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Billy Joel, Sting, & Don Henley Joke About Starting A Supergroup

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Billy Joel revealed that he and a few of his rock legend buddies joke about forming a superstar band. When asked about his decision to stop writing pop/rock songs, the “Piano Man” told The New York Times, “Sting and Don Henley and I always joke around: ‘Just for the (expletive) of it, let’s put together one of those supergroups that explode after, like, a year.’ I think it could be fun to join a band. I enjoyed it when I was a teenager. And I’d consider writing songs in that kind of milieu.”

A few years back, Billy Joel revamped his show by lowering the keys on many of his classic songs to make them easier to sing, seeing as how he’s now 40-plus years older than the tenor that belted them out night after night. He explained, “Some of them we drop a whole step, some we drop a half step, and some are still in the original keys. When I get to a point where I got to go more than a whole step down, it’s probably time to hang it up. I find myself onstage thinking: This is a young man’s job. What am I doing? I saw Bruce (Springsteen) before I went onstage the other night, and I said, ‘Bruce, those songs are (expletive) high.’ He goes, ‘I know, man.'”

Billy spoke about his long relationship with “The Boss” — his Columbia Records labelmate for a whopping 45 years: “Bruce and I go back to the early-’70s, when we played the same clubs. I’m a bridge-and-tunnel guy, like Bruce is. He’s got a show on Broadway, and I’m doing the Garden. It’s ironic. We’re all George M. Cohans now.”

Billy, who hasn’t released an original studio album in 25 years, went on to recall, “When an album is fun to make, it’s usually good. Like An Innocent Man — I wrote and recorded the whole thing maybe in six weeks. Bang. I was having a romance with a supermodel and writing songs about that. The album before that, The Nylon Curtain, which I’m very proud of, took a year to make. I wanted to make my masterpiece, sonically, and I feel like I almost died making that album.”

Billy summed up his career by saying, “I’ve had more fame than I deserve. I thought I was going to make a living, and it turned out, I got a hundred shows at Madison Square Garden, Kennedy (Center) Honors, the Gershwin (Prize), da da da. It’s pretty cool, but I’m not Beethoven.”

Although rooted in reality, he remains his harshest critic, explaining, “There are songs where I got to the bar. ‘Vienna’ is one of those songs. ‘And So It Goes,’ ‘(The) Great Wall Of China,’ ‘She’s Right On Time.’ But did I get over the bar? No.”

With 100 career performances at Madison Square Garden under his belt, Billy was asked if we’ll be celebrating his 200th in the future: “Don’t bet the farm. I’m still exhausted from the other night, which didn’t used to happen. I don’t think I’ll have the physical wherewithal to do it five years from now. And if I can’t do it as well as I want to, I’ll take myself out of the lineup. I love the game too much to not play it well.”

Billy Joel’s The Nylon Curtain, which came on the heels of 1980’s Grammy Award-winning Glass Houses collection, touched upon the changes the kids of the 1960’s were then facing in America as they approached the slow creep of middle age: “It’s experiences of what I call the post-War baby boom, which is about my age. They’re all topics that we’ve experience, I think. And the song, ‘She’s Right On Time’ is about some kind of matured relationship, some people who’ve been together — it’s not puppy love. Y’know, you’re in your 30’s, or you’re in a marriage, or a long-term love affair. The song ‘A Room Of Our Own’ is about needing the separation. Y’know, whereas one is the one is to being together and everything’s groovy and idealistic; this one is very sort of sarcastic about needing space.”

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