From discussing songwriting in the shower and even in his sleep to revealing the inspiration for his weekend anthem “You May Be Right” (“Ex number one”), Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Billy Joel perfectly melded his talents as musician and storyteller during a memorable marathon show attended by nearly 1,800 UM students on March 5.
Joel has been doing these forums at colleges for two decades as a way to give back to aspiring musicians. “When I was starting out, there was no reference for me to research how to do my job,” he said in an interview earlier in the day. “I was stumbling along. I wanted to be able to help people keep from making mistakes I made. I have all this information about how to do the job that I don’t get asked about by media that much. I always wanted to be a teacher so this is my way of doing it.”
Joel shared educational and entertaining anecdotes about many of his memorable tunes, including “Allentown,” “The Downeaster Alexa,” “The River of Dreams,” “Vienna,” “Miami 2017,” “New York State of Mind,” “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” and “Piano Man,” while hopping back and forth between the two pianos and microphone center stage to run down versions of them.
Joel’s passion for music education inspired him to launch in 2005 an ongoing educational initiative to provide seed money, musical scholarships, and endowments to a variety of East Coast colleges, universities, and music schools.
Read more at the University of Miami website.