William Martin "Billy" Joel (born May 9, 1949) is an American musician and pianist, singer-songwriter, and classical 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, according to the RIAA.
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 Grammy Award winner, a 23-time Grammy nominee and has sold over 150 million records worldwide. He was inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame (1992), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1999), the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (2006) and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame (2009). Joel "retired" from recording pop music in 1993 but continues to tour.
Joel was born in The Bronx and raised in Hicksville, New York. His father, Howard (born Helmuth), was born in Germany, the son of German merchant and manufacturer Karl Amson Joel who, after the advent of the Nazi regime, emigrated to Switzerland and later to the United States. Billy Joel's mother, Rosalind Nyman, was born in England to Philip and Rebecca Nyman. Both Joel's parents were born Jewish. They divorced in 1960, and his father moved to Vienna, Austria. Billy has a sister, Judith Joel, and a half-brother, Alexander Joel, who is an acclaimed classical conductor in Europe, currently chief musical director of the Staatstheater Braunschweig.