Billy Joel celebrated his 70th birthday last night (May 9th) at New York''s Madison Square Garden with over 20,000 fans. Peter Frampton was the evening's surprise guest, performing a pair of Frampton Comes Alive! classics — “Show Me The Way” and “Baby, I Love Your Way,” and gifting the “Piano Man” his very own talk box. Newsday reported: “Daughter Alexa Ray Joel joined him on 'New York State Of Mind' and then led the crowd, along with three-year-old sister Della Rose and Joel’s wife, Alexis, in a chorus of 'Happy Birthday.'”
Video birthday wishes were show from such high-profile friends as Pink, Garth Brooks, and AC/DC's Brian Johnson — all of whom have taken the stage with Billy over the recent years.
Published just in time for the 70th birthday celebrations is the excellent new book — Billy Joel: Tales Of An Innocent Fan, by author Jon Brett. What sets the book apart from the pack is Brett's work chronicling the original pre-fame Billy Joel Band, which toured behind his 1971 solo debut, Cold Spring Harbor and featured Rhys Clark on drums, Larry Russell on bass, and Alan Hertzberg on guitar: “The Cold Spring Harbor tour; it shaped Billy's future. Billy put a band together, they were putting together all these gigs and they opened up some pretty major gigs — they opened up for the Beach Boys in Miami, and they were touring up and down the East Coast, as well, doing gigs at The Troubadour in California trying to make a name for themselves. And their reputation as a live act was growing. They carried on touring. They carried on playing this new material, and eventually they were picked to play at the May Y Sol Festival. This was kind of like a Woodstock festival in Puerto Rico.”