Hamptonite Billy Joel was honored at the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers’ (ASCAP) Centennial Awards and 100th anniversary gala at New York’s Waldorf Astoria on Monday.
Fellow musical icons and ASCAP members Stevie Wonder, Joan Baez, Garth Brooks and Stephen Sondheim were also honored during the night of moving music and speeches. ASCAP’s “once-in-a-century” award recognizes select American music icons for their “incomparable accomplishments” in their music genres and beyond.
Joel’s pal, and musical icon in his own right, Sting presented him with the award and performed a fantastic rendition of Joel’s “Big Man on Mulberry Street” and Joel performed his hit “New York State of Mind” at the event.
“This has been an amazing year for me—it’s just a bounty and plethora of honors,” Joel said, referencing a year full of attention, honors and accolades, including The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song—which he will receive in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, November 19. “I just want to reassure people I don’t have a terminal disease,” the Piano Man added. “I don’t know why this year of all years it’s happening.”
Among his many achievements, Joel has won six Grammy awards, while his Broadway musical Movin’ Out earned two Tony Awards in 2004. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992 and he earned that organization’s highest honor, the Johnny Mercer Award, in 2001. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 and he received the Recording Industry Association of America Diamond Award. ASCAP presented him with their Founders Award in 1997 and he received the 36th Annual Kennedy Center Honor, one of the country’s top cultural awards, in 2013.
Also in 2013, Joel became Madison Square Garden’s first-ever music franchise, and he continues to add, and sell out, dates at “The World’s Most Famous Arena.” On Tuesday, Joel announced the addition of a 17th show at MSG on Thursday, May 28, 2015. His recently announced 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th shows—taking place on January 9, February 18, March 9 and April 3, 2015—have already sold out.
Presale tickets for the May 28 show will be available to Citi cardmembers beginning at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, November 19 at citiprivatepass.com. Tickets for the May show will become available to the general public beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, November 22 via ticketmaster.com and by calling Ticketmaster at 866-858-0008. Tickets will also be available at the Madison Square Garden box office on Sunday, November 23, 2014 at noon. Prices range from $64.50–$124.50.
In other news, Joel’s 2010 documentary film The Last Play At Shea will be available on Blu-ray starting today, Tuesday, November 18. The film chronicles the intersecting histories of Joel and the New York Mets’ landmark Shea Stadium. It’s an engaging look at the highs and lows of the New York Mets baseball and Joel’s equally turbulent music career (unfortunately the Mets are not having anything close to Joel’s banner year in 2014). Narrated by Hamptons resident Alec Baldwin, The Last Play at Shea features interviews with players and performers, along with exclusive concert footage from Joel’s “goodbye performances” at Shea in July of 2008. Interviews include Joel’s former wife and fellow Hamptonite Christie Brinkley, Sting, John Mayer, Tony Bennett and another of Monday’s ASCAP honorees, Garth Brooks. Also look for a special performance by Amagansett rock icon Paul McCartney.