Joel was born in 1949 in The Bronx, New York, and grew up on Long Island, New York, both places that influenced his music. After dropping out of high school, Joel took part in two short-lived bands, The Hassles and Attila, before signing a record deal with Family Productions and kicking off a solo career in 1971 with his first release, Cold Spring Harbor. In 1972, Joel grabbed the attention of Columbia Records after a live radio performance of the song "Captain Jack" became popular in Philadelphia, prompting him to sign a new record deal with the company and release his second solo album, Piano Man, which contained his first hit single of the same name. After releasing two more albums, Streetlife Serenade and Turnstiles, Joel released his critical and commercial breakthrough album, The Stranger, in 1977; this album became Columbia's best-selling release, selling over 10 million copies and spawning several hit singles, including "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)", "Just the Way You Are", and "Only the Good Die Young". A year later, Joel's album 52nd Street was his first album to peak at #1 on the Billboard 200 charts. After receiving flack from critics for being soft and releasing too many slow ballad songs, Joel released his seventh studio album, Glass Houses, in an attempt to further establish himself as a rock and roll artist; this release featured It's Still Rock & Roll To Me, Joel's first single to top the Billboard Hot 100 charts, as well as Don't Ask Me Why and Sometimes a Fantasy. His next album, The Nylon Curtain, was released in 1982, and stemmed from a desire from Joel to create more lyrically and melodically ambitious music. An Innocent Man, released in 1983, served as an homage to genres of music which Joel had grown up with in the 1950s, such as Rhythm and Blues and doo-wop. After releasing the albums The Bridge and Storm Front in 1986 and 1989 respectively, Joel released his twelfth and final solo album, River of Dreams, in 1993. He went on to release Fantasies and Delusions, a 2001 album featuring classical compositions composed by Joel and performed by British-Korean pianist Richard Hyung-ki Joo. Joel also provided voiceover work in 1988 for the 27th animated Disney film, Oliver & Company, in which he provided the voice of the character Dodger.
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