Billy Joel involved in a car accident

Billy Joel’s tragic past: Car wrecks, addiction, and why he stopped making music

The Piano Man singer Billy Joel is one of the most admired musicians in the world and as the talented entertainer gives up songwriting for good, we take a look back at his tragic past

The Piano Man Billy Joel is one of the most respected entertainers in the world, selling millions of records and captivating music-lovers for the past two decades.

Despite his renowed success, the famous musician has withstood many tragic life events including numerous car crashes, a battle with addiction, mental health struggles, and the ultimate decision to quit songwriting.

When questioned what he was most proud of, Joel previously said: “My ability to move on with life. I’ve had difficulties in my life, but it never stopped me from continuing,” He adds: “Troubles with business didn’t stop me from doing business. I have no bitterness about anything, even people who rip me off, I let it go. I’m content with that I’m happy. I’m having a happy ending.”

The Uptown Girl singer faced his fair share of bad luck on the road – experiencing three crashes alarming fans over the past decade. In the early 2000s, Joel was involved in three different car accidents. The most recent took place in 2004 when the pop star’s car crashed into a house in Long Island. Luckily, no one else was involved and he was able to walk away with just a cut to his finger.

In January of 2003, Joel was driving his Mercedes Benz in Sag Harbor when he lost control and crashed into a tree. Paramedics rushed him to the hospital where he suffered minor head injuries. In June of 2004, Joel had another accident in East Hampton where hit a fire well and post. From this, he suffered minor injures and refused medical attention. There is no record of his Breathalyser test, but the singer checked himself into rehab the next week.

Joel later opened up about his struggle with substance abuse – mainly with alcoholism. The singer checked himself into rehab twice during his career. In an interview with, Joel explained that he always felt alcohol prevented him from becoming as good as he wanted to be

“If I couldn’t be as good as I wanted to be, I’d just drown it with booze. I know I’ve got a reputation that I’m this depressed guy. I’m not – I’m a happy guy. I was in rehab twice.” He adds: “It was one of the best things I ever did.”

Joel also spoke about his drug experimentation with Shock Jock Howard Stern. The singer said he tried multiple drugs, but he was most ‘scared’ of heroin. He said he was terrified of getting hooked on the drug, and this experience was the inspiration behind his song Scandinavian Skies.

Joel also spoke of mental health struggles and a suicide attempt. In his autobiography, Joel details the attempt sharing it happened during his failing career in his twenties. At the time, the singer said he swallowed a hand-full of Nembutal and washing it down with furniture polish. Following the attempt, he checked himself into a psychiatric hospital.

Despite all of Joel’s hardships, the talented musician produced some of the greatest music of his generation – with popular 13 studio albums and a total of over 121 songs.

But the singer recently shared with LA times he is done making new music. The 73-year-old explained the process became ‘excruciating.’ He said: “I didn’t have the same motivation anymore. You need inspiration to create good new music, and if you don’t have it, don’t bother. Get off the treadmill, for Christ’s sake.”

Joel, however, has no plans of retiring from his music career just yet. The famous rock star has recently teamed up with Fleetwood Mac star Stevie Nicks and the iconic duo is now touring North America.

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