Billy Joel Hits Hot 100 for First Time Since 1997 With New Single ‘Turn the Lights Back On’

Billy Joel Hits Hot 100 for First Time Since 1997 With New Single ‘Turn the Lights Back On’


Billy Joel’s “Turn the Lights Back On” returns the legendary singer-songwriter to the Billboard Hot 100, as it debuts on the chart dated Feb. 17 at No. 62. The song — Joel’s first single release in 17 years — marks his first entry on the chart since the survey dated Oct. 11, 1997, when he wrapped the run of his version of Bob Dylan’s “To Make You Feel My Love.”

Joel returns to the Hot 100 just one week shy of the 50th anniversary of his first appearance on the chart: on the list dated Feb. 23, 1974, he debuted at No. 94 with his breakthrough hit “Piano Man,” which went on to peak at No. 25. Among his 43 career Hot 100 entries including “Turn the Lights Back On,” he has banked 13 top 10s, including three No. 1s: “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” (for two weeks in 1980), “Tell Her About It” (one week, 1983) and “We Didn’t Start the Fire” (two weeks, 1989).

“Turn the Lights Back On” enters the Hot 100 following its first full week of tracking (Feb. 2-8), after it was released at 7 a.m. ET Thursday, Feb. 1, on Columbia Records. Further boosted by Joel’s performance of the piano ballad at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 4, it debuts with 5.1 million in radio audience, 4.5 million official streams and 22,000 combined physical (via 7” vinyl) and digital singles sold in the U.S., according to Luminate. It concurrently jumps 11-5 on the Digital Song Sales chart.

Notably, Joel, who was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1999, appeared as a writer on the Hot 100 amid his quarter-century-plus break from the chart as a recording artist: the Glee Cast’s covers of his classics “Only the Good Die Young” and “Uptown Girl” hit Nos. 50 and 68 in 2010 and 2011, respectively, while Fall Out Boy’s update of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” reached No. 94 last July. (Plus, Olivia Rodrigo’s “Deja Vu” shouts-out “Uptown Girl” and Joel himself; both his original “Uptown Girl,” in 1983, and “Deja Vu,” in 2021, hit No. 3. The pair performed both songs together at Madison Square Garden in New York in August 2022.)

“Turn the Lights Back On” was written by Joel, Arthur Bacon, Wayne Hector and Freddy Wexler. (Hector has co-written five top five Hot 100 hits, beginning with O-Town’s “All or Nothing” in 2001, while Wexler co-wrote Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber’s 2020 No. 1 “Stuck With U.”)

“The melody, the chords, the chord progression, even the time signature was something that struck me immediately, and that’s how I relate to music,” Joel said of how he reacted to what Wexler was working on. “This particular lyric in this song, I’ve had these thoughts, I could have written these lyrics verbatim. I’ve chewed on these words and I’ve thought of these words, and I’ve said these words before. It was all kind of falling into place – and who am I to fight that?”

Joel has solo-written 40 of his 43 Hot 100 hits as a recording artist, with “Turn the Lights Back On” serving as his first charted co-write. In addition to the Dylan-penned “To Make You Feel My Love,” Joel reached the ranking in 1992 with his cover of Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up,” which Presley wrote with Otis Blackwell.


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