William Martin Joel (born May 9, 1949) is an American singer-songwriter, composer and pianist. Commonly nicknamed the "Piano Man", he has been making music since the 1960s, releasing popular albums throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. He was born in 1949 in The Bronx, New York, and grew up on Long Island, New York, both places that influenced his music. After dropping out of high school, Joel took part in two short-lived bands, The Hassles and Attila, before signing a record deal with Family Productions and kicking off a solo career in 1971 with his first release, Cold Spring Harbor. In 1972, Joel caught the attention of Columbia Records after a live radio performance of the song "Captain Jack" became popular in Philadelphia, prompting him to sign a new record deal with the company and release his second solo album, Piano Man, which contained his first hit single of the same name. After releasing two more albums, Streetlife Serenade and Turnstiles, Joel released his critical and commercial breakthrough album, The Stranger, in 1977; this album became Columbia's best-selling release, selling over 10 million copies and spawning several hit singles, including "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)" and "Just the Way You Are".