My buddy Scott sent me this news item from the New York Post:
January 3, 2007 -- BILLY JOEL fans will be happy to know that on Dec. 29, the Piano Man recorded a new song, "All My Life," with legendary producer Phil Ramone at Legacy Studios here. Joel wrote it for his wife, Katie, for their second anniversary last October. "All My Life" is the first pop song Billy Joel has recorded since "River of Dreams" in 1993. In other Joel news, he will be performing the national anthem at the Super Bowl next month.
The reason I call this shocking, is that Scott and I JUST had a conversation last weekend about how I felt personally insulted as a fan that Billy Joel had not released any new original material since River Of Dreams. At the time, Joel said he was retiring from pop music to concentrate on classical music. However, in the past 13 years he's released just one classical album but gone on numerous tours performing the music he had supposedly retired from. He's also released two box sets, two live albums, and a couple greatest hits collections, all with the songs he'd retired from. No music has been released with lyrics by Billy Joel since River Of Dreams. I have suspected for a long time that there must be some reason for this that we don't know about. The real money in the music business comes from publishing deals, and I suspected that Billy Joel, who'd found himself in a couple really bad management contracts, had gotten himself into a deal where any new Billy Joel material (with lyrics) would earn someone money that he didn't want money going to. A wild theory? Perhaps. But the timing of this announcement is suspicious to me, coming right after the new year. Could the bad publishing deal I theorized about have run out at the end of 2006?
I grew up with Billy Joel's music. I remember listening to the Innocent Man album as a kid, riding in the back seat of my mom's old Chevy Nova on the way to my aunt's house. I'm thrilled to hear that he'll be releasing a new song, and I can't wait to hear what it sounds like. I respect his decision as an artist if he was just "Movin' Out" to another stage of his career, but it is tougher to take if it was all about money, instead of "All About Soul."