Musicians inspired by Billy Joel


Though he hasn't released any new pop music in 20 years, Billy Joel remains a force in pop culture. Of course there are countless musicians who have taken inspiration from The Piano Man. Here's a look at some recent ones.

Ben Folds

(Credit: AP / Keith Shimada)

Ben Folds
BIGGEST HIT: "Brick" (No. 6 Modern Rock, 1997)
JOEL-LIKE: He's a piano-playing singer-songwriter who often writes about celebrity and the music industry. He's also opening for Joel at Barclays Center on New Year's Eve.
ON JOEL: "I think he's real talented. I don't think I really have that much in common with him, except that we both... play the piano and have an affinity for a well-written pop song," Folds told the Chicago Tribune.

Gavin DeGraw

(Credit: AP / Robb D. Cohen)

Gavin DeGraw
BIGGEST HIT: "I Don't Want to Be" (No. 10, 2004)
JOEL-LIKE: He's a piano-playing singer-songwriter, who often played in New York piano bars when he was starting out. His albums mix ballads with more rock-oriented songs.
ON JOEL: "The draw of him is that he makes everything so relatable," DeGraw told "He's one of the greatest of the 20th century. Really. And if he puts another album out, he'll be one of the greatest of the 21st century."


(Credit: AP)

BIGGEST HIT: "Grace Kelly" (No. 57, 2007)
JOEL-LIKE: The British piano-playing singer-songwriter is known for speaking his mind.
ON JOEL: Mika tells the Salt Lake Tribune that his upcoming album will be acoustic and simpler, "quite Billy Joel-esque."



Jon McLaughlin

Jon McLaughlin BIGGEST HIT:
(Credit: AP)

Jon McLaughlin
BIGGEST HIT: "OK Now" (Album No. 49, 2008)
JOEL-LIKE: He's a piano-playing singer-songwriter who focuses on storytelling lyrics.
ON JOEL: "I've always loved playing the piano, and I've always sat at the piano and pictured Billy Joel," McLaughlin told Billboard. "We had this old VHS tape back in the day that had Billy Joel, and he was singing 'Piano Man,' and ever since that moment, I've just wanted to be Billy Joel."

Eric Hutchinson

Eric Hutchinson BIGGEST HIT:
(Credit: AP)

Eric Hutchinson
BIGGEST HIT: "Moving Up Living Down" (Album No. 29, 2012)
JOEL-LIKE: The piano-and-guitar-playing singer-songwriter mixes his love of doo-wop and soul with strong melodies.
ON JOEL: "I had a normal suburban life," Hutchinson told the Baltimore Sun. "I always had a strong interest in music, though. I listened to a lot of Billy Joel, the Beatles, Paul Simon and Michael Jackson. I credit my parents with having smart music around."

Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Wainwright BIGGEST HIT:
(Credit: AP/ Robb D. Cohen)

Rufus Wainwright
BIGGEST HIT: "Release the Stars" (Album No. 23, 2007)
JOEL-LIKE: He's a piano-playing singer-songwriter who also has an interest in classical music and opera. He also worked with Phil Ramone and is a fellow Steinway artist, as well as a Long Islander now after moving to Montauk.
ON JOEL: Somehow, the outspoken Mr. Wainwright hasn't said much on Joel in the press. Maybe because he's so tightly tied to Elton John?

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