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Billy Joel: Elton John is “a much better piano player” than I originally thought

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Tracy A. Woodward/Washington Post/Getty Images

They’re both piano-playing singer/songwriters who became superstars in the ’70, and they’ve toured together, too, so it’s no wonder that Billy Joel and Elton John are often compared to each other. But when Billy was asked what he learned from sharing a stage with Elton, he seemed to throw a little shade at the Rocket Man.

“He’s a much better piano player than I originally gave him credit for,” Billy tells Rolling Stone, adding, “…a lot of the nights we were together, I went, ‘Holy s***, he’s a good pianist.'”

“When I watch Elton, he goes into a trance…,” Billy notes. “When he’s offstage, he’s a rock star…but I watch him onstage and he goes into a whole other sort of dimension.”

When it comes to himself, though, Billy rejects the whole “rock star” thing.

“When I go home…I’ve got to take out the garbage…I clean the house. There’s no glamour,” he tells Rolling Stone. “I’m probably the most unglamorous rock star there is.”

Of course, nobody but a bona fide rock star could do a residency at New York’s Madison Square Garden for four straight years…and, he says, there’s no end in sight.

“It’s the greatest gig in the world,” he tells Rolling Stone. “I don’t know how long it can last. I assumed it would start to taper off at this point….But it hasn’t happened.  It’s still selling out.”

He adds, “I thought it would kind of dissipate. But so far there hasn’t been any indication of that. When there is, then we’ll probably stop.”

When Rolling Stone points out that these days, Billy — a punching bag for critics in the past — seems to have become cool, Billy jokes, “Look, man, Trump is president, so all kinds of weird s*** can happen.”

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