Billy Joel

Billy Joel Fleshes Out 2014 Concert Tour

Billy Joel Fleshes Out 2014 Concert Tour

After recently announcing a series of hometown residency shows, Billy Joel has now filled up some of the rest of the year with a string of tour dates across North America.

Just last month, Joel announced that he would be performing a series of concerts at Madison Square Garden, a residency at the New York venue without an expiration date – according to the Piano Man himself, as long as there’s demand he’ll keep playing. The new string of concerts kick off with a show tonight (1/17) in Tampa, Florida and will hit everywhere from Detroit and Nashville to Cleveland and Las Vegas, before tentatively wrapping up on July 18th with a show at Chicago’s historic Wrigley Field.

The North American tour dates are spread out enough that Joel will be able to squeeze in the monthly Garden shows, which start in March, as well as giving the man some probably much-needed rest as he plays hopscotch across the country.

Among the concerts is a date at Chicago’s Wrigley Field on July 18th, which marks the second time Joel has headlined a show there. According to the Chicago Tribune,this makes Joel the only artist to perform two headlining concerts at the legendary stadium. He previously played there in 2009 as part of his co-headlining tour with friend and regular accompanying tour mate Elton John.

Billy Joel has sold more than 150 million albums, but has not released any new studio full length pop albums since River of Dreams way back when in 1993. The pianist did, however, release an album of classical compositions in 2001, Fantasies & Delusions.

Joel has also won six Grammy Awards and he’s been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Not a bad resume.

Billy Joel Books Ambitious Madison Square Garden Residency

Billy Joel Books Ambitious Madison Square Garden Residency

Billy Joel has just announced that he plans to perform an ambitious and potentially eternal series of shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden for, well, for as long as fans will have him.

The Grammy Award-winning singer announced that he’ll perform a residency at the historic New York arena every month for as long as there is a demand.

At present, he’s set to perform shows on January 27th, February 3rd, March 21st and April 28th. He will also perform on his 65th birthday (May 9th).

“We’re gonna dust off some stuff. We’re gonna feature more of the album tracks, more obscure songs. We’ll still do some songs people are familiar with and like, but we’re gonna change it up. It gives you an edge,” Joel said at a press conference in New York.

“Playing Madison Square Garden is an experience that never gets old,” he added. “A show a month at the Garden for as long as there’s demand means more opportunities to connect with music fans and provides a unique and memorable show every time we play here.”

Joel was introduced by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who described the singer as a  ”worldwide superstar who values most that he is a hometown hero”, referencing Joel’s participation in the Concert for New York City after the September 11th attacks and the 12-12-12 concert for Hurricane Sandy relief.

Bronx-born Joel first performed at Madison Square Garden way back when in 1978. Since then, Joel has played at the venue 46 times, though that number is about to get considerably bigger.

“I said it in ’78, and I’ll say it again, there is no better venue in the world,” he said.

Joel will perform at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center this New Year’s Eve. He said that show and previous ones are preparing him for his Madison Square Garden run.

“We did a series of gigs in England and Ireland and they went well. That’s kind of how we warmed up to this.” he said.

Billy Joel Arena Tour in the Making?

Billy Joel Arena Tour in the Making?

After playing a surprise show earlier this week, rumor has it that a Billy Joel arena tour may be in the works for 2014.

While no official announcement has been made, an eagle-eyed internet elf spotted a couple of clues which may point to a Billy Joel musical train: Songkick shows a January 7th date in Sunrise, Florida at the AT&T Center. Live Nation briefly listed a January 22nd date in Jacksonville, Florida at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium, though it has since been removed.

In short, no one knows, but isn’t it exciting to speculate?

Actually, the timing wouldn’t be out of the question. Billy Joel hasn’t toured North America since finishing up a co-headlining stint with Elton John in early 2010. After that, he took some time off to recover from hip replacement surgery and subsequently appeared last year at the 12/12/12 benefit for victims of Superstorm Sandy. Earlier this year, he played Jazz Fest in New Orleans and the Soundwave Festival in Australia.

Amidst all the uncertainty – one thing’s for certain: if a tour is in the works, Joel won’t just be playing his hits. Speaking to Rolling Stone in April of this year, the man himself said:

“I don’t want to be an oldies hack where I’m just playing songs everybody is familiar with,” he said. “I don’t have any new material, but I realized that if I play older material that has never been heard before, like an album track or an obscure song, that’s almost the same as doing a new song.”

Keep plugged in to ConcertTour.org for the latest on the Billy Joel phantom tour.

Billy Joel Mulling Full Album Tour, Playing with Elton John Again

Billy Joel Mulling Full Album Tour, Playing with Elton John Again

Billy Joel has essentially been in semi-retirement for the past three years or so, but he wanted Rolling Stone to know that he’s not retiring.

That said, he’s not really sure he’s going to play any more shows after two festival dates next month, and he probably won’t put out any more albums, but he’s not really retired, either.

What we do know is he’s playing the STONE Music Festival in Sydney, Australia on April 21, and then he’ll appear at the NOLA Jazz Festival on April 27. He also appeared at the 12-12-12 event last year to raise money for Hurricane Sandy relief.

Joel told the magazine that he wants to use these shows as test gigs to see how he feels about performing now, saying that if they go well he’ll “probably end up booking some more gigs. I don’t know if I’ll go on an extended tour like Bruce Springsteen, hammering away for two years, though.”

He also spoke about his old touring partner Elton John, and said he would be open to touring with him again. Back in 2011, John told Rolling Stone that he was frustrated of touring with Joel, particularly because of cancellations due to, John said, Joel’s alcoholism. Joel said he hasn’t  heard from Elton since.

Joel said that if he does, he might begin playing entire albums, as he’s tired of playing what he calls a “greatest hits set.”

“It would give me a chance to do songs we haven’t played… We’d do one album and then play some obscurities. I enjoy playing those more than I enjoy playing the hits.”

Joel hasn’t release a pop album since 1993’s River of Dreams, and says that playing more obscure songs can take the place of writing new tracks.

“I don’t have any new material,” he said. “But I realized that if I play older material that has never been heard before, like an album track or an obscure song, that’s almost the same as doing a new song. I just don’t want to be an oldies hack where I’m just playing songs everybody is familiar with.”

 

Fleetwood Mac, Dave Matthews, Billy Joel on for 2013 New Orleans Jazz Festival

Fleetwood Mac, Dave Matthews, Billy Joel on for 2013 New Orleans Jazz Festival

The 2013 incarnation of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival will be just as eclectic as ever – or at least as diverse as it has been for years now. Big names include Fleetwood Mac, Dave Matthews Band and Billy Joel, along with plenty of other artists that will take the stage during the seven days of the festival.

Once again, the event will be held over two weekends – April 26-28 and May 2-5. The festival is held at the Fair Grounds Race Course, which is located 10 minutes from the French Quarter. Other artists that will perform this year include John Mayer, the Black Keys, Phoenix, Frank Ocean, Widespread Panic, Maroon 5, Daryl Hall and John Oates, Patti Smith, Jill Scott, Willie Nelson & Family, B.B. King, Ben Harper, Jimmy Cliff, Band of Horses, Andrew Bird, The Little Willies, Gary Clark, Jr. and many more.

As per festival tradition, a large portion of the lineup is devoted to local Louisiana artists. In fact, the event began as a showcase of exclusively Louisiana musicians, but soon opened its lineup to include artists from other parts of the U.S. and the world. Still, 85 percent of the lineup traditionally consists of Louisiana musicians.

Single day tickets to the festival range from $45 to $65 depending on when you purchase. Additionally, festival goers can choose from three VIP ticket Packages: Big Chief VIP Experience, Grand Marshal VIP Pass and Krewe of Jazz Fest VIP Pass.

New Orleans Jazz fest has been held every year since it was founded in 1970. In addition to music performances, the events also features local craft and food venders, many of the latter serving traditional Louisiana favorites including crawfish and po’ boy sandwiches. The festival welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, topping out at more than 650,000 visitors during the 2001 festival.

Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi Perform at Hurricane Relief Concert

Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi Perform at Hurricane Relief Concert

Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and Bon Jovi will be among the stars coming together tomorrow night for a one-hour telethon and concert that will benefit the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

“Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together” will be held at Rockefeller Plaza in New York tomorrow (Friday, November 2) night from 8 to 9 p.m., Eastern time with a tape delay for the West Coast. Matt Lauer will host the telethon, and all money collected will go to the American Red Cross. You can donate by visiting RedCross.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. Additionally, you can give $10 by texting “REDCROSS” to 90999.

In addition to the aforementioned artists, the concert also will feature appearances by Christina Aguilera, Sting, Jimmy Fallon and Brian Williams, anchor of “NBC Nightly News.” In addition to NBC, the telethon also will be broadcast simultaneously on Bravo, E!, CNBC, G4, Style, Syfy, USA and MSNBC.

A spokesperson for NBC said other stations not owned by NBCUniversal also will be allowed to broadcast the telethon. The event will be similar to a fundraiser organized by NBC in 2005 to benefit Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Lauer also hosted that event, which raised around $50 million, also for the Red Cross.

Most of the performers were born in the devastated areas, with Springsteen and Bon Jovi both hailing from New Jersey while Joel was born on Long Island. Fallon was born in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, while Aguilera is from Staten Island. The latter star tweeted her support of the Hurricane victims a few days ago.

“Sending my love and support to everyone on the east coast who’s been affected. Thinking of u all. XoXtina,” she wrote on her Twitter account.

If you can’t make it to a television tomorrow night, the event also will be live-streamed on NBC.com.

Stars Come Out to Celebrate Sting’s 60th Birthday

Stars Come Out to Celebrate Sting’s 60th Birthday

Sting on October 1 will be gathering in NYC with friends to celebrate his 60th birthday.

As expected, the event for the former singer of the Police isn’t going to be a small one. He will be hanging out with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Branford Marsalis, Rufus Wainwright, will.i.am, Vince Gill, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Herbie Hancock, Robert Downey, Jr., Mary J. Blige and Lady Gaga at Beacon Theatre. Most certainly at least some or maybe all these guests will be taking to the stage to perform a few songs.

Sting’s birthday party is private, however members of the Sting Fan Club can buy tickets for $270. For those who are not members of the fan club, a donation can be made to Robin Hood Foundation for those really want to go. The bash is acting as a fundraiser for the foundation. Orchestra tickets can be purchased for approximately $1000.

Springsteen, Dylan, Joel Taking Back Their Music

Springsteen, Dylan, Joel Taking Back Their Music

For artists like the Eagles, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen, there is some light at the end of the tunnel due to the fact that soon copyright laws will be allowing them to have control again over their master recordings.

During the 1970s there were revisions made to copyright laws to provide artists with the right for regaining control of their outputs through termination rights. Thirty five years after being released albums become eligible. According to a report in the New York Times, albums dating from 1978 are the first that will gain eligibility. This means that “52nd Street” by Billy Joel and “Darkness on the Edge of Town” by Bruce Springsteen will be two of the more famous moneymakers who could be seeing a change in ownership soon.

However there are two hitches. The first one is artists are required to file two years before the eligibility date to make a claim on their albums as well as the royalties associated with them. In addition, artists can claim ownership for individual songs. Musicians such as Bryan Adams, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and others have begun pursuing this already.

The second hitch, which is more of a concern for the artists, is that record labels won’t be letting the cash cows go without a fight. Steven Marks from the Recording Industry Association of America said, we don’t believe the termination right applies to a majority of sound recordings.

Eagles band member and artist advocate Don Henley, who is a Recording Artists Coalition founding member said, a gazillion dollars have been made by the recording industry on the masters, with the artists making a lot less. There is an issue of fairness, of parity. This bone of contention will be getting even more contentious during the next few years.

Joel and Springsteen representatives have declined to comment about any plans the artist may have in attempting to capitalize on the copyright issues. The termination claims are processed manually by the U.S. Copyright Office, making it impossible to obtain concrete information about the number of artists who to date have filed.

Rick Carnes, president of the Songwriters Guild of America said, year after year more and more songs will be returning to songwriters and influence the market much more. The music is still valuable and will own it.

Billy Joel, Garth Brooks Perform at Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductions

Billy Joel, Garth Brooks Perform at Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductions

The likes of Allen Toussaint, Leon Russell and Garth Brooks were honored by the Songwriters Hall of Fame at their recent gala, which is held annually in New York City.

Some of the inductees on Thursday night you may not have recognized amidst the famous faces. Until you heard their famous songs that is.

Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg could probably walk down the street without being recognized. However they have written several catchy, famous hit songs, including “Like a Virgin” by Madonna, “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper, “So Emotional” by Whitney Houston and “I’ll Stand By You” by The Pretenders.

Referring to the Madonna song Kelly said, at the time that was pretty risque. It took about a month for us to finally fall accidentally into what that song ended up being.

Another inductee was John Bettis. He wrote “Crazy For You,” the Madonna hit single, in addition to hit songs for Diana Ross, the Carpenters and The Pointer Sisters. He also wrote Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature.” Skylar Grey performed the song during the gala.

Cynthia Weil and Barry Man were presented with a Johnny Mercer Award by Bill Medley from The Righteous Brothers. The married couple wrote “You Lost That Lovin’ Feelin,” the mega hit single.

Medley said we were very lucky they wrote the song for us.

“You Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” is still going strong and has had over 14 million airplays.

Inductees were joined by other artists on stage during the show, with key performances including Trisha Yearwood singing a medley of Hal David hits, Toussaint and Boz Scaggs performing “What Do You Want the Girl to Do,” and Russell and Dwight Yoakam singing “Superstar.”

Drake performed “Best I Ever Had,” his hit single, and Chaka Kan sang “I’m Every Woman” by Ashford and Simpson.

Garth Brooks was inducted by Billy Joel. He later performed “Shameless,” the 1991 Brooks hit, which Joel wrote. Brooks was thrilled.

Speaking of songwriters, here is one of the all time greatest songwriters, said Brooks referring to Joel. He took the time to do this. I’m very lucky.

According to Joel, he loves having other artists record his material. However he says he didn’t ever intend on being a rock star.

Joel said, I don’t like my voice. Really I don’t. I’m not a good singer, although I do think I am a good songwriter.

Wrigley Field Will Host Dave Matthews and Elton John & Billy Joel

Wrigley Field Will Host Dave Matthews and Elton John & Billy Joel

Wrigley Field will play host to more than just baseball this summer. Dave Matthews Band and Elton John & Billy Joel both have slated dates to play the storied park. There had been a flurry of questions surrounding future concerts being held at Wrigley due to concerns by the adjoining Lake View neighborhood in recent years.

Last year, three concerts were held in one week at Wrigley – Rascal Flatts and two by Billy Joel & Elton John, and Alderman Tom Tunney declared the experiment a success. Tunney plans to propose an exception to the Cubs night-game ordinance at a future City Council meeting which would clear the way for future concerts.

In speaking with the Chicago Sun-Times, Tunney said, “There are certainly naysayers. There have been naysayers about doing any concerts. But the majority of the community thinks the concerts, so long as they’re regulated and few and far between, provide benefits to the community. It’s great for business in the neighborhood. It also provides real, first-rate entertainment at the park.”

Billy Joel & Elton John have penciled in their Wrigley date for Wednesday, July 7 while Dave Matthews Band is looking more to a Friday or Saturday night in September. There is no word yet regarding the Cubs forfeiting one of their 30 night games in the deal as has been the case in year’s past.