Billy Joel has decided to publish his scrapped autobiography, The Book Of Joel, which was co-written with former Rolling Stone writer Fred Schruers. Only months before the book's June 2011, publication Billy backed out of the deal with Harper Collins and returned part of his $3 million advance. The Hollywood Reporter posted that the revamped version of the book will be published by Crown -- a division of Random House -- with the final manuscript due by spring 2014. It's still unclear if the book will retain its original title.
Back in May, Billy explained why he pulled the plug on the memoir, telling The New York Times Magazine, "It wasn't finished. Some of it hadn't been filled out in detail, but there was a beginning, a middle and an end. Then I saw this marketing campaign -- 'Divorce, Depression and Drinking.' We talked about some of those things, but that's not the essence of the book. I realized that was going to be the nature of the campaign. They wanted more sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, and there's not that much in my life."
He went on to explain his real motivation for writing the book: "What I wanted to do was have a book that set the record straight. There's so much misinformation about me. There have been some ersatz biographies where they talk to someone I knew for five minutes or some disgruntled members of the band. And I'd be reading these books saying: 'No, no, that's not right. You know what? I should write a book.' I wasn't interested in doing a tell-all. I'm not going to talk about people who I was involved in relationships with. I'm just not that kind of guy."
This summer marked the 20th year since the release of Billy Joel's last rock album, the chart topping, River Of Dreams. During Billy's exile from rock, he composed the 2001 classical album Billy Joel: Fantasies & Delusions (Music for Solo Piano) and recorded one "pop" song, the big band-inspired one-off single, "All My Life," which was released in 2007 and produced by the late-Phil Ramone.
We caught up with Billy and asked him about whether he's getting the itch to release any of his latest classical pieces. He told us in so many words, "No": "Nah. I'm not interested in disseminating it. I'm writing for my own edification, really. I'm just trying to learn how to do it. I'm still learning."
We tried to force Billy's hand by saying that if he didn't release all this new classical music, by the time that it does reach the masses -- possibly long after he's dead -- chances are the arrangers and performers might just get it all wrong: "Nah, nah, nah. If I have it on tape, y'know, maybe it'll. . . it can get interpreted any way it wants. It's like when I put out records and people wanna redo the songs their way: Great! G'head! Hey, I'm happy anybody's doing anything of my stuff!"
Billy Joel will next perform on October 29th in Manchester, England.
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