Billy Joel and John Lennon lived near each other on Long...

Billy Joel and John Lennon lived near each other on Long Island but never introduced themselves to each other. Credit: Composite: Jeff Schock, left; Getty Images / Keystone / Hulton Archive / Jim Gray

Billy Joel says he regrets that although he and John Lennon were relative neighbors on Long Island in the 1970s until the former Beatle's death in 1980, they were each too reluctant to meet.

"I met George Harrison [and] Ringo Starr and I know Paul McCartney very well. I never met John Lennon, which I regret," the 72-year-old Rock & Roll Hall of Famer said on Monday's edition of actor Chazz Palminteri's weekly podcast, when asked if he had met The Beatles. "I feel bad about that."

He and Lennon, a Manhattanite who had a getaway estate called Cannon Hill, "lived right near each other on Long Island," Joel recalled, reiterating a story he told in a relatively little-heard, live call-in to "Fab Fourum" on SiriusXM satellite radio's The Beatles Channel on Dec. 11. "He lived on Cold Spring Harbor," Joel said, "and I lived [on the peninsula of] Lloyd Neck," in the Huntington hamlet of Cold Spring Harbor.

"And he would row his boat past my house with the guy who was his assistant, Fred [Seaman]. And he used to say to Fred, 'That's Billy Joel's house, but I don't want to bother him, because he needs his privacy.' And I would drive my boat past John's house: 'There's John Lennon's house, but I'm not going to bother him, he gets hassled all the time.' And we should have said hello."

Lennon, after buying the estate Cannon Hill in the latter half of the 1970s, often spent time with his wife, artist Yoko Ono, and their son Sean at that waterfront home in the village of Laurel Hollow. Both Lennon and Ono erroneously referred to the house as being in Cold Spring Harbor, which by quirk of geography is the school district under which Laurel Hollow falls.

In the December call-in, Joel explained that it was Seaman who had told him Lennon "used to row his boat past my house and talk to Fred and say, 'That's where Billy Joel lives.' He knew where I lived. He'd kind of wave to me and make a joke about it. We never actually met. We never got to say hi to each other. And to this day, really, I kind of regret that I never just got up the nerve and went over and knocked on the door and said hi. I wasn't even aware that he knew who I was, and then I found out later that he did."

Joel, who was raised in Hicksville and has homes in Sag Harbor and Centre Island, is scheduled to resume his Madison Square Garden residency in November.

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