Billy Joel joins his first rock band

February 21, 2016

 

Tonight in 1964…

A young pianist named “Billy Joel” joins his first rock band…a New York outfit called “The Echoes” which specializes in covering the new "British Invasion" bands…

 

The Echoes began recording in 1965…Billy was originally hired by Snuff Garrett as a pianist for Bobby Vee…then sixteen…also played piano on several records released through Kama Sutra Productions and on recordings produced by Shadow Morton…Joel played on a demo version of "Leader of the Pack" which would become a major hit for the Shangri-Las…Billy states that in 1964 he played on a recording of the Shangri-Las' "Remember (Walking in the Sand)"…but he is unaware of whether he played on the demo or master version…The released single included a co-producer credit for Artie Ripp who later was the first to sign Joel as a solo artist after Michael Lang who had given Joel a monetary advance and passed Joel along to Ripp to focus his attentions elsewhere instead…

 

In late 1965…the Echoes changed their name to the Emeralds and then to the Lost Souls… Joel left the band in 1967 to join the Hassles…a Long Island group that had signed with United Artists Records…Over the next year and a half they released four singles and two albums…’The Hassles’ and ‘Hour of the Wolf’…All were commercial failures…Joel and drummer Jon Small left the Hassles in 1969 to form the duo Attila releasing a debut album in July 1970…

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