. They are both Jewish. Billy has a sister named Judith Joel and a half-brother named Alexander Joel. His half-brother is an acclaimed classical conductor in Europe.

Joel’s father was a classical pianist. Billy started playing the piano at an early age at his mother’s insistence. While growing up, he was being bullied because of his interest in music rather than sports. When he became a teenager, he took up boxing so he could defend himself. He boxed successfully on the amateur Golden Gloves circuit for a short time, winning twenty-two bouts, and abandoned the sport after breaking his nose, two matches later.

Billy Joel Younger Color Photo
Billy Joel Younger Color Photo Signing At Piano

He attended the Hicksville High School until 1967, and did not graduate with his class. It was during this time he was playing piano at a bar to help his mother to make ends meet. This interfered with his attendance at school. Because of his playing, he did not have enough credits to graduate and did not want to go to summer school to earn his diploma. So, he went to Columbia Records. Finally, in 1992, he was awarded his diploma ater after submitting essays to the school board.

Music Career

When Billy saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, he decided to pursue a music career. Joel founded the Echoes, a group that specialized in British Invasion covers but had no charted hits. He played piano on several records released through Kama Sutra Productions which included playing on the hit song “Leader of The Pack” in 1965. He joined the Hassles in 1967. They released four singles which did not become hits and were commercial failures.

Joel signed a contract with the record company Family Productions (owned by Artie Ripp), with which he recorded his first solo album, “Cold Spring Harbor” in 1971, which was another commercial disappointment. After this failure, in 1973, Joel signed a recording contract with Columbia Records. It was here where he found great success.

Billy Joel’s Popular Music Hits

Piano Man Billy Joel 45 RPM Record Columbia Label
Piano Man Billy Joel 45 RPM Record Columbia Label

Billy Joel’s first recording single with Columbia was “Piano Man” which went to #25 on the Hot 100 chart in February, 1974. It stayed on the charts for fourteen weeks. His first top-ten hit from his album “The Stranger” was “Just The Way You Are” which went to #3 on the pop charts in November, 1977. His next album “52nd Street” produced another top-ten hit “My Life” which peaked at #3 in November, 1978. The next album titled “Glass Houses” produced two more top-ten hits “You May Be Right” at #7, and “It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me” which on to become his first #1 hit on the charts. The song stayed at #1 for two weeks in 1980.

In 1983, Billy released the album titled “An Innocent Man” and this one produced three more top ten hits, and his second number one song. The songs are “Tell Her About It” peaked at #1 for one week, “Uptown Girl” which peaked at #3 for five weeks, and “An Innocent Man” peaked at #10.

Its Still Rock And Roll To Me Billy Joel 45 RPM Record
Its Still Rock And Roll To Me Billy Joel 45 RPM Record

In 1986, Billy Joel released the album titled “The Bridge” which produced two more top-ten hits on the pop charts “Modern Woman” peaked at #10 and “A Matter of Trust” and it peaked at #10. His next album titled “Storm Front” released in 1989, produced two more top-ten hits including “We Didn’t Start The Fire” which went to #1 for two weeks, which was his third number one hit single. The other song “I Go To Extremes” peaked at #6.

Billy Joel’s last top-ten hit single was “The River Of Dreams” in 1993 and peaked at #3 for one week. His last charted single on the Hot 100 chart was “To Make you Feel My Love” in 1997, peaking at #50.

All told, Billy Joel had a total of 3 #1’s, 13 Top 10, 23 Top 20, and 33 Top 40 hits. He also had 11 top-ten albums. Billboard ranks Billy Joel as the #6 artist from 1980-1989 and the #36 artist of all-time from 1955-2010. Billboard ranked Billy Joel as the #9 artist of all-time on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Billy Joel River of Dreams Album Cover
Billy Joel River of Dreams Album Cover


He has won six Grammy Awards, inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame 1992, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 1999, and the Long Island Hall of Fame in 2006. In 2001 he received the Johnny Mercer Award. In 2013, he received the Kennedy Center Honors, the nation’s highest honor for influencing American culture through the arts.

Top Ten and #1 Hits

Below, you will find a complete listing of all of Billy Joel’s top ten and number one hits from the Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts. The list will include the song title, date song reached #1 and the debut date for all others, peak position, and number of weeks at #1, #2, #3 in (). Number one songs will be in bold.

Hot 100 Hits

  1. Just The Way You Are – November 12, 1977 #3 (2)
  2. My Life – November 4, 1978 #3 (3)
  3. You May Be Right – March 15, 1980 #7
  4. It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me – July 19, 1980 #1 (2)
  5. Tell Her About It – September 24, 1983 #1 (1)
  6. Uptown Girl – September 24, 1983 #3 (5)
  7. An Innocent Man – December 17, 1983 #10
  8. You’re Only Human – July 13, 1985 #9
  9. Modern Woman – June 7, 1986 #10
  10. A Matter Of Time – August 9, 1986 #10
  11. We Didn’t Start The Fire – December 9, 1989 #1 (2)
  12. I Go To Extremes – January 13, 1990 #6
  13. The River Of Dreams – July 31, 1993 #3 (1)

Adult Contemporary Hits

  1. Piano Man -March 2, 1974 #4
  2. Just The Way You Are – January 7, 1978 #1 (4)
  3. She’s Always A Woman – August 12, 1978 #2 (2)
  4. My Life – November 11, 1978 #2 (5)
  5. Honestly – April 28, 1979 #9
  6. Don’t Ask Me Why – September 6, 1980 #1 (2)
  7. She’s Got A Way – November 28, 1981 #4
  8. Tell Her About It – September 24, 1983 #1 (2)
  9. Uptown Girl – October 1, 1983 #2 (4)
  10. An Innocent Man – March 3, 1984 #1 (1)
  11. The Longest Time – May 19, 1984 #1 (2)
  12. Leave A Tender Moment Alone – September 8, 1984 #1 (2)
  13. Keeping The Faith – January 19, 1985 #3
  14. You’re Only Human (Second Wind) – July 13, 1985 #2 (3)
  15. Modern Woman – June 14, 1986 #7
  16. This Is The Time – January 10, 1987 #1 (3)
  17. Baby Grand – March 21, 1987 #3
  18. We Didn’t Start The Fire – October 14, 1989 #5
  19. I Go To Extremes – January 20, 1990 #4
  20. And So it Goes – July 21, 1990 #5
  21. The River Of Dreams – September 11, 1993 #1 (12)
  22. All About You – November 6, 1993 #6
  23. To Make you Feel My Love – August 8, 1997 #9

It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me #1 two weeks on Hot 100 Chart

The River of Dreams #1 12 weeks on Adult Contemporary Chart

Shop Billy Joel Greatest Hits

If you are a great fan of Billy Joel, I highly recommend the following albums “Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2” and “Volume 3“, as they contain all of his number one songs and top ten hits.

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Go back to the top 100 songs of all time home page.

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