It took Billy Joel a long time to become famous. The Long Island native began playing in local bands when he was just 14 years old in 1964, but he didn't have an opportunity to record a solo album until 1971's Cold Spring Harbor. An error in the mastering process sped the songs up on the finished LP and caused Joel's voice to sound ridiculously high. When Joel first heard the album he ripped it off his record player, ran outside and hurled it down the street.
Needless to say, the album wasn't a hit, and he decided to pack up and move to Los Angeles. To pay the bills he did a six-month stint at the Executive Room piano bar under the name Bill Martin. His brief time there has been much mythologized, since it inspired his breakthrough hit “Piano Man.” Check out this video of Billy playing the song on the BBC in 1975.
Read more at Rolling Stone.