Having sold more than 100 million records over the course of a career spanning more than 40 years, Billy Joel ranks as one of most popular recording artists and respected entertainers in the world.
Billy Joel has had 33 Top 40 hits and 23 Grammy nominations since signing his first solo recording contract in 1972. He received the Recording Industry Association of America Diamond Award, presented for albums that have sold more than 10 million copies, for his "Greatest Hits Volume I and Volume II."
Taking its name from a key track on The Stranger, "Movin' Out," a Broadway musical based on Joel's music, choreographed and directed by Twyla Tharp, was nominated for 10 Tony Awards and took home two including Best Orchestrations--Billy's first Tony Award win--and Best Choreography.
Billy Joel received Grammy awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1978 for his song "Just the Way You Are"; Album of the Year in 1979 for "52nd Street"; and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 1979 for "52nd Street" and in 1980 for "Glass Houses" In 1990, he was presented with a Grammy Legend Award. Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992, he was also presented with the Johnny Mercer Award in 2001. In 1999 he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and in 2004 received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His other awards include the ASCAP Founders Award, the BMI Career Achievement Award, the American Music Awards Award of Merit, and the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal.
Billy Joel has donated his time and resources to a variety of charitable causes, and he has recently launched an ongoing educational initiative to provide seed money, musical scholarships, and endowments to a variety of East Coast colleges, universities, and music schools. For his accomplishments as a musician and as a humanitarian, he was honored as the 2002 MusiCares Person of the Year by the MusiCares Foundation and the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences; he has also received a humanitarian award from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
The net proceeds of Billy Joel's latest composition, "Christmas in Fallujah," inspired by soldiers' letters from Iraq, are being donated to Homes for Our Troops, a nonprofit organization that builds specially adapted homes for disabled service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
When it was announced earlier this year that Billy Joel -- who holds the Madison Square Garden record for the longest sequence of sold-out shows by a single artist (12) -- would perform the last concerts at New York's fabled Shea Stadium, more than 110,000 tickets were sold out in 45 minutes. Joel's historic "Last Play At Shea" sold-out concerts are scheduled for July 16 and 18.