* BreakawayPopHit: "Why Should I Worry" from ''OliverAndCompany''.
* BreakthroughHit: "Piano Man", which is also one of his [[SignatureSong best-known songs]]. In terms of Hot 100 performance, "Just The Way You Are" was his first top 10 hit.
* CompactDisc: ''52nd Street'' was the first pop/rock music CD released in stores, when [=CDs=] were first available in Japan.
* CreatorBacklash: Joel got sick of "Piano Man" for a time and refused to sing it in concert. He got over it, though the audience [[AudienceParticipationSong tends to save him the trouble of singing it]] when he plays it nowadays. And reportedly, he's not any too fond of "Just the Way You Are," either, because it's a love song to someone he ended up divorcing. Joel also retired "Uptown Girl" (another love song to an ex-wife) from his stage show for a long time, but he eventually reintroduced it.
** He doesn't necessarily ''hate'' "We Didn't Start The Fire", but he does consider it a "novelty song" and technically not one of his best melodies. [[WordOfGod He's also claimed]] it's one of the more difficult songs for him to perform, as he feels if he makes one mistake singing the lyrics, "the whole thing falls apart". His hesistance to perform "Uptown Girl" has had, by WordOfGod, more to do with the fact that he considers the Frankie Valli-like vocal style and the key it's written in to be hard on his voice (he usually places the song near the end of his setlists when he ''does'' perform it, for similar reasons), and nothing to do with him "being mad at Christie"; they are great friends.
* CreatorRecovery: Billy Joel's very upbeat and poppy ''An Innocent Man'', a tribute to Joel's musical influences from TheSixties, followed the cynical, sociopolitically charged ''The Nylon Curtain''. While TNC was recorded during Billy's divorce from his first wife, AIM was a product of then-single Billy enjoying life as a bachelor and dating a number of supermodels, most notably his future second wife ChristieBrinkley.
* ExecutiveMeddling: Referenced in several songs. The lyrics from "The Entertainer", for example, refers to executive meddling which required him to reduce the length of "Piano Man":
-->''It took me years to write it\\
They were the best years of my life.\\
It was a beautiful song but it ran too long,\\
If you're gonna have a hit then you gotta make it fit\\
So they cut it down to 3.05''
* GreatestHits: Several since 1985, especially after his "retirement" from releasing pop music in 1994. 1985's double-length "Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 & 2" sold 23x multi-platinum according to the RIAA, as of 2011, at least [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greatest_Hits_(Billy_Joel_albums)#cite_note-1 according to]] TheOtherWiki.
* MagnumOpusDissonance: Though ''The Stranger'' is often considered as his masterpiece, Billy [[WordOfGod has often claimed]] his favorite album, and the one he is most proud of, aside from ''Fantasies And Delusions'' is ''The Nylon Curtain''.
* OldShame: Before launching his solo career, Joel was part of a hard rock duo called Attila. They released exactly one album, which was critically savaged and which Joel to this day is thoroughly embarrassed by.
** At least on a technical note, ''Cold Spring Harbor'', his debut, counts too. Not so much due to the material, but to the mastering, which was accidentally done at too high a speed. Even with the remastered/corrected version currently out, he feels it still sounds weird to him.
* {{Trope Namer|s}}: "We Didn't Start the Fire" gives us WeDidntStartTheBillyJoelParodies.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: According to [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WK_yPvB1vws Joel's account]], he first wrote "Only The Good Die Young" as a {{Reggae}} song. When he brought it into the studio and first played it, his drummer Liberty [=DeVitto=] [[DisproportionateRetribution threw his sticks at him, yelled "I fucking hate reggae!"]] and said [[DeadpanSnarker "the closest you ever got to Jamaica is when you change trains in Queens!"]]. [=DeVitto=] then demanded that the song be changed to a shuffle beat instead of a reggae beat, resulting in the version we know today. Joel also mentions that initially the single stiffed on the charts, and only began selling tons of copies after it was banned for being "anti-Catholic", and claims that he wrote a letter to the Archbishop of St. Louis saying "Thank you very much, please ban my next album as well."
** Unsuccessful attempts to record ''Turnstiles'' would have seen Billy produced by Beatles producer George Martin, while at another point [[EltonJohn Elton John's]] classic band (Davey Johnstone, Dee Murray, Nigel Olsson) would have been his studio backing band as his label [[ExecutiveMeddling wanted Billy to have more of an Elton-like sound]]. Joel rebelled, moving from Los Angeles to New York City, producing the album himself and using his touring band.
* WriterRevolt: "The Entertainer", written in protest of "Piano Man" being edited from 5:38 to 3:05 by his record company for single release.