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Billy Joel on Songwriting: Ideas From Dreams

"I'll wake up at 4:30 in the morning with an idea and think maybe I should write this down but then think, 'Nah, I'm too tired but it's so great I won't forget it.' And I go back to sleep and I wake up later and I think, 'Oh, what was that' -- and it's gone. But not forever. It's not gone from the little mental filing cabinet that we have - it all gets filed away. Later, right in the middle of a conversation it pops back into consciousness and I'll have to go over to the piano and work it out. And that's how I do a lot of writing. It's almost like you didn't have anything to do with it.

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Billy Joel Talks About 'Captain Jack'

"Captain Jack isn't Jack Daniels. I used to live near the projects in Long Island and there were drugs going on and the dealer was called Captain Jack. There was also smack. They used to use the rhyme for smack, Captain Jack. So I didn't mean it to be any specific drug, it's whatever people had to take to escape reality. It was drugs in general. You know I call it a look out the window song. I was just looking out there and seeing all my friends, everybody would just get their brains wasted and fried and I thought it was kind of stupid.

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Billy Joel On 'River Of Dreams'

"I wanted to do again what I liked doing when I was in bands in the sixties, bar bands. Rock and roll bands, biker bar bands, blues biker bar bands. So when I started writing the album, I kind of harkened back to those kinds of sounds, band sounds, bluesy. The album has a lot of things that have that kind of feel to it, that are kind of very rock and roll, late sixties rock."

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New Billy Joel Q&A - When You're Writing A Song, Do You Have Any Specific Routine?

During Billy Joel's worldwide Storm Front Tour, he returned to Australia, and squeezed in a lecture at the Melbourne Music Festival, offering up an evening of Questions and Answers and A Little Music. The questions ran the gamut, and the video below covers how a writer gets into the mood to write, offering insight into Billy's writing process. How do you start a song? Where does it begin? Watch Billy's answer and check out additional videos from our Questions & Answers lecture series.

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New Billy Joel Q&A - Do You Feel That Musical Talent Is Something That You Are Either Born With Or Not?

Is musical talent something that you are born with or something you can learn? Is it something passed along in the genes or something that can be nurtured by a good teacher, parental wishes, and accomplished by hard work? Billy Joel was asked this question during a session recorded by A&E's cameras live at Irvine Auditorium, on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia on November 6, 2001.

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Billy Joel Discusses 'Piano Man' - The Complete Albums Collection Video

In the new video below for Billy Joel - The Complete Albums Collection, Billy talks about the album "Piano Man," which was written after he spent six months working in a piano bar in Los Angeles. The title track became popular on radio stations.

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Billy Joel Talks About 'Turnstiles' - The Complete Albums Collection Video

The next video for Billy Joel - The Complete Albums Collection covers the album "Turnstiles." Billy talks about returning to New York, the album's famous cover art, and how the songs on "Turnstiles" focus on the city.

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Billy Joel Discusses 'Songs In The Attic' - The Complete Albums Collection Video

In the latest interview video for Billy Joel - The Complete Albums Collection, Billy talks about "Songs In The Attic," his first live album. The album was "a good opportunity to do a live recording of the older stuff that I never really liked the way it was recorded." Watch what Billy has to say in the video below!

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Billy Joel Talks About 'Storm Front' - The Complete Albums Collection Video

Billy Joel discusses the album "Storm Front" in this new interview clip for Billy Joel - The Complete Albums Collection. The album was written during a period of turmoil in Billy's life, which he said "made for good material. This was trauma. This was drama. That's why the album ended up being called 'Storm Front.'"

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New Billy Joel Q&A - Alex Joel Asks For One More Song

We conclude our Nuremberg Questions & Answers series with a request by Alex Joel for one more song to close the evening. Billy sifts through the pages of his alphabetized "Song Bible" and chooses to perform "Vienna" for his father. "Vienna" appears on The Stranger album, and was inspired by a trip Billy made to Vienna to meet his father in the mid 1970s.

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Billy Joel Discusses 'The Nylon Curtain' - The Complete Albums Collection Video

In a new interview for Billy Joel - The Complete Albums Collection, Billy talks about writing and recording his album "The Nylon Curtain" and why he thinks it may be his best recorded effort. You can watch in the video below! He talks about the work required to put the album together, the album's point of view, and how it suited the time period in which it was released.

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Billy Joel To Be Featured In 'The Best of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Live'

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Time Life have partnered to release new DVD and CD sets featuring performances from past Rock Hall ceremonies. The first, "The Best of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Live," will go on sale Nov. 1. The three-CD collection will feature performances by Billy Joel, Jimmy Page, Lynryd Skynryd, Al Green, Aerosmith, The Who and James Brown among others.

The second Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Live installment will feature a 10-volume digital collection of induction performances recorded between 1986 and 2009.

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