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Billy Joel Makes Nostalgic Comeback With First New Song In 17 Years

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Billy Joel fans were in for a pleasant surprise after the singer-songwriter released his first original song in 17 years. He announced the release, which he performed during the recent 66th Grammy Awards, on Instagram with the caption, “It’s time to TURN THE LIGHTS BACK ON. Brand new single coming February 1st. Pre-order now at the link in bio!”

Joel’s last releases were “All My Life” for his ex-wife Katie Lee, and “Christmas in Fallujah,” in collaboration with Cass Dillon in 2007. He had spoken about his comeback in 2019 and last year during a stage performance. “We’ve got a little something we’ve been working on you might hear sometime,” he assured the audience.

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Billy Joel’s new song is out now and channels his roots

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The song features contributions from Arthur Bacon, Wayne Hector, and producer Freddy Wexler, who has worked with Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, and Post Malone. “Turn The Lights Back On” is now available on a limited-edition 7-inch vinyl, along with a new lyric video that can be found on his official YouTube channel. It is likely part of music Joel has held back for so long that “no one may ever hear if I don’t decide to do something with it.”

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RELATED: Billy Joel Releasing First Single In Nearly 20 Years — Expect Return To Classics

For Joel, the “creative process” is the priority rather than “having records on the charts or selling a lot of recordings.” The track’s chorus might relate to his hiatus from the spotlight and taking so long to create again as well. “I’m late, but I’m here right now, and I’m trying to find the magic that we lost somehow…Did I wait too long to turn the lights back on?” he asked.

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Why did Billy Joel take a break?

Joel retired from songwriting after 1993’s River Of Dreams, which did not succeed as much as he had expected. “The thing was, I put a lot of work into ‘River of Dreams’, and it was as if the business had left me behind because there are substantial songs on that album that never went anywhere,” he admitted. “It was time. I couldn’t be as good as I wanted, and that was driving me crazy. I thought this is ridiculous. So I stopped.”

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He also developed a drinking problem after resorting to alcohol “to try and ease the pain of not being as good as I wanted to be. It was a vicious cycle, so I stopped.” Amid his battles with feeling inadequate, Joel did not stop performing, and his 10-year Madison Square Garden residency ends this year. “I don’t know how many shows it is, I’m sure somebody’s keeping track of it somewhere, but I’m amazed that we went this far, and I’m honored,” he said.

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