William Martin Joel (born May 9, 1949) is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. He was born in the Bronx, New York, and was raised on Long Island, New York, places which have a heavy influence on his songs. 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. His compilation album Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2 is one of the best-selling albums in the US.
Joel had Top 40 hits in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, achieving 33 Top 40 hits in the US, all of which he wrote himself. He is also a six-time Grammy Award winner who has been nominated for 23 Grammy Awards. He has sold more than 150 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time.
Joel was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (1992), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1999), and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (2006). In 2001, Joel received the Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2013, Joel received the Kennedy Center Honors, the nation's highest honor for influencing American culture through the arts. With the exception of the 2007 songs "All My Life" and "Christmas in Fallujah", Joel stopped writing and releasing pop/rock material after 1993's River of Dreams. However, he continues to tour, and he plays songs from all eras of his solo career.