Billy and Katie Joel Movin' Up
Watch Billy perform one of his biggest hits, "Only the Good Die Young."
When "Only the Good Die Young" was first released, Billy says he was criticized for the controversial lyrics. "It came out as a single, and it got banned by a couple of Catholic universities, and then some archdiocese said that people shouldn't hear it and buy it," Billy says.
Fortunately for Billy, just the opposite happened. "Only the Good Die Young" became a top 40 hit! "I wrote them a letter and said, 'Can you please ban my next record?'" Billy jokes. Although he says the song might appear sacrilegious, Billy says that was not his intention. "It wasn't anti-anything," he says. "It was pro-lust, that was the point of the song."
Although Billy is an undeniable rock 'n' roll legend, he says he's never been a glamour boy. "I don't think I'm like a typical rock 'n' roll star," he says. "I think I'm like the least glamorous of the rock 'n' roll types."
Although Alexa Ray is following in her father's footsteps as a musician, Billy says she's making it on her own. "I don't push," he says. "I'm not a stage dad." If she calls, Billy says he'll give her advice—but only when she asks for it. "If she has a question about a chord change or a recording process or what's the next step in the music industry, I'll tell her my experience."
Katie says she met Billy while visiting New York City for a weekend. She and a friend went to the rooftop bar at The Peninsula hotel on an unseasonably warm November day. "I am coming out of the bathroom, and who do I almost bump into but him," she says. Katie says her friend asked Billy to join them for a drink, and from there they went out to dinner. "We had this great dinner, and we had pasta and white truffles, and he was really trying to impress me," she says. "I'd say it was love at first bite because we had such a good meal and we both love food, so that was what we bonded over."
Afterward, Katie says they went to see Billy's Broadway show, Movin' Out. "We go over, and he sings the last two songs of the show—jumps on stage, really laying it on thick." Unfortunately, Billy's attempts to impress Katie fell a little short. "I thought that he went over there every night and sang the last two songs of the show," she says. "I didn't know that it was for me!"
The age difference doesn't matter to Billy, either. "I've said this before—I would have married her if she was 30 years older than me," Billy says. "When it works and it clicks, you don't fight it. You go with it."
Katie says she also has a great relationship with Billy's daughter, Alexa Ray. "She was my maid of honor at my wedding, actually," she says. "And I'm always impressed by her. She has so much talent and grace, and she's just really special."
"I saw him doing Jerry O'Connell's bachelor pad, and I thought, 'Wow, that guy's really good.' So I got online and Googled him and found his website and called him up and said, 'Do you do regular people's houses? Can we meet?'" she says. "I fell in love with him. I mean, Nate is just like what you see on the show."
Katie gives a tour of the Joels' Nate-decorated home.
When Nate was remodeling the home, one of his changes was removing a mantle over a fireplace. While Billy admits the mantle was "over-the-top," he says he loved it. "Nate said, 'Oh, that's got to go,'" Billy says. "And I never let him forget it."
To get him back, Billy's been sending Nate the tackiest, kitschiest gifts he can find. "And I give him little notes. 'Here, see, I've got good taste, too, huh?'"
Now Katie puts that experience to use with her cookbook, The Comfort Table, and in her own kitchen. "I always say [Billy's] my guinea pig when I'm writing recipes," she says. "He tries everything, and he's always very honest."
Get Katie's recipe for Billy's favorite meat loaf.