When the boy was 10, his father left the family and moved back to Germany. Music was the boy's passion so he kept playing piano but his mom could only on and off again afford lessons. He grew up in a tough neighborhood and up until he was around 15 years old, he mostly hid his piano playing as he hung out with a tough gang of teenagers. He took up boxing and won 26 fights and lost four. It was a tough image that he's maintained over the years.
When he turned 15 he began playing in a high school band that played Beatle's cover songs (he was a Beatle's fanatic). They were good enough to get a gig at the New York World's Fair. The first time they were paid was when they performed at a social at a Catholic church. He got $5. A man in the community who owned a bar was looking for a piano player for a band he put together so at the age of 16, he began his professional career. Playing at least three nights a week, he was failing in school and eventually became a high school dropout. The band he was in was very popular locally but it didn't gain traction so they disbanded. He joined another band and it quickly disbanded as well but by then he was noticed by Columbia Records and they signed a deal with him which led to an album that reached number one on the Billboard Chart.
The album and record breaking song from the album was called: "Piano Man," and of course the artist is the famous piano prodigy, Billy Joel. His high school gave him a diploma when he was 43 and now he has six Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Universities such as Berkley and Syracuse.
I can't cover all the music awards he's received because there are too many, but he has received five Grammy's . He's an amazing music artist who has dealt with a lot of pain. We've almost lost him a couple of times due to depression; I'm so thankful for those first responders because we would've missed out on some amazing music.