Billy Joel: The Life & Times of an Angry Young Man

Hank Bordowitz, Author . Billboard $24.95 (288p) ISBN 0-8230-8250-4

This quick and dirty biography of the Long Island kid turned American pop icon is both surprisingly intimate and quite removed. Bordowitz (Bad Moon Rising: The Unofficial History of Creedence Clearwater Revival ) adopts a pugnacious and somewhat grating man's man attitude from the start, a tone that admittedly dovetails quite nicely with Joel's scrappy youth. A journeyman musician from an early age (he was born in 1949), Joel played in almost every dive and piano bar that would have him, sleeping in Laundromats when he had to. After numerous false starts and even a suicide attempt, he finally hit the charts in the early 1970s and has had steady work in the upper reaches of the music industry ever since. It all ends somewhat uncertainly, with Bordowitz not seeming to know what to make of Joel these days, what with the star's tabloid drinking problems and Broadway show. Bordowitz didn't interview Joel, although he did speak to musicians Joel has worked with and former publicists and managers. He sticks mostly to the facts at hand, only occasionally overreaching. This work should please fans of the Piano Man who prefer their celebrity bios sans footnotes or deep analysis. Photos. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/23/2005
Release date: 00/00/0000
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