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  • Writer's pictureEric Senich

The Lights Are Back On, Billy Joel Releases First New Song In Nearly Two Decades




Billy Joel says he's having fun again and that couldn't make his fans happier. Why? Because it led to the release of his first new song in nearly two decades and it's clear that Billy hasn't lost a single centimeter to the passage of time. It's as if he picked up right where he left off so many years ago.


The new single called "Turn The Lights Back On" was written by Billy and Freddy Wexler. The two discussed the writing process of the song with Audacy Check In this week. Billy said the title ties in with why he hadn't released any new music in such a long time.


“Music is fun. Rock n’ roll was fun,” he said. “It was all about having fun — and I kind of lost that and I turned the lights off because it wasn’t fun anymore.”


Billy added that it was his unexpected connection with Wexler that convinced him to get back into the studio again.


“Other people have tried to talk me into going back in and doing new material, and making the recordings, and I’ve always resisted it. I studiously avoided it because songwriting had become painful,” he said. “I have this high bar. I said to myself, ‘If I don’t reach that bar, I beat myself up and I punched myself and I hate myself.’ So, I stopped doing it because I got tired of feeling like that.”


When Wexler presented the music to Billy, that pain had been lifted.


“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,” he explained. “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?”


Billy Joel will perform “Turn the Lights Back On” live for the first time at the 2024 Grammy Awards, which will air tonight (February 4) on CBS at 8 p.m. ET.

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