Billy Joel Special To Re-Air Amid Fan Outrage, CBS Issues Apology

Billy Joel fans were excited to tune into CBS Sunday (April 14) to see the “Vienna” singer’s first broadcast-network concert special. The 100th: Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden – The Greatest Arena Run of All Time commemorated Joel’s 100th performance at the famed New York City venue. That excitement turned to outrage when CBS cut off the special just as the GRAMMY winner was playing his beloved song “Piano Man.” Now, the network is promising to make it right.

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[RELATED: Top 10 Billy Joel Songs (“Piano Man”Aside)]

CBS Will Re-Air Billy Joel Special

On Monday (April 15), the “We Didn’t Start the Fire” singer shared a statement from CBS to his social media. The network apologized for a “programming timing error” that ended the special two minutes early in the Eastern and Central time zones.

Initially, CBS’ showing of the Masters golf tournament ran long, delaying the two-hour special. The broadcasting network opted to cut Joel’s final song so local affiliates could begin their newscast at 11 p.m.

“Due to the overwhelming demand from his legion of fans,” CBS will re-broadcast the special in its entirety Friday (April 19) at 9 p.m. EST.

Understandably, fans rejoiced at the news. “Victory! We did it everyone. The people have won,” one X/Twitter user wrote.

CBS Faced Social Media Backlash

The backlash from fans was swift Sunday night. “We need an apology for interrupting PIANO MAN of all songs,” one fan commented on CBS’ Instagram.

Even musician Rob Thomas weighed in. The former Matchbox Twenty frontman called out the Recording Academy for giving Joel a less-than-ideal spot during the 2024 GRAMMYs. (Joel premiered his latest single, “Turn the Lights Back On.”)

“I feel like people need to appreciate this icon a little more,” Thomas wrote on X/Twitter. “There are no more like him.”

More About “Piano Man”

The 74-year-old legend has said “Piano Man” was inspired by real-life events. He really did play at a piano bar while living in Los Angeles in the early ’70s.

“I wanted to be a recording artist … and here I was in this bar in Los Angeles playing for a drinking crowd. …” Joel said in an interview last year. “It was kind of an odd situation for me, but I recognized that there was something that was so unique about it, I might be able to write a song about this. I might be able to capture this moment.”

Joel probably could have guessed CBS would incur his fans’ wrath. The “You May Be Right” singer didn’t hesitate during an interview with Billboard when asked what song he had to play at every show.

“Duh. It’s ‘Piano Man,'” Joel said. “You can’t do a show without doing that song.”

Featured image by Jason Kempin/Getty Images

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