Billy Joel and Rod Stewart will perform at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 13th; tickets go on sale February 2nd. At a news conference held Thursday morning by Mayor Justin Bibb, LiveNation Partner Whitney Haslam Johnson of Haslam Sports Group Whitney Haslam Johnson Destination Cleveland President/CEO David Gilbert as well as Rock and Roll Hall of Fame President/CEO Greg Harris the announcement was made. Their inclusion marks an incredible victory for Cleveland as many artists have neglected this music market over time.

As Joel continues his run of co-headlining performances with Sting, including two 2024 concerts jointly announced, we decided to explore his career in greater depth. Given all of his recent acclaim, it seemed appropriate that we take a deeper dive into what makes him such a household name.

Fred Schruers is an award-winning music journalist and the author of “Billy Joel: The Life And Songs.” For over four decades, he has covered Joel as one of the leading writers on singer/songwriters like him, providing insight and perspective from inside his life as a journalist covering this genre. While Joel may be widely respected among his peers in terms of professional success, his personal life has had some rough patches as well.

Billy Joel: The Life and Songbook” explores a broad array of topics, such as his family history and relationship with women. Joel talks about his mother Rosalind and father Howard (born Helmuth), both Jewish, fleeing Nazi Germany via Cuba for Cuba; this experience inspired the song “Rosalinda’s Eyes,” which refers both to their boat journey to Cuba as well as to an uncle being aboard the St. Louis that was turned around by Vichy France to head directly for concentration camps in France.

Fred explains that, although Rosalind was written into the song, its lyrics do not represent an exact biography; rather they represent an amalgam of family events which illustrate their journey from Nazi Germany and asylum in America.

He further revealed that while some details in “The Stranger” are fictional, its inspiration came from an incident in which young Billy Joel consumed Olde English scratch furniture polish to try and end his drug use and tried to kill himself by drinking Olde English scratch furniture polish, only being saved by a nurse; it inspired “The Stranger,” an emotional song which is widely considered Billy Joel’s only F-bomb song in his body of work.