Billy Joel pulls the plug on memoir
April 1st, 2011
09:51 AM ET

Billy Joel pulls the plug on memoir

He may sing "My Life" but Billy Joel doesn't want to share details about it: The six-time Grammy winner has just pulled the plug on his upcoming memoir.

"The Book of Joel" was to be released by HarperCollins in June but the singer has now decided to stop its publication, explaining that he doesn't want to discuss ancient history.

"It took working on writing a book to make me realize that I'm not all that interested in talking about the past, and that the best expression of my life and its ups and downs has been and remains my music," the thrice-married star, who has been treated for alcohol abuse, said in a statement to CNN.

The Piano Man signed a $3 million deal to pen the book for HarperCollins in 2008, reports the New York Times. He will return the advance that he has already received to the publishers.

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Filed under: Books • Celebrities • Music

soundoff (139 Responses)
  1. online shopping in europe

    hi!,I like your writing so much! proportion we keep in touch extra about your article on AOL? I need an expert on this space to unravel my problem. Maybe that is you! Having a look forward to see you.

    April 5, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Arnold Ziffle

    BJ wrote a few good songs, I never liked him that much, but he's way ahead of crap like Gaga and Rhianna. Auto-tune makes mediocre people think they're good, but why does it seem to be everywhere?

    April 2, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. rick

    i feel let the music speak for itself. everything we need to know about billy joel has been reported in the news and people who live in glass houses should not throw

    April 1, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. brad1001

    Piano Man and Stranger are two albums I will buy again and again. Billy Joel is a gifted songwriter and performer.

    April 1, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. LAwLBotZ

    L2 sPeLL N00Bs!

    April 1, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jimyjam579

    The anger isn't about Billy Joel, it's just in fashion now. People love to be angry, they think its cool, and the school systems are failing so fewer and fewer people know how to spell or write. Seems America is well on the way to becoming an angry third world nation by the look of many posts here.

    April 1, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mr. Bones

    Dang. Not that I cared that much about his career as THE PIANO MAN, but I really wanted to know just one thing:

    When he made that Attila album back in 1970, what the hell was he THINKING?

    April 1, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. HiddenFactor

    I would have read it.

    April 1, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. pierce

    His story is thus:
    Pop singer has a string of hits.
    He marries a top model.
    He divorces and marries a lot.
    He goes bald.
    He becomes an oldies act.

    the end

    April 1, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • WTHH

      And your favorites too, if they're lucky, will become "oldies" too. Let see just how long some of these current artists last.

      April 1, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kar Kar

    No loss on Joel's book being pulled (for now) – go pick up Keith Richards "Life" instead. Amazing!

    April 1, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Karen

    He should have done a Practical Memoir instead. Instead of hashing out the past, he could focus on all of the other amazing things that make up his life. It will be sad to miss out on knowing him from his own perspective.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jimbo

    Good call Billy, we have enough superficial morons in this country that care more about secrets in other peoples lives than their own children. Now only if we can get rid of all the numbskulls that make a killing of reporting on other peoples lives and the garbage that actually cares. I read this article because I like Billy's music, his personal life doesn't matter one bit. I don't know why more people don't feel this way about famous people. It goes both ways though, sometimes being famous somehow magically makes the person think they are smart and then spew their dumb thoughts all over the place so morons that read pop magazines will eat it up. Hey famouse people, go make great music and amazing movies take your money and stop there, you are poluting the country with your braindead ideals. If you pay attention to hollywood's elite when it comes to issues, you are one twist short of a slinky.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Richard Allen

    and not a single "cluck" was given that day...

    April 1, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Heavy Metal Sucks

    I am just glad that Billy Joel was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame! I hope they NEVER allow sorry bands like: those Canadian bacon nerd rockers called Rush and those clown make up wussies from Detroit called Kiss, and all those other sorry wannabe heavy metal (aluminum foil is more like it) bands like Motely Crue, Judas Priest, Dokken, Ozzy, Slayer, Poison, Motorhead, Dio, Whitesnake, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, etc., to be inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

    April 1, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimbo

      Rush...come on man, give those guys a break. We all know they are geeks and like remote control cars but Geddy Lee was inspirational to lots of bass players giving them hope that they can be a front man. The Rock and Roll Hall of fame is pretty pathetic though, how are you going to make a hall of fame for art work?

      April 1, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jermaine henderson

    billy joel is terrible. that's a fact. his songs suck

    April 1, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  16. rick

    Who would a book about billy joel anyway?

    April 1, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  17. wowzer

    I'm guessing the book was crap and Harper Collins wanted the advance back but gave Joel the opportunity to save face and say he pulled the proverbial plug. Happens all the time.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Paul NYC

    But reading about the "ancient history" of an artist lends insight into his art.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  19. jiim

    I just read through these posts.....why so much anger against Billy......he has his problems but is a true crafter of songs and should be respected for his talent...anyone you wants to dispute this listen to Goodnight Saigon, Lullabye, Leningrad....Billy's gems are the album cuts that never got to the radio......remember Billy writes both ends music and lyrics where as people like Elton John, Burt Bacharach are music only guys (composers).....Billy's body of work is comparable to any singer/songwriter out there....Paul Simon, Carole King, James Taylor, Billy Joel....the best American songwriters in the last four decades of the 20th century

    April 1, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Rosie

    This story has April Fool written all over it. He's not pulling the plug.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  21. nemo

    Billy joel should have stayed as the singer for molly hatchet....wait... Perhaps I'm confused...maybe it was deep purple...ahhhh who knows

    April 1, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Zinger

    @ledzeppelinsucks... So does your mom.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  23. enquiring minds

    damn, i really wanted to know how pig boy got supermodel. i guess the truth on that probably wouldn't be in the book anyway.

    April 1, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |

    Who cares!

    April 1, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Ole Grandad

    billy joel is a washed up ole has been drunkard that staggers out on stage and thinks he is some kinda comedian. His music has always been mediocre at best and all his admirers have been fudge monkeyss. His only redeeming quality is that bald head on which I would like to rub my hairy behind.

    April 1, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  26. kayaker247

    good for you Billy!

    April 1, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Valerie

    Well them sing us a song, you're the piano man!

    April 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Johnny Guy

    Mr. Joel doesn’t want to dredge up ancient history? Unfortunately that’s really all this once-amazing artist has left. Anyone who has a problem with Billy Joel’s material knows zilch about music or lyrics. He was masterful. Was. It’s hard listening to his bedrock wisdoms today, only to see how he traded them all away for booze and wives. He should have stuck to his Baby Grand. As Sheldon Cooper says, “Screw him; he’s weak.”

    April 1, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gas PUMPER!!

      True billy joel and his music suck the big one but you are even more weak you Shyt@ss.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Otto

    @ledzeppelinsucks – Led Zeppelin Rules!

    April 1, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  30. sugar hiccup

    Good for him. He's got a huge repertoire of music spanning most of his life. He deserves to let it be with just the music. Not every musician over 50 has to write an autobiography. Besides, it probably wouldn't be a huge seller....

    April 1, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  31. GDisibbio

    You're ALL either TOTALLY "BORED or JEALOUS". BJ was THE BEST........and in MY ears, STILL IS!

    Go SUCK on one!

    April 1, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  32. djmc32

    First,gaga is a better singer,maybe,maaaaybe a better act on stage.better songwriter?no chance,not even close.maybe if she wrote her own stuff,but as it stands,no way.that being said,just because the youth dont think a man who wrote his best stuff 20 years ago is a legend doesnt make them idiots. Music didnt stop being made when billy joel slowed down,and if you think so,your just too old to get it. Billy joel is a great act,and I love his music.try to take it for what it is and not play modern vs classic,it never works.

    April 1, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  33. humberto

    Looks like alot of pimps from christofer street posting .

    April 1, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Passed3rdGrade

      A lot.
      A lot.
      "Alot" has never been a word in the English language.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  34. terre08

    Another book not written by the "author"?

    April 1, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  35. alumette

    better eating any "gummies' than sucking on a pacifier. Actually, about eating an apple?

    April 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  36. theprivateman

    He likely pulled the book because the publishers insisted that he include the most scandalous parts of his life. That's the problem with memoirs, autobiographies, and biographies produced by the big publishers, it's about selling books, not telling an accurate life story.

    Billy should have self-published his story and told McMillan to kiss his butt.

    April 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  37. alumette

    very wise of Billy Joel. He does not need the money or attention these biographies bring. Often, it opens old wounds and offends living friends and relatives. Some things are better left unsaid and forgotten.

    April 1, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Rrrralph

    You can't trust any new news items today. It's April Fools.

    April 1, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Donkeypunch

    I thought it was about a tossed salad?

    April 1, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  40. ledzeppelinsucks

    Billy Joel is boomer swill

    April 1, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  41. NealR2000

    It appears as though he thought this was a good idea at first, but upon reading about his past non-musical life, he was reminded what an unlikable person he was. Even with a good writer, it's pretty hard to gloss over a life that contains a lot of drunkeness, car crashes, cheating, being ripped off by your brother-in-law, messy divorces, etc. Yes, a great musician and performer he is, but the rest of his life is not so pretty.

    April 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  42. CB

    "Billy Joel pulls the plug on memoir". In a related story, Billy Joel pulled the cork on three bottles of Chateau Lafite Rothschild, consumed them quickly, and drove through whatever happened to be in his way. THANK YOU! I'll be here all week. Try the veal!

    April 1, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  43. UptownGoil

    Remember an hour ago when no one was even thinking about Billy Joel? Good times.

    April 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  44. linder

    yeah !

    April 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Nathan

    Someone should pull the plug on his tanning bed.
    BOOM, roasted.

    April 1, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  46. b

    or maybe not

    April 1, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  47. b

    good 1 Billy!

    April 1, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  48. b

    April fools!

    April 1, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  49. linder

    You are all poor spellers. And poor smellers. Only good people get to post here ! I am glad cnn pulled your offensive post. You should not be arguing with peoples here. This blog is about BIlly Joel being a weeenie toucher. Stick to the subject !

    April 1, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  50. Big Man on Campus

    You all KNOW Lady Gaga is a better singer, songwriter and performer that fatboy billy joel.

    April 1, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • idiot

      You must definitely be 13 and know NOTHING about true music. Billy Joel was and still is a great musician who didnt sing about crap like GaGa and the other idiot "artists" "sing".

      April 1, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Caboose

    What's new?

    April 1, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  52. Caboose


    April 1, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  53. Tony

    I am baffled by some of the childish comments I am reading. Billy Joel reached the top of his chosen profession over 30 years ago. How about showing some respect?

    April 1, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  54. kent

    i commend him for realziing i dont need the money and the past is past, he like every other celeb is human and i for one am haunted by soemthings in my past, so why relive them? i agree with him and my hats off to him 🙂

    April 1, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  55. LEE

    He's not gay, he just has major alcohol problems. He did some good stuff, but I wouldn't call him one of the greatest of all times.

    April 1, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      Like him or not, if you passed grade 3 math you'd know Billy Joel is without a doubt one of the greatest of all time.

      April 1, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  56. todd

    Good for you billy look forward don't look back

    April 1, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  57. Russell Hammond, Hollywood

    The book will be released at some point, perhaps later this year toward the holidays. That was a publicity stunt to garner more interest.

    April 1, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  58. JCP1986

    My gut says that this is a HUGE publicity stunt. What makes people want a book more than saying it won't be published? Give it some time, there will be some discussion about how he changed his mind when he learned how disappointed/interested people were on the book, etc. My guess is that it will be on the shelves within six months making him, and his publisher, even more money...

    April 1, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  59. Mark

    For those of you who actually care about Billy Joel and don't want to get involved with the rest of the nonsense in these comments, you might want to check out a DVD called "Last Play at Shea." This is all about the concert he put on in Shea Stadium, the last concert before the dump–"our dump" as it's referred to in the movie–was torn down. The DVD is a history of all the things that went on at Shea, from the Beatles to the Mets '69 championship, to the Pope visit, etc. It's also a history of Billy Joel's life. Overall one of the best films I've ever seen. If you grew up in NY, you will definitely relate to this.

    April 1, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  60. Billy was a Flaming Queen from way back

    And I can prove it...From Piano Man..."And he's flirtin with GayDavy who's still in the GayNavy and probably will be for life."

    April 1, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Floyd

      he is describing the scene at the bar dude.....paints a pretty good picture with words, he's a great lyricist. He also describes trying to get in the Catholic girl's drawers in Only the Good Die Young.
      Billy is great....and amazing in concert.
      Oh, and whoever said Zeppelin sucks is stuck in today's crap. Rock & Roll will never die!

      April 1, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Dude

    You freakin' idiots putting down his music. He showed he can master any genre. Brilliant lyricist and excellent musician. How many of you putting him down think Lady Gaga is an artist? Or on the other hand think that murky slop called "alternative" is actually anything other than sub-par wanna-be music?

    April 1, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • ObammaAlabamaSlamma

      He hasn't shown he can master;

      Symphonic black metal
      Russian folk

      And many others.

      April 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  62. JPX

    I hate his music and I think he's a swarmy little man. Who cares?

    April 1, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  63. Kevin

    Say what you want but the man has great taste in neckties.

    April 1, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  64. kevin

    I think he daughter Hannah Montana is very talented.

    April 1, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  65. Hi


    April 1, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  66. NM

    You people seriously need to grow up and get a grip! These comments are disgusting and judgemental!

    April 1, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  67. GCNYC

    One of the best singer, songwriter, musicians of our time. Kudos to him for not wanting to hang his laundry out in public.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  68. Head Diva In Charge

    Wonder if he isn't interested in talking about the past because he is embarrassed of it......hmmmmmmm?

    April 1, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  69. WhatWait

    Wow "TEACH" you've got a typo or grammar error in almost every single one of your posts today. I believe it is time to give it a rest. Oh and be sure to proof my post. It's perfect.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  70. Mike

    Like Charlie Sheen, Joel probably doesn't realize that his capricious actions affect a lot of people, probably costing them their jobs. These celebrities should think long and hard about their commitments before going into them.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Joel and Sheen fan

      Commitments? What commitments, to performing and making money? And Charlie Sheen off the cuff is FAR funnier and more entertaining than his mindless show ever was. Quitting that dorkfest with a bloated bank account IS winning. Deal with it.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Quitting the easiest job ever, one that pais over $2,000,000 week is winning? An opportunity Sheen will never have again? Yeah, sounds like winning to me.

      April 1, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joel and Sheen fan

      Not like he doesn't have enough money already. He was sick of the show, and why not? Horrible show! He went out on top and will end up creating a better show, wait and see.

      April 1, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Cornjolio

    Billy can tickle my ivory anytime he wants to !

    April 1, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • bothered

      Why would he want to touch your teeth? just kidding (teeth are the closest things we have in our bodies to animal ivory)

      April 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  72. nps

    You people all have some serious issues. How did a story about Billy Joel not penning an autobiography turn into this? Some of you are on the wrong website – try Merriam Webster or a gay p#rn site since you seemed to be obsessed with both!

    April 1, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  73. nps


    April 1, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  74. gg in galveston

    Really, people??? Really!?? The man's a great artist who has wrote some of my generations most amazing music. Why turn this into a gay joke – just because he performed with another great artist, Elton John? I think it's admirable that he's pulled the plug on his memoirs. I, for one, would much rather relish his life through his music. I don't need the sordid details of his failed marriages and bouts with substance abuse. Billy Joel is his music, and is absolutely amazing in concert. Kudos, Mr. Joel.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      I couldn't agree more. I was just posting the same feelings about it. The maturity of some people is just lacking terribly.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      @growing up, go back to your Bieber, idiot.

      April 1, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Wilder

      Billy Joel is not a great artist, and his music is not amazing.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • alumette

      exactly. Well said.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joel Fan

      Excellent! I agree with your post.

      April 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve Westman

      Finally, a reasonable person with an intelligent, thoughtful comment!

      April 1, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • grist

      I saw Billy Joel at a small college auditorium on Long Island (Hofstra I think) in 1974 when he only had two albums (Piano Man and Streetlight Seronade). He played every song on both albums. It was an amazing concert and one of my first – I was graduating high school. He was the Entertainer! Been to the Italian Restaurant.

      April 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  75. emma


    April 1, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  76. TEACH

    I dont have to spell too good. The kids in my classroom are 6 and 7 year olds. I can just make it up as i go along ! They are so young they dont even know the difference ! It is GREAT !

    April 1, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  77. UFOclub1977

    Is the same person posting under different aliases above? Crazy!

    April 1, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  78. nps

    I actually give him credit for keeping his business to himself. I wouldn't want everyone knowing my business either and he doesn't need the money, unlike so many other celebs, so good for him!!!

    April 1, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  79. TEACH

    AND it will go on your perminant record.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  80. TEACH

    My rule is if you can not spell then you can not post. Respect my wishes. I will give you an F for the day if you dont watch out.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Student

      The word is spelled "cannot", and the correct contraction is "don't".

      April 1, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • yeaman

      Are you kidding me? The correct contraction of cannot is "can't," not "don't." "Don't" is the contraction of "do not." Oh, the irony.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • suckon

      Deez nuts. Nice troll btw.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • charlie

      Do you correct peoples grammar when you speak to them in person? If not then why do it online?

      April 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  81. TEACH

    Learn to spell. My 2 year old spells better that you. PIggyfingers.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      To "yourstudent".. what are you, 5? Your mom allows you to post on the internet? In any case, when someone spells so badly that you cannot understand what they are saying.. well thats a problem!

      April 1, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Student, it absolutely *does* matter if you've got a grasp of the language when you post, whether this is a blog or not. That is, of course, assuming you're trying to be persuasive and make a point. Misspell everything and screw up the fundamentals of English grammar, and you come across as an uneducated chump not worth paying attention to.

      April 1, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      Your 2 year old spells better THAT you. LMAO!!! Pot meet kettle

      April 1, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laughing at the ignorant pretend teacher

      if you can't even do proper grammar then you shouldn't be telling others how to spell.

      April 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • teddy

      Get lives, you JERKS. This is not a spelling contest. BUT, for those of you who cannot spell, don't show your IGNORANCE.

      April 1, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |

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