Billy Joel is sufficiently gleeful that a certain show is about to make plentiful use of his music.
Set to receive the Kennedy Center Honors in December, the iconic singer-songwriter-“Piano Man” is pleased Thursday’s (Nov. 21) episode of FOX’s “Glee” features many of his tunes, to the extent that the story — about the seniors making post-graduation plans — is titled “Movin’ Out.” Chord Overstreet and Darren Criss perform that song.
“I heard about this,” Joel tells Zap2it. “Honestly, I’ve never seen the show. I’m one of those guys who watches the History Channel, and I watch news and I watch documentaries … but I’m very happy that my material is being done by people of that age group, and that I guess it has meaning for them.
“I’m always surprised when I look out at the audience [at concerts] and I see a lot of younger people, like they’ve discovered this stuff on their own. I doubt that a lot of younger kids listen to classic-rock radio. They have their own music now, and in light of that, I guess my stuff hasn’t aged so badly that nobody wants to hear it anymore.”
Among the Joel standards “Glee” will incorporate are “Just the Way You Are” (performed by Criss, Lea Michele, Chris Colfer and Naya Rivera), “My Life” (Jacob Artist), “Honesty” (Kevin McHale) and “You May Be Right” (the entire New Directions gang).
“I like hearing my material interpreted as many different ways as it can be,” Joel says. “I even like hearing it in an elevator or a fast-food joint. It’s like, ‘Hey, my kids are on their own now. They don’t need Dad anymore.'”
The six-time Grammy Award winner has just completed a “mini-tour” of England and Ireland, and he has upcoming dates in his native New York — including Barclays Center, on New Year’s Eve, and Madison Square Garden — and Florida. And his songs are making a big media comeback in general.
“We Didn’t Start the Fire” was featured in last weekend’s Lady Gaga-hosted “Saturday Night Live” on NBC, and a recent CBS “Criminal Minds” episode directed by co-star Matthew Gray Gubler ended with the regular cast’s karaoke version of “Piano Man.” “Movin’ Out” also will be on the soundtrack of the upcoming Leonardo DiCaprio–Martin Scorsese movie “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
“My interest these days is in exposing the lesser-known material,” Joel says, “because it does get a good response. In the U.K., I did ‘Blonde Over Blue,’ ‘Stop in Nevada,’ ‘The Great Wall of China,’ ‘A Room of Our Own’ … deep album cuts, and they got a hand.
“Maybe every song isn’t going to get a standing ovation, but if we enjoy it enough, the audience gets it. They think, ‘It looks like they’re having a good time up there.’ And we were.”