Mapping the New York Locations Billy Joel Made Famous

From his own life to the music he's made

Billy Joel
Musician Billy Joel celebrates the 50th consecutive show of his sold out residency at Madison Square Garden on March 28, 2018 in New York City.
Myrna M. Suarez/Getty Images

Some songwriters take their inspiration from their own lives; others find their muse in friends or loved ones. For another group, though, the impetus to write a memorable song might well come from a place. And when it comes to Billy Joel, that’s certainly the case — whether he’s chronicling his coming of age on Long Island or his life in New York City.

You could, in fact, map out the locations that have loomed large in Joel’s life and art. And it turns out that’s not hyperbole; now, you can literally do this. As Ultimate Classic Rock recently reported, Joel launched a website where one can explore the distinctive geography associated with his body of work.

The site puts a total of 50 locations associated with Joel in the spotlight. It covers a lot of ground, from locations referenced in his lyrics (including, say, Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood) to spaces near and dear to his heart (20th Century Cycles, his motorcycle gallery in Oyster Bay). Venues where Joel has played memorable shows over the years — including Madison Square Garden and Jones Beach — also made the cut.

The map commemorates the 50th anniversary of Joel’s debut album Cold Spring Harbor, and it makes for a fascinating look at one musician’s personal geography.

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