Billy Joel & Former Drummer Settle Suit

Billy Joel and his former drummer have worked things out in court with the settlement of a lawsuit accusing the Piano Man of not paying royalties on 11 albums.

“The case has been amicably resolved,” Joel’s lawyer, Paul LiCalsi, told Reuters.

The lawyer did not discuss terms of the settlement.

Liberty DeVitto was the man behind Joel’s drum set from 1975 to 2005. A May 2009 lawsuit alleged that Joel gypped DeVitto on unspecific royalties regarding the sales of 11 albums recorded between 1975 and 1990. The albums in question sold a total of more than 100 million units worldwide.

The lawsuit didn’t pin down the exact amount owed in royalties because DeVitto said it had been 10 years since he’d received an accounting of Joel’s sales, according to the New York Post. DeVitto’s lawyer Brian Gucciardo added that, “it’s all subject to an audit.”

The suit also named Sony Music Entertainment as a defendant.

Photo: AP Photo
Foxborough Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.

DeVitto told the Post that he and the Grammy-award winning singer were once so close he was in Joel’s 1985 wedding to Christie Brinkley.

Although DeVitto doesn’t have a songwriter’s credit he claims he contributed “a creative force” to Joel’s music.

“If Billy sang ‘Only the Good Die Young’ like he wanted to, it would have been a reggae song,” DeVitto said.

DeVitto, who now works as a studio musician and leads drum clinics, told the Post he was fired in 2005 without even so much as a phone call. He says he suspects things went downhill when he tried to confront Joel about his alcohol issues.

“I thought I could say things to him as a friend,” DeVitto said.

Click here for the Reuters story.

Click here for the New York Post story.