The road to Billy Joe’s biography finally making it to the shelves has not been a straight path. Fred Schruers was approached in 2008 to ghost write the singer’s autobiography, which was initially called “The Book of Joel.” With Harper Collins expecting a best seller and anticipating a first run of 250, 000 Joel scrapped the plan only weeks before the release.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, Joel said, “It took working on writing a book to make me realize that I’m not all that interested in talking about the past and that the best expression of my life and its ups and downs has been and remains my music.” He told Newsday, “I saw it being promoted as a salacious tell-all, which it wasn’t in the first place. I said, no, no, no, no that is not how I want to be defined.”
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Many writers would have been frustrated, but Schruers, who also wrote for Rolling Stone, always had a feeling Joel would scrap the project and honored the fact Joel was very “candid” about it. All of Schruers effort finally paid off in the form of a finished piece when Joel approached him again in 2012 and decided this time he did want a book written, but preferred the approach of a biography, which involves some distance and includes other perspectives to an autobiography. The result is “Billy Joel: The Definitive Biography.” Well, you can’t get less salacious and more official sounding than that.