Billy Joel’s 100th Show: NY Governor Cuomo Declares Today Billy Joel Day, MSG Announces Permanent Display

Billy Joel and Andrew Cuomo
(MSG Photos)

New York State of Mind & Governor: Billy Joel with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo with a framed proclamation declaring July 18th 2018 Billy Joel Day.

As Billy Joel readies for his record-setting 100th sold-out performance tonight at Madison Square Garden, dignitaries from New York City and State as well as executives from the “World’s Most Famous Arena” and others gathered at the venue today to honor this singular musician’s momentous achievement.

“I do hereby proclaim today July 18th as Billy Joel Day,” New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, reading from an official proclamation on a stage set-up in Madison’s Square Garden’s Chase Square entry plaza. The Governor called Joel one of the most “iconic and influential figures in American music history,” and cited his six Grammy Awards, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 33 Top 40 hits, more than 150 million records sold worldwide and his very first performance at the Garden on December 14, 1978 among his many other achievements.

“Where we like to say ‘I Love New York,’ which is the New York icon, the icon for today will be ‘New York Loves Billy Joel,’” the Governor said.

Billy Joel
(MSG Photos)

And So It Goes (from left): Chazz Palminteri, James Dolan, Alexis Roderick, Billy Joel, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Q104.3’s Jim Kerr at a Madison Square Garden event celebrating Billy Joel’s 100th lifetime performance at MSG on July 18, 2018.

James Dolan, Madison Square Garden Executive Chairman and CEO, also announced that in recognition of Joel’s record-setting performances, the Garden will host a permanent display honoring Joel in MSG’s Chase Square, “the gateway to Madison Square Garden.”

The chief executive then unveiled Joel’s black Steinway & Sons grand piano along with a plaque with the following inscription: “In celebration of Billy Joel’s 100th lifetime performance at Madison Square Garden, the most of any entertainer in the history of the World’s Most Famous Arena. Dedicated on the day of this unprecedented and historic achievement. July 18, 2018.”

“Billy Joel’s incredible achievement will set a standard for the entire music industry that may take generations to eclipse,” Dolan said in a statement. “One hundred shows by a single artist at a single venue is a remarkable testament to the strength of an artist’s connection to his music and his audience. Since Billy first graced the Garden stage in 1978, more than 2 million fans have heard Billy live at The World’s Most Famous Arena. It is only fitting that we commemorate this extraordinary achievement with the display of his piano which will serve a tribute to this unparalleled legacy.”

“My cup runneth over,” is how a modest and clearly moved Billy Joel began his remarks. “I remember being at the Garden almost five years ago when it was announced that we were going to have a residency. I didn’t really understand what that meant at that moment. And I realized later that we’re like a sports team, like the Knicks, the Rangers or the Liberty. It was a little overwhelming when I realized what it really meant.”

Billy Joel

The new plaque that will sit alongside Billy Joel’s piano at Madison Square Garden

After making a Henny Youngman joke alluding to the power of New York City and his good fortune at being born a New Yorker (“My father was the town drunk, the town was New York City.”), Joel went on to thank his longtime agent of 42 years. “I have to give credit to my agent, who is sitting here, Dennis Arfa. This was his idea. He was talking about this a long time ago. I said, ‘You’re crazy, we can’t do that.’ And he was crazy but he was right.”

Actor Chazz Palminteri also took the stage to honor his longtime friend Joel. He quoted an unnamed philosopher in noting that “life is short, but art is long,” and that Billy Joel’s art and music will be here for an eternity.
Over the past decade, Joel grossed nearly $500 million and sold more than 4.2 million tickets, according to Pollstar Boxoffice data. And his numbers in recent years have only risen: Over the last four years, Joel remained a fixture of the Top 20 of Pollstar’s Year End Top 200 North American Tours. In 2014, he hit No. 6 on the chart with a gross of $72.2 million, No. 9 in 2015 with $69.9 million, No. 11 in 2016 with $68 million and back to No. 9 again in 2017 with his highest gross at $82.3 million. At the mid-year mark he’s already at $34.2 million and counting.