William Martin “Billy” Joel (born May 9, 1949) in The Bronx, New York, is a pianist, singer-songwriter, and composer. Since releasing his first hit song, “Piano Man“, in 1973, Joel has become the sixth best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in the United States.
Joel had Top 40 hits in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, achieving 33 Top 40 hits in the United States, all of which he wrote himself. He is also a six-time Grammy Award winner who has been nominated for 23 Grammy Awards throughout his career. He has sold more than 150 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time.
Joel battled depression for many years. In 1970, a career downturn and personal problems aggravated his condition. He left a suicide note (which inspired the lyrics to “Tomorrow Is Today“) and attempted to commit suicide by drinking furniture polish, saying later, “I drank furniture polish. It looked tastier than bleach.” His drummer assistant, Jon Small, rushed him to the hospital. Joel checked into Meadowbrook Hospital, where he was put on suicide watch and received treatment for depression. Joel later recorded “You’re Only Human (Second Wind)” as a message to help prevent teen suicide.