Although Billy Joel was thrilled with receiving the Kennedy Center Honor earlier this month in Washington, D.C. -- the Long Island, New York native felt strange accepting the tribute. Billy spoke about the ceremony, which aired last night (December 29th) on CBS, admitting to Zap2it.com, "I was surprised. I honestly, really thought there were a lot of people who were deserving before I was going to get this. . . jazz musicians, classical musicians, just other people. I've had so much fun, it's like I'm getting an award for doing something I love. Which is an award in itself. . . It's a really good lineup."

He went on to say: "I'm still kind of 'Wow!' because I admire all those people. I'm happy I don't have to speak at this; I'd just be, 'Homina-homina-homina,' like Jackie Gleason."

Joel, who was honored by friends Tony Bennett, Garth Brooks, and Don Henley, said of the Kennedy Center Honor: "I guess it's our version of knighthood. It would be kind of cool if you could kneel before the president and get tapped on the shoulder with a sword and receive a helmet and a banner. It's fine, though."

He went on to note that the honor is coming at a special time in his career: "Next year will be my 50th year in show business and we're starting to do some gigs, so I guess it's all just kind of dovetailing."

Billy Joel tour dates (subject to change):
December 31 - Brooklyn, NY - Barclays Center
January 7, 11 - Sunrise, FL - BB&T Center
January 17 - Tampa, FL - Tampa Bay Times Forum
January 22 - Jacksonville, FL - Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena
January 27 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
February 3 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
February 9 - Raleigh, NC - PNC Arena
February 15 - Auburn Hills, MI - The Palace Of Auburn Hills
February 21 - Pittsburgh, PA - Consol Energy Center
March 21 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
April 18 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
May 9 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
May 17, 22 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl
June 7 - Las Vegas, NV - MGM Grand Garden Arena
June 21 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden Arena
July 2 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden Arena
August 7 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden Arena
September 17 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden Arena