The renowned pianist Billy Joel recently appeared in an interview with 60 Minutes Australia. He addressed how The Beatles‘ working-class behaviors influenced his music career, unlike Elvis Presley‘s perfect Hollywood image.
Billy Joel started to gain a reputation in the ’70s by creating commercially successful pieces. He released more than ten rock and pop studio albums between 1971 and 1993, and a record included classical compositions in 2001. Joel released the song ‘Piano Man‘ from the same name album in 1973 and announced his name in the music world. Following the success of this song, the musician was nicknamed ‘Piano Man.’
In 1977, his fifth studio album ‘The Stranger’ was released, and it spent six weeks at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart. The songs like ‘Just the Way You Are’ and ‘She’s Always a Woman’ became hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Joel’s success continued with the compilation album ‘Greatest Hits – Volume I & Volume II,’ released in 1985, and became one of the most-selling records by selling more than ten million copies worldwide.
As one of the best-selling musicians, Joel got inspiration from notable rockers. He revealed in a recent conversation that The Beatles were his idols and saw them as regular people in the music world. According to him, they were a considerable influence as they created their music and style by being different from other Hollywood artists.
When asked whether he saw The Beatles as regular people, Billy Joel said:
“Yes. They were my idols, and they did it. They wrote their music and their arrangements, and they played their music; they sang their music. It wasn’t synthetic; it wasn’t put together for Hollywood. It was their work that did it.”
Joel stated that The Beatles were like working-class people, not Hollywood stars. Piano Man mentioned that when he saw them on TV, he thought they reflected a different attitude from the other Hollywood musicians, such as Elvis Presley. The latter portrayed an unattainable charm to the public. That was when he wanted to do something similar to them in the music scene.
About the difference between The Beatles and Elvis Presley, Billy Joel added:
“They were my idols. The Beatles didn’t look like Hollywood stars. The Beatles looked like working-class guys. They had an attitude; I guess being from Liverpool, that’s a working-class town. We saw these guys on TV and said, ‘Wait a minute. They don’t look like Fabian; they don’t look like Frankie Avalon; they don’t look like Elvis.‘ They looked like regular guys like people would have hung out with, except their hair was longer. I picked up on that right away and said, ‘That’s possible. I could do that.’”