How Rich is Billy Joel?

Name: William Martin Joel
Birthdate: May 9, 1949 66 years, The Bronx, New York City, New York, United States
Occupation: pianist, composer, singer-songwriter

Billy Joel, 2009. Photo: David Shankbone

Billy Joel, known to many at “The Piano Man” after his 1973 hit from the album of the same name, is a New York born-and-bred musician who has been making music for over 40 years. Though born in the Bronx section of New York City, his parents Howard and Rosalind moved to Hicksville, Long Island, NY, where they raised the future rocker until their divorce in 1957. It was Joel’s mother Rosalind, in fact, that forced him to play the piano at first. He was short even as a child, and had taken up boxing to learn how to defend himself. In fact, his famous nose is only in part due to his parents’ heritage. He broke his nose in a fight during his teenage years. Billy may not have become a famous boxer, but the skill playing the piano ended up helping his mother pay the bills.

Although a strong student, Billy Joel dropped out of Hicksville High School, reportedly saying “To hell with it. If I’m not going to Columbia University, I’m going to Columbia Records, and you don’t need a high school diploma over there.”[1] He made good on his words, working his way up from playing with the Echoes to Attila and the Hassles, to eventually striking out on his own as a solo artist with his 1971 album Cold Spring Harbor, and yes, signing to Columbia Records in the process. He’s also shared the stage and the recording studio with legendary piano men Ray Charles and Elton John, engaging in several package tours with the latter in the 1990s and 2000s.

Billy Joel has had 33 Top 40 hits, 23 Grammy nominations which yielded 6 Grammy awards, and has sold over 150 million records worldwide. He should be fantastically rich by now, but bad business decisions over his publishing and dishonest accounting during his first marriage, as well as 2 subsequent marriages that ended in divorce resulted in Billy being broke at least once during his stint as a rock and roll superstar. But hey, at least he was married to supermodel Christie Brinkley, right?

Billy Joel has a current net worth of $180 million USD.

How much is $180 million?

With three ex-wives, Billy’s millions would be enough to keep each one of them set for several lifetimes with $60 million a piece. Of course, Billy’s current wife, Alexis Roderick, might have something to say about that, especially with a child on the way. That lucky kid will have to talk to adult sibling, Alexa Ray Joel, for allowance advice.

[1] Bordowitz, Hank. Billy Joel: The Life and Times of an Angry Young Man. 2006: 22


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