64.50 to 199.50
One of the most prolific rock pianists of the past forty years is undoubtedly Billy Joel. Another contender for the title would be Elton John, whom Joel continues to play tour dates with to this day. Regardless, Joel has become an iconic figure in the world of rock, specifically for his virtuosity in utilizing the piano on multi-platinum albums that span decades. As the third best-selling solo artist in the US, Billy Joel's recording career has significantly decreased in the past ten years, but continues to perform tour dates around the world that serve as a constant reminder to the legacy he has created in the world of music. While Billy Joel has no scheduled tour dates in 2011, the piano man is due for more concert dates soon.
As the son of a talented classical pianist, Billy Joel began learning the instrument from a very young age. During high school, Joel beganrecorded and performed tour dates with groups like The Hassels and Attila. Billy Joel's debut album didn't garner much attention and spent much of 1971 and '72 playing tour dates at clubs in New York and LA. This experience led to the creation of "Piano Man," the title track for Billy Joel's breakthrough second album. Joel's tour dates were becoming immensely popular by this time and he scored his next big hit in 1977 with the release of The Stranger. The album quickly went diamond, won two Grammys, and featured the hit singles "Just the Way You Are" and "Only the Good Die Young."
Billy Joel's follow-up album, 52nd Street, experienced similar success, this time reaching #1 on the charts and becoming the first commercial album ever to be sold on compact disc. The iconic album was followed by an iconic tour date at the Havana Jam in 1979, where Joel played the finale of the festival and created non-violent hysteria in the crowd. Billy Joel soon developed more of a traditional rock sound that captured the spirit of the 80s, which shown on albums like Glass Houses, The Nylon Curtain, and An Innocent Man. In 1986, Billy Joel embarked on more historic tour dates when he played in the Soviet Union. Joel's last lyrical studio album was 1993's River of Dreams, which featured a more serious tone due to betrayals by individuals in Joel's personal life. The album went platinum five times and was followed by what Joel then called his last concert date at "The Night of 2000 Years" millennium concert at Madison Square Garden.
Though Billy Joel has continued to play tour dates, the only studio album he's released since 1993 has been Fantasies & Delusions, a collection of original classical piano compositions. And while Joel has no scheduled tour dates in 2011 or hinted at a new album, fans are beginning to wonder what the prolific pianist is up to these days. For all the latest on Billy Joel's tour dates and upcoming albums, be sure to check Eventful often.
Ben Folds Five:
Ben Folds Five was an alternative rock trio formed in 1993 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The group comprised Ben Folds on vocals, piano, and principal songwriting; Robert Sledge played bass and provided backing vocals; and Darren Jessee played drums, sang backing vocals and co-wrote some of the songs. The group achieved mainstream success in the alternative, indie and pop music scenes. The band is best known for the hit single "Brick" from their 1997 album Whatever and Ever Amen, which gained airplay on many mainstream radio stations.
Much of Ben Folds Five's work was influenced by jazz, evident in frequent improv-styled passages through bridge and/or ending. During their seven years together, the band released three proper studio records, one retrospective album of B-sides & outtakes, and eight singles. They also contributed to a number of soundtracks and compilations. Ben Folds Five disbanded in October 2000, apparently under amicable circumstances.
The group reunited for a one-off concert on September 18, 2008, where they played their final album, The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, in its entirety.
Ben Folds Five was formed in 1993 in Chapel Hill by Ben Folds. They were, in fact, a trio in spite of their name, and the primary motivation behind the name, apart from the band's well-known use of humor, was simple preference, according to Ben: "I think it sounds better than Ben Folds Three". Folds once described their music as "punk rock for sissies", a reaction to the angst prevalent in 90s rock.
Their first radio single was "Underground" from their self-titled debut album, released in 1995 on Caroline records. The band's biggest success was the single "Brick" from their second album, Whatever and Ever Amen, released in 1997. It was followed by the more somber and jazz-based 1999 album, The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner. Despite a more somber record in Reinhold Messner album, live shows continued to pack in the energy and improvisation that Ben Folds Five had grown to have quite a reputation for.
The group contributed an outtake from the Reinhold Messner sessions, titled "Leather Jacket", to the 1999 benefit album, No Boundaries: A Benefit for the Kosovar Refugees. The band's final recording was a cover of Steely Dan's "Barrytown" for the Me, Myself & Irene soundtrack. Following the worldwide tour in support of The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, the band "amicably" broke up in October 2000.