Every so often I speak to a musician when the conversation turns to Billy Joel, and I wind up relating the time Billy was registered with us as a keyboardist seeking gigs, so here it is for everyone. It was way back in 1972, after Billy had moved to LA from New York. In those days, players would come into our office on Sunset in Hollywood to fill out a paper resume, which were placed into large notebooks, available to band leaders and employers seeking musicians.
Billy paid our $10 listing fee and filled out his resume, dated November 8, 1972, (we still have his resume). He wrote at the bottom “I’m not interested in jamming or f**king around, I just need money”. A week later he came in again and crossed out “f**king” and replaced it with “messing”, thinking this might be less offensive to an employer. Later, an agent called who booked acts in local lounges. He needed a keyboardist for one of his restaurants, so I gave him some phone numbers of keyboardists, including Billy’s.
Several days later the agent called again for more phone numbers. “What happened with Billy Joel?” I asked. The agent gave me a sarcastic reply, something like “Oh, he’s another one of those big stars, you know, too big to play top 40, he only wants to do his own material, so I can’t use him!” But I do remember that he also admitted “but he’s awfully good”.
Shortly after, Billy was in our office again, this time looking through resumes of other individual players to form his original band. He was sitting next to Michael Shure, a pro guitarist who had been listed with us several times. Billy turned to him and asked if he’d like to audition and Michael answered that he would only be interested if it was a paying situation. At this point it wasn’t, so regretfully he turned him down!
And guess what? Billy STILL has 55 unused days with our service, because he told us to cancel the rest of his registration days. I never knew for sure if he got the restaurant gig from us which inspired “Piano Man” since the song was released less than a year later. So Billy, your 55 days are still here if you ever need them! To read some brief accounts of other known musicians who have used our service, visit: https://www.MusiciansContact.com/famous-past-members