Billy Joel is gearing up to perform at this weekend's 66th Annual Grammy Awards — presumably of "Turn the Lights Back On," his first new song in 17 years. The track, a mid-tempo piece dominated by Joel's voice and piano, was released on Thursday, February 1st and is Joel's first new composition to be released since "Christmas in Fallujah," with fellow Long Island singer Cass Dillon, back in 2017. Joel tells us that despite his productivity, especially during the 70s and 80s, songwriting is difficult for him:
"I never enjoyed writing. I always enjoyed having written. When I would get to the end of a song I was writing I was wrung out, 'cause I wanted it to be a certain quality. I have high standards, and if I don't meet those standards I'm really angry with myself and I'm hard on myself and I beat myself up." SOUNDCUE: 24
Joel famously stopped releasing new pop music after his 1993 album "River of Dreams." During 2001 he put out an album of classical compositions, "Fantasies & Delusions," and released another single in 2007 — "All My Life," which he wrote and recorded as an anniversary gift to his (now ex) wife Katie Lee.
After the Grammys on Sunday, February 4th, Joel's next performance comes February 9th as part of his monthly series at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Joel will spend the year alternating between those and stadium dates with Sting and Stevie Nicks (at different times).
Joel has also announced a February 28th release for "Piano Man: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" which will include the original album, a second disc of demos, rarities and live tracks, and a DVD with promotional video and live performances.