Billy Joel Unfazed by CBS Cutting 'Piano Man' Performance

Billy Joel shares his thoughts on performing live on television

by Zain ul Abedin
Billy Joel Unfazed by CBS Cutting 'Piano Man' Performance
© Jason Koerner/Getty Images

In an interview, Billy Joel expressed his views on the CBS broadcast mistake that occurred during his concert, where the segment of his famous hit “Piano Man” was truncated abruptly. The legendary singer-songwriter, who was featured in the CBS special "Billy Joel: The 100th - Live at Madison Square Garden," said he was “not surprised”.

The special featured Joel playing some of the most popular songs that he had ever released to a lively crowd. However, the broadcast disappointed many fans repeatedly when a ‘network programming timing error’ caused the show to end abruptly after two minutes – in the middle of Joel’s fantastic performance of the ‘Piano Man.’ Speaking to Variety after the show in an interview, Joel explained his disappointment by saying, "I wasn’t surprised.

I’ve never been really happy with the way music is presented on television. For TV people, it’s really all about the visual. If you look at a television set, you'll see a big screen and a tiny speaker, which should tell you enough about their priorities.

They often struggle with getting the audio right and don't really know how to present new music. I wasn't surprised that it got cut off short because I've always kind of been cut short by TV."

Joel’s TV Struggles

Joel went on to further explain just why he generally has no fondness for performing on TV, stating: "I always feel like a geek when I’m on TV because I’m static at the piano.

I can't move around, I can’t use body language. It just doesn’t feel rock’n’roll when you’re on camera. You’re just locked in place." This feeling was summed up in his experience at the 2024 Grammy Awards, where he premiered ‘Turn the Lights Back On.’ Joel stated, "I wasn’t crazy about doing that either.

That was a TV audience in Los Angeles, a showbiz town, and it was all based around their presentation. I noticed people getting up to leave during my performance and thought, 'Do we sound bad?' Usually, that’s the biggest song of the night!

So, me and TV, we don’t always get along." The following day, CBS released a statement of apology in relation to the mix-up, explaining that this kind of mistake could happen and would air the show again. The network immediately issued a statement saying, "We apologize to Mr.

Joel, his fans, our affiliated stations, and our audience whose viewing experience was interrupted during the last song." Originally, the full version of the special was planned to be re-aired on April 19 so that viewers could witness Joel’s singing without intermission.