How A Fan Convinced Billy Joel To Write A Song Again After 30 Years
via SN breaking news / Youtube
For nearly 30 years, Billy Joel’s loyal fans had dreamt of one thing: a new pop hit from the Piano Man. But Joel, who penned iconic anthems like “She’s Always a Woman” and “Uptown Girl”, had seemingly laid down his pen, content with his legacy and the endless touring that kept him connected to his devoted following.
But in a recent twist, a spark of inspiration, fueled by an unexpected source, rekindled the creative fire within him.
During a red-carpet interview at the 66th annual Grammy Awards, the iconic musician dropped a bombshell. A fan, he revealed, played a crucial role in coaxing him back into the studio. This wasn’t just any fan, mind you. This was someone who understood the artist’s soul, the essence of his music, and the yearning of millions for a fresh melody.
So, how did this dedicated individual crack the code and convince the legendary Billy Joel to return to his musical roots? Read on and find out more about this intriguing tale and discover the story behind the song that nearly never was.
A fan meeting that ignited Billy Joel’s songwriting spark
Joel’s recent return to the songwriting scene wouldn’t be complete without understanding the spark that ignited it. In the said interview, he unveiled a surprising source of inspiration: a fan named Freddy Wexler.
“I met some guy who I was told, ‘This guy wants to meet you. He’s a fan.’ So I thought, ‘Okay, I’ll talk to him for a couple minutes. That’ll be the end of that.’ We ended up becoming friends, and he talked me into going into the studio, working on a new song blah blah blah. He’s right here. Freddy Wexler, the guy with the camera right there,” Joel explained.
But how did this happen? While specifics are unclear, Joel paints a picture of an unlikely friendship blossoming into something extraordinary. His playful “blah blah blah” hints at a story richer than a simple “convincing”. We can imagine shared laughter, mutual respect, and the power of human connection igniting a long-dormant flame.
What started as a fan meeting turned into a friendship, blossoming into a creative collaboration. Wexler, and two other talented individuals who helped the iconic musician get back on his studio feet.
“I was still reluctant to go and start the whole thing again”
So, how did the fateful conversation unfold? When asked about the exchange, Joel shared “It went very well,” he recalls, acknowledging the so-called fan’s musical knowledge. “He knows what he’s doing. He knew what he was talking about.
Yet, the legendary musician admits reservations lingered. “I was still reluctant to go and start the whole thing again,” he confessed, but the seed was sown. “But after about a year and a half, it all came together.”
“Turn the Lights Back On” wasn’t just a solo effort. Joel joined forces with the talented trio of Arthur Bacon, Wayne Hector, and even his fan-turned-friend, Freddy Wexler, who boasts collaborations with superstars like Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez.
The song wasn’t simply released digitally; it graced limited-edition vinyl, emphasizing its tangible presence. And to truly mark its arrival, Joel took the Grammy stage, sharing the newly minted melody with the world.
Joel had to overcome the “torment” of songwriting
The recent return of Billy Joel to the songwriting scene holds immense weight, not only for fans but for understanding the artistic mind. In a revealing interview with WBLM-FM, Joel shed light on the internal struggle that fueled his long hiatus. “I had not wanted to do it,” he declared.
Music, once a source of joy, had morphed into a demanding taskmaster. “It was all my life,” he confessed, highlighting the all-consuming nature of his craft. He described the solitary process as “lonely” and, even more poignantly, “torment”.
The self-imposed pressure to achieve perfection had turned music into a battleground, where anything less than his own exacting standards led to self-criticism and emotional turmoil.
This wasn’t a decision made in isolation. Friends, colleagues, and industry titans like Rick Rubin, Clive Davis, and Elton John, all urged him to return. Their influence, while significant, wasn’t enough to overcome the internal barricade Joel had built. Wexler’s “fan meeting” ultimately broke the camel’s back, paving the way for the iconic musician to make history in the most recent Grammys.
Watch Billy Joel’s Access Hollywood interview below: