2 Feb, 2024

Billy Joel drops his first new song in 17 years

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Billy Joel drops his first new song in 17 years

Here's something Billy Joel fans haven't heard for the longest time: a new music!

On Thursday, the legendary piano man dropped “Turn the Lights Back On,” his first original song in 17 years.

The track — which Joel, 74, first teased on Instagram on Jan. 22 - is both a love ballad and a message to the hitmaker's loyal fans, who have long waited for another new tune in Joel's catalogue of hits.

“I’m late, but I’m here right now and I’m trying to find the magic that we lost somehow," Joel sings in the song's chorus. "Maybe I was blind, but I see you now as we’re laying here in the darkness. Did I wait too long to turn the lights back on?”

Joel wrote the song with Arthur Bacon, Wayne Hector and the song’s producer, Freddy Wexler, who has worked on songs for artists including Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez and Post Malone. Alongside a new lyric video, Joel also released the song on limited-edition 7-inch vinyl.

He'll perform the song live at the Grammys on Sunday night.

Joel previously said he retired from songwriting altogether not long after the release of his 1993 album River of Dreams, telling Vulture in a 2018 interview that he had higher expectations for the LP and was disappointed when it failed to spawn more than one hit song.

"The thing was, I put a lot of work into River of Dreams and it was as if the business had left me behind because there are substantial songs on that album that never went anywhere," he recalled. "So I said, 'What’s the point of putting myself through writing and recording if it doesn’t mean what it’s supposed to mean out there in the world?' "

"It was time," Joel added. "I couldn’t be as good as I wanted and that was driving me crazy. I was driving my loved ones crazy. I thought, this is ridiculous. So I stopped."

He also revealed that drinking was “one of the reasons I stopped writing songs.”

“I would drink to try and ease the pain of not being as good as I wanted to be,” Joel told Vulture, adding that “it was a vicious cycle, so I stopped.”

During his five decade career, Joel has amassed a massively successful discography that includes songs like “Piano Man," "New York State of Mind," "Only the Good Die Young," “Movin' Out (Anthony's Song),” "We Didn’t Start the Fire,” “Just the Way You Are,” “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” "Big Shot," "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me," "Uptown Girl," "The Longest Time," "Vienna," "My Life," and “Only the Good Die Young.”
The last new material Joel released was back in 2007, when he put out one-off singles "All My Life" — which was penned for then-wife Katie Lee — and "Christmas in Fallujah,” with musician Cass Dillon. Prior to his 2007 singles, Joel had only released covers — including Carole King’s “Hey Girl” and Bob Dylan’s “To Make You Feel My Love” — since his 1993 album River of Dreams.

While on stage last year, Joel teased "Turn the Lights Back On" was coming, telling the audience, “We’ve got a little something we’ve been working on you might hear sometime.”

This may be one of many new songs to come from Joel. "I’m never going to say never," he told Rolling Stone in 2019. "I may come up with an idea that could become a song. I may write a movie soundtrack. I may write a symphony. I don’t know. Anything’s possible."

He also said that he has "a lot of music that no one’s ever heard - and no one may ever hear if I don’t decide to do something with it."

"It’s really about the creative process that’s important to me, not about having records on the charts or selling a lot of recordings," said Joel. "I’m learning all the time, and you never stop learning. That’s what’s good about the writing process. You always learn something new whenever you create.”

Fans hoping to see Joel on the road can catch him at one of his upcoming stadium shows, including several dates with co-headliners Stevie Nicks and Sting.

There's also his decade-long Madison Square Garden residency in New York City which will come to a close this year, ending after his 150th lifetime show at the venue on July 25.

"After 10 years, we've done it. I mean, I didn't realize it would last 10 years,” Joel told PEOPLE last November. "And I don't know how many shows it is, I'm sure somebody's keeping track of it somewhere, but I'm amazed that we went this far, and I'm honored."

Source: People

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