Billy Joel celebrated his 65th birthday a week early with a star-studded Town Hall meeting moderated by Howard Stern and Robin Quivers.
Broadcast Monday on Sirius XM’s Howard 100 and Billy Joel channels, the event -- held at New York City’s Cutting Room -- featured live performances by Pink, Melissa Etheridge, Boyz II Men, Idina Menzel and Tony Bennett, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“We kept it small,” said Stern of the intimate crowd of 100 guests, which included Matt Lauer, Rachael Ray and pre-approved fans, who participated in a moderated question-and-answer session that was interspersed with Joel’s trademark humor, insights and musical interludes of well-known Joel compositions “Summer Highland Falls” and “Vienna.” He also did dead-on impressions of Johnny Cash and Wolfman Jack, and an epic cover of “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum.
The event, which lasted over two hours, allowed fans a rare opportunity to delve into Joel’s songwriting secrets (“Piano Man” isn’t so much a lyric, but a limerick, he said), as well as ask questions about his motorcycle accident -- a fan actually requested his autograph as he was lying at the side of the road -- and find out which cover of his songs he hated.
Stern got right down to it, immediately asking Joel if he had any regrets at age 65. “If you have no regrets, what kind of life did you have?” Joel answered.
THR lists 11 more things we learned at the April 28 Town Hall. Here are two:
- Why hasn’t Joel written any new pop songs? “I just don’t want to,” he said. “You have to want to write new songs. Elton John asked, ‘When are you going to make another album?’ I say to him, ‘Why don’t you make less albums?' ”
- Joel once tried heroin, and the result was the song “Scandinavian Skies” from the 1982 album, The Nylon Curtain. He said he only did it once in the late '70s in Amsterdam. “It got me so high, I didn’t know how to deal with it,” he said. “It scared me.