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B Rock Note: Billy Joel Lists Personal, Professional Highs

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On Saturday night (May 13), die-hard Billy Joel fan, Axl Rose, joined the “Piano Man” onstage during his show at L.A.’s Dodger Stadium.

Rose came out during Billy’s now customary cover of AC/DC‘s “Highway To Hell” — which is usually handled by longtime roadie Chainsaw. Axl returned during the show’s encores to take the lead on the 1978 52nd Street opener, “Big Shot.”

A while back, Billy Joel listed for us the major highlights of his personal and professional life — and sure enough, his first paid show was high on the list:

“First gig I ever did where I got paid. I was in a band, I was 15 years old, I played the Holy Family Church in Hicksville. I thought we sounded great, maybe we sucked, but I thought we sounded great. And then at the end of the night, the priest gave us 15 bucks apiece. Which in 1964 was like, I don’t know, $1,500.”

“The next highlight was when I actually got a paycheck big enough that I could quit my factory job, I think I was 19, and most musicians know it’s very difficult to make a living completely as a musician. And I went to the boss at the factory, and I said, ‘Take this job and shove it up your. . .’ just like the Johnny Paycheck song. And the other big highlight would be the birth of my daughter.”


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