The music legend took to the stage at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday to perform his first new single in over a decade
We didn't start the fire — Billy Joel did with his smoking performance!
At Sunday's 2024 Grammy Awards held at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, Joel, 74, took the stage for a performance of "Turn the Lights Back On."
The Piano Man of course took to a grand piano to play the new tune. Dressed in a leather jacket and sunglasses, the music icon was joined by a full band, including several horn and string players to round out the accompaniment.
His voice sounded strong as ever and he stunned with several moments showcasing his skills on the keys. Throughout the song, the stage increasingly lit up — coming out of near darkness to technicolor — to create an affecting moment paralleling the song's lyrics, which in part finds Joel reflecting on his own legacy to his fans.
Following the performance, Joel received a warm response from the crowd, who all gave him a standing ovation as he smiled and gave a humble bow.
Before the five-time Grammy winner and 23-time nominee graced the stage, a video played featuring the legend, as well as "Turn the Lights Back On" co-writer Freddy Wexler. The songwriter, 37, explained how the song was two years in-the-making because he was "relentless" in getting the singer-songwriter back in the studio.
"The whole point of doing what I do was because it was so much fun to do when I first started. I kind of lost that after a while." Joel said in the clip. "Freddy got me to find the joy in it again."
The "Vienna" singer also closed out the ceremony with one last performance after the gramophone for album of the year was awarded to Taylor Swift, returning to the stage for a rocking rendition of his classic "You May Be Might."
His Grammys appearance marked his first televised performance of his new single and first new song in over a decade. The song just dropped on Feb. 1.
The track — which Joel first teased on Instagram on Jan. 22 — is both a love ballad and a message to the hitmaker's loyal fans, who have long waited for another new tune.
“I’m late, but I’m here right now / And I’m trying to find the magic / That we lost somehow," Joel sings in the song's chorus. "Maybe I was blind / But I see you now / As we’re layin' here in the darkness / Did I wait too long / To turn the lights back on?”
Joel wrote the song with Arthur Bacon, Wayne Hector and the song’s producer, Wexler, who has worked on songs for artists including Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez and Post Malone. Alongside a new lyric video, Joel also released the track on limited-edition 7-inch vinyl.
During his five-decade career, Joel has amassed a successful discography that includes songs like “Piano Man," "New York State of Mind," "Only the Good Die Young," “Movin' Out (Anthony's Song),” "We Didn’t Start the Fire,” “Just the Way You Are,” “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” "Big Shot," "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me," "Uptown Girl," "The Longest Time," "Vienna," "My Life" and “Only the Good Die Young.”
The last new material Joel released was in 2007, when he put out one-off singles "All My Life" — which was penned for then-wife Katie Lee — and "Christmas in Fallujah” with musician Cass Dillon. Prior to his 2007 singles, Joel had only released covers — including Carole King’s “Hey Girl” and Bob Dylan’s “To Make You Feel My Love” — since his 1993 album River of Dreams.
The song comes as the artist is wrapping up his legendary, decade-long residency at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. The show will officially come to a close later this year when he plays his 150th lifetime show at the venue on July 25.
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