We’re in a New York State of Mind Thanks to the First-Ever Billy Joel Exhibit
This upcoming retrospective on a Long Island legend has us feelin’ alright.
Long Island and Billy Joel go together like peanut butter and jelly, peas and carrots, red on a rose—you see what we’re getting at. The famed singer of karaoke classics like “Piano Man,” “Vienna,” “Uptown Girl,” and “New York State of Mind” is the most famous product of Long Island. And Long Island locals seriously adore their hometown hero.
Born in the Bronx in 1949, Joel and his family moved to the island soon after. After dropping out of high school to pursue music, Joel kicked off his solo career in 1971 and shortly thereafter achieved critical acclaim thanks to his breakthrough album “The Stranger.”
As one of the world’s best selling music artists, with over 160 million records sold worldwide, it’s no wonder why Billy Joel is Long Island’s beloved son. To commemorate the past fifty years of musical success and concurrent with the conclusion of his decade-long Madison Square Garden residency, the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame is set to debut the first-ever Billy Joel exhibit, “Billy Joel–My Life, A Piano Man’s Journey,” over Thanksgiving weekend.
“It’s a dream come true,” says LIMEHOF Chairman, Ernie Canadeo. “If you live on Long Island, you love Billy Joel. He’s represented [Long Island] positively for years and he attracts fans of all ages—young and old. This exhibit has been an exhilarating process.”
“This has been in the making our whole lives. We’ve grown up with Billy Joel. He’s the quintessential boy-next-door,” adds LIMEHOF Creative Director Kevin O’Callaghan. “We’re celebrating not only him, but also people that inspired him and were inspired by him. When I talked with [Billy Joel] he said, ‘So this is a party with my friends.’”
Visitors to the installation can peek into the fascinating journey of Billy Joel’s life and explore a vast array of personal ephemera—a great deal of which was donated by Joel himself—alongside rare video footage, odes to influential legends like The Beatles and Ray Charles, awards won by Joel, photography, and more.
Among the hundreds of intriguing pieces on display is a nine-foot piano that Joel used on his “Face to Face” tandem concert tour with Elton John. “It’s one of my favorite parts of the exhibit,” says Canadeo. “It’s immensely historic and it hasn’t been seen since the tour ended in 2003.” For all the die-hard Piano Man fans, don’t miss the selection of personal harmonicas, which have undoubtedly harmonized to the famous tune.
The undying dedication and love that Long Islanders have for Billy Joel is perfectly summed up in three words by O’Callaghan. Simply put, “He’s our guy.”