The lights went out on Broadway today in a solemn vigil. Long Island was soulfully silent. All of New York seemed to stop and sigh as the reports came of legions of fans waving goodbye to America’s most beloved Piano Man, Willard “Billy Joel.” The 70-year old singer / songwriter had been suffering from a yeast infection caused by using the same harmonica for over 40 years of performing and was surrounded by friends, his fourth wife Leyna, and his children, Brenda and Eddie.
Joel was best known for his huge collection of New York-style songs chronicling the feelings and opinions of the everyman. Despite being somewhat of a dick to bandmate Liberty DeVito, he was charitable and fairly solitary, holding performances even after retirement to benefit opposition to abortion, anti-homeless measures, and was a favored guest at several rallies for President Trump, where his soft, lilting version of “My Life” would often bring crowds to tears.
The President has already ordered Vice President Pence to issue condolences to his friends and family, and White House staff will play : “Only the Good Die Young” from the Rose Garden speakers at 8 p.m. to honor the performer. He truly was as loved and respected as Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnny Ray, South Pacific, Walter Winchell, and Joe DiMaggio.