Iconic pianist and musician Billy Joel has made it clear that he will not grant any rights to his music or likeness for the upcoming biopic on his life and career titled “Piano man.” Joel’s representative made the confirmation, and it was devastating news to his fans.
For now, it seems that “Piano Man” will be produced without using the likeness of music of its subject and without Joel’s blessing. There is another solution that the film’s producers have regarding rights to some of Joel’s music. Read on to find out more.
Billy Joel’s Rep Confirmed His Lack Of Involvement With The Biopic
A rep for Joel’s team confirmed to People that the 72-year-old musician “is not involved with” the biopic being produced by Michael Jai White’s Jaigantic Studios. Part of the statement read, “No rights in music, name/likeness or life story will be granted.”
With the producers unable to use most of Joel’s music and likeness, they’ve had to forge another path for the biopic and have acquired the life rights of Irwin Mazur. Mazur was Joel’s music representative from 1970 to 1972, just before breaking through as Piano Man.
However, it might prove very difficult to make the movie a success if the main subject has refused to have any part of the film or endorse it. Another issue is that Joel’s restriction of the music means that the biopic will not tell his life story properly, which is what fans truly want to see.
The Film Follows Joel’s Early Years
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According to Variety, “Piano Man” will follow the story of “Joel’s early years — from being discovered by Irwin Mazur, who managed the band The Hassles that Joel joined as a teenager, to his breakout performance in 1972 that captured the attention of Clive Davis.”
In a press statement, Mazur himself said, “What a dream come true! These are the real-life events I witnessed first-hand that shaped Billy from a keyboard player in the local Long Island band, The Hassles, into the iconic musician, singer-songwriter, and entertainer who thrills audiences around the world, today.”
Adam Ripp Is Excited To Make The Biopic
Adam Ripp, who will double as the film’s screenplay writer and director, told Variety that Joel has been “a part of my life since my father signed him to his record label when I was four years old.”
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Ripp is the son of Artie Ripp, who was the first man to sign Joel and also produced his debut album in 1971, titled “Cold Spring Harbor.” It’s surprising to fans that Joel would refuse to grant music rights when Ripp is attached to the project.
He shared that “his music is ingrained in my DNA and it’s been a dream of mine as a filmmaker to explore and celebrate the untold story of how Billy Joel became the Piano Man.”
The Upcoming Film Is The Latest Of Biopics About Musicians
“Piano Man” is only the latest musician-related biopics to come out recently or be in production. In 2021, the Billie Holiday biopic titled “United States vs. Billie Holiday” and the Aretha Franklin biopic titled “Respect” were released.
Daniel Radcliffe recently concluded filming of Al Yankovic’s biopic titled “WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story,” while Austin Butler and Tom Hanks will appear in the Elvis Presley biopic titled “Elvis.”
Tom Holland also recently confirmed that he would be playing iconic dancer and singer Fred Astaire in the upcoming biopic. He made the reveal to the Associated Press and said, “The script came in a week ago. I haven’t read it yet; they haven’t given it to me.”