Billy Joel: The Life and Times of an Angry Young Man (Revised and Updated)

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Billy Joel: The Life and Times of an Angry Young Man (Revised and Updated)

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Billy Joel: The Life and Times of an Angry Young Man (Revised and Updated)

Billy Joel: The Life and Times of an Angry Young Man (Revised and Updated)

(Book). Billy Joel: The Life and Times of an Angry Young Man is a look at the superstar’s entire career, including his troubled youth as a gang member; the controversy surrounding his first hit, “Captain Jack”; his legal problems; his storied marriage with Christie Brinkley; and his continued artistic frustration. “The Beatles did ‘Michelle’ and ‘Yesterday,'” he has said. “They also did ‘Revolution’ and ‘Helter Skelter’ and they weren’t pegged as balladeers. But because I had hit singles that

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3 Comments

S. Proc

June 13, 2016 at 8:00 am
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars
Great for most people, Fair for die-hard fans, July 26, 2005
By 
S. Proc (Seattle, WA) –

Being the ultimate Billy Joel fan, I was a bit disappointed. There’s not much new information here, its just a nice collection of old articles that dedicated fans have already read. Although I’m happy someone finally put out a recent bio of billy. Bordowitz seemed to focus the majority on billy’s early career, when he was unknown, and how he broke through to fame. It seemed that once it came to around to Greatest Hits 1&2 in the book, Bordowitz just seems to skim through billy’s life – only offering a couple paragraphs on each album. I was disappointed with this. He seems not too interested in billy’s later/current life.

All in all, the book is a nice summary of past articles and more than not, general information. Alot of the people interviewed are people who knew Billy way back when and played a part in his upcoming career. But it was nice the author noted that many people close to Billy fiercely guard him and can’t and wouldn’t want to divulge any information about him. So therefore he was left with who he could get. Sure, we’d all like it if billy was interviewed himself, but i’ve read other places billy isn’t keen on the idea of a biography of himself, therefore probably wouldnt oblige when authors come knocking.

One thing I didnt like was for the fact that Bordowitz seemed to be so keen on billy’s history of bands, he doesn’t mention one word about Mark Rivera, who was touring with billy as early as the bridge tour. He also states that Crystal Talifero was featured on River Of Dreams, and while she was, he never mentioned her first appearing on his Storm Front album and touring with him for the Storm Front tour. Mark and Crystal, along with Dave Rosenthal, were all HUGE parts of Billy’s more recent band, yet Bordowitz fails to mention them at all, or once at best.

Also, i would have liked to have seen more words dedicated to billy’s history making events such as his USSR tour and historic Yankee Stadium shows. They are mentioned in the book, but seem like an “oh by the way, this also happened…” kind of thought. Especially his Yankee Stadium shows.

Overall, I’d say the book was ‘good’, – not horrible, not great. Great for an interested fan, but just okay for a die-hard fan.

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Jamie S. Kilberg

June 13, 2016 at 8:26 am
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars
Interesting Info — Terribly Written, January 10, 2007
By 
Jamie S. Kilberg (Alexandria, VA United States) –
(REAL NAME)
  

I’ve not read other attempts at Billy Joel biographies, so this one definitely contained some interesting facts that I, as a long fan, did not know. It was incredibly difficult, however, to pull those tidbits out from the terrible and often ridiculous prose that is the writing (and editing — hello typos — “through” and “thorough” are not the same word!) of this book. The author tries (too hard) to draw parallels where none exist solely for the sake of attempted literary-ness. Commenting on the “McCarthyism” of “Good Night Saigon” (so that he could refer to another song on The Nylon Curtain as having traces of “McCartneyism” — get it?)? That song is anything but. I especially loved when the author recounted a diatribe Billy made against music industry forces that try to stifle an artist’s creativity. Billy apparently said something along the lines of once an artist lets the people who control the money influence the art, then the art begins to stink like a dead horse. The author makes the feeble attempt to say this remark is a passing reference to when Billy’s former manager and brother-in-law, Frank Weber, stole money from Billy by, among other things, getting involved in intentionally maiming horses for insurance money. Are you joking? People with money trying to control the artist’s decision + dead horse. Um — clearly the author has never seen The Godfather. Sure, Mr. Bordowitz, that’s ALL about an insurance fraud/race horse scam. Good one. Overall, the writing was terrible and VERY repetitive. He frequently used the exact same quote two or three times, sometimes within a span of just a few pages. As I said, where is the editor? I would recommend this book if you want to learn some more details about Billy Joel, but be warned. As a book, it sucks. Big time. (Ultimate irony: Read the last chapter wherein the author recounts how, at one time, Billy had agreed to cooperate with a biography but only if was a respectable author who actually could write. And then the author wonders why it would be that Billy refused to particpate in the writing of this rag. Hmmm. Check the mirror, bub. The writing stinks. Kinda like a dead horse.)
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Jason F. Johnson

June 13, 2016 at 8:41 am
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
There Is NOT a Better Billy Book, November 18, 2005
By 
Jason F. Johnson (Duluth, MN USA) –
(REAL NAME)
  

Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
I find myself scratching my head at the reviews who say there is “nothing new” here. I’ve been a devout Billy Joel fanatic all my life, and there is a LOT of new info here. One thing that stands out is Billy’s attempted suicide: Billy always kind of laughed the incident off, saying he “just went around farting furniture polish. I’d sit on the chair and polish the furniture.” The Borowitz book reveals that (a) Billy was admitted to the hospital in a coma; (b) he did not admit himself into a mental health facility (as he long suggested) but was admitted by the authorities; (c) he did not get himself sprung (again, as Billy has suggested) but had to get his then-manager Irwin Mazur to pose as a psychologist(!) to get him out.

And all of this is just the tip of the iceberg. Not to call into question the fans who say they already knew this stuff–but unless you’re Billy’s sister, you did NOT know all of this. And yes, band members, former managers, and family members were contacted for this book, and many of them–for a change–apparently talked. As of this writing, this is by far the most detailed Billy bio out there.

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