Billy Joel - All My Life

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01*20090502

Paul Sexton presents the story of American singer, songwriter and pianist Billy Joel as he celebrates his 60th birthday.

The two-part series will look at Billy's music and how the influences of doo-wop, classical, and The Beatles have shaped Billy Joel the singer, the piano player and the songwriter.

His fusion of two distinct eras made him a recording and touring superstar in the late 70s and through the 80s, as he racked an impressive string of multi-platinum albums and hit singles.

He is one of the highest ranking artists in terms of record sales in the US, and has sold in excess of 150 million albums worldwide.

He also holds the record at Madison Square Gardens for the longest sequence of sold out shows - twelve in all - by a single artist.

As well as multiple Grammy Awards he also received a Grammy Legend Award and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock Roll Hall of Fame in the 1990s.

His musical, Movin Out, directed by Twyla Tharp, was nominated for 10 Tony Awards in 2002, including Billy's first Tony win for Best Orchestration.

Featuring an exclusive interview recorded recently in Los Angeles, Joel reflects on his life growing up without a father (his father Howard left when Billy was still a boy) and the huge influence of The Beatles and the British Invasion" of bands in the 60s.

He talks about the failure of his first record deal, his suicide attempt as a young man, and his relationship with his first wife and manager Elizabeth Webber (a relationship which would later spawn such classic songs as She's Always a Woman and Just The Way You Are).

Legendary producer Phil Ramone also talks about the secrets of their studio work in the 70s and 80s which led to the phenomenal success of classic albums such as The Stranger and 52nd Street.

The second of the two programmes broadcasts on Billy's actual birthday, 9 May, and continues Billy's story up to the present day.

The end of this programme features Billy performing with Paul Mccartney at the Last Play at Shea Stadium in 2008 and more recently with Elton John in their Face to Face reunion tour.

"I'm not just 60, I'm also 45, I'm 32, I'm 21, I'm 16, I'm 12, I'm every age I've ever been....and I enjoy all of it....I'm enjoying it (making music) maybe more now than I have in a long time, it kind of goes back to the original thing of being in a band, it's kind of fun, this is so much fun, it's the best job in the world" (Billy Joel)."

01*20090502

Paul Sexton presents the story of American singer, songwriter and pianist Billy Joel as he celebrates his 60th birthday.

The two-part series will look at Billy's music and how the influences of doo-wop, classical, and The Beatles have shaped Billy Joel the singer, the piano player and the songwriter.

His fusion of two distinct eras made him a recording and touring superstar in the late 70s and through the 80s, as he racked an impressive string of multi-platinum albums and hit singles.

He is one of the highest ranking artists in terms of record sales in the US, and has sold in excess of 150 million albums worldwide.

He also holds the record at Madison Square Gardens for the longest sequence of sold out shows - twelve in all - by a single artist.

As well as multiple Grammy Awards he also received a Grammy Legend Award and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock Roll Hall of Fame in the 1990s.

His musical, Movin Out, directed by Twyla Tharp, was nominated for 10 Tony Awards in 2002, including Billy's first Tony win for Best Orchestration.

Featuring an exclusive interview recorded recently in Los Angeles, Joel reflects on his life growing up without a father (his father Howard left when Billy was still a boy) and the huge influence of The Beatles and the British Invasion" of bands in the 60s.

He talks about the failure of his first record deal, his suicide attempt as a young man, and his relationship with his first wife and manager Elizabeth Webber (a relationship which would later spawn such classic songs as She's Always a Woman and Just The Way You Are).

Legendary producer Phil Ramone also talks about the secrets of their studio work in the 70s and 80s which led to the phenomenal success of classic albums such as The Stranger and 52nd Street.

The second of the two programmes broadcasts on Billy's actual birthday, 9 May, and continues Billy's story up to the present day.

The end of this programme features Billy performing with Paul Mccartney at the Last Play at Shea Stadium in 2008 and more recently with Elton John in their Face to Face reunion tour.

"I'm not just 60, I'm also 45, I'm 32, I'm 21, I'm 16, I'm 12, I'm every age I've ever been....and I enjoy all of it....I'm enjoying it (making music) maybe more now than I have in a long time, it kind of goes back to the original thing of being in a band, it's kind of fun, this is so much fun, it's the best job in the world" (Billy Joel)."

02 LAST20090509

On the day Billy Joel celebrates his 60th birthday, Paul Sexton continues his series looking at the ups and downs of Billy's personal and musical life.

Billy talks at length about his new lease of life following his divorce from Elizabeth Weber in 1982.

He describes the influence of his later relationship with Christie Brinkley, as well as the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, on his 1983 album An Innocent Man (which featured the UK Number One Uptown Girl).

Looking back at less happy times, Billy is philosophical talking about the legal battles with his brother-in-law and former manager, Frank Weber: At the time I was very bitter, and was feeling very betrayed and very resentful, but I've let all that go." His long time saxophonist, Richie Cannata, expresses hopes for a reunion of the original Billy Joel band members.

However, the rift which developed between Billy and his drummer, Liberty de Vito, does not look set to heal: "I don't think I'll ever work with Liberty again, there are some personal issues there".

Billy "retired" from making albums in 1993 when he concluded his River of Dreams album with a song called Famous Last Words.

But there's a glimmer of hope that Billy might write again.

His friend Sting comments: "It's more difficult when you're older to commit yourself in song.

It's a young man's business really, it doesn't mean you should stop trying, it just gets harder...I'd be very surprised if he doesn't come out with another record...I'm sure he'll do it".

As a performing artist, Billy remains at the top of his game, filling stadiums and venues through the world.

Indeed, his 12 night sell out in Madison Square Gardens in 2006 beat Bruce Springsteen's previously held record.

The end of the programme features Billy performing with Paul Mccartney at the Last Play at Shea Stadium in 2008 and more recently with Elton John in their Face to Face reunion tour.

Paul Sexton presents the story of American singer, songwriter and pianist Billy Joel"