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Billy Joel turns 65: Happy birthday, Piano Man

May 9, 2014 at 1:18 PM ET

The Piano Man, the Big Shot, the guy who knows that only the good die young. Whatever you think of Billy Joel, who turns 65 Friday, his music has been a part of our lives for more than 40 years.

IMAGE: Billy Joel
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The Piano Man is 65.

Joel once said it was seeing the Beatles perform on "The Ed Sullivan Show" that set him on a musical path. Millions of fans are thankful he caught that iconic performance. His love songs have floated through many a wedding reception, his piano-playing has been imitated by young musicians, his lively hits still bounce through karaoke halls and bars worldwide.

When Joel hits, he hits big — "Piano Man" is evidence of that — but sometimes it's his quieter tunes (the historically hard-hitting "Goodnight Saigon," for one) that really resonate with fans. When Rolling Stone asked readers for their favorite Joel song, 70 titles were submitted. We couldn't include that many in our poll, but here are a few of for you to choose from. Joel didn't start the fire, but he sure kept it burning.


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