Billy Joel

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On promo: No
Performed: Yes

Date: April 2 (Sunday)
(source: Larry Russell)







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An unknown artist called Billy Joel had made his first album in 1971. His band was one of those which was contacted to play at the festival due to the cancellation by some bands that were in the promotion due to the legal problems the festival promoter was having with the Puerto Rican government.

Something most people don’t know is that Mar Y Solwas the first big step for Billy’s future success:

“Columbia records took notice of Billy Joel at the Mar Y Sol Pop Festival in Puerto Rico, which took place on April 1-3, 1972. Billy played in rainy conditions, and earned some major standing ovations from the crowd”.
– Barry, New York, NC


Billy Joel was one of the highlights of the festival. Listen to Larry Russell mention Mar y Sol in a radio interview (12-08-11).

That same year Billy was signed by Columbia Records and released ‘Piano Man‘ in 1973.


Billy Joel came back to Puerto Rico on February 11, 1999 to the Hiram Bithorn Stadium, were he clarified to the audience this was not his first visit.

A concert attendee shares his memories of that 1999 concert:

Talking with the audience between songs, he started saying that the media was saying, and a lot of people thought, that this was his first concert in Puerto Rico… but that it wasn’t true. He explained he had been here in the island previously for a festival called Mar y Sol, asking if anybody remembered that. A few screams and claps came from the crowd to what he replied “Oh, so you were there too!?!”. He said he was glad some people remembered despite the times [alcohol, drugs, etc]. He admitted that in those days him and his band were just simple amaterus, guys looking for an opening to go forward and get noticed. For which he was happy of having developed his career to get to where he is now thanking Puerto Rico for being some kind of “starting point”, maybe not recognized that much, which helped with the record company’s support from the 70s and after. – Benito Zarzuela, Puerto Rico



In the book: BILLY JOEL: The Life and Times of an Angry Young Man (by Hank Bordowitz) they cover the MAR Y SOL experience in detail from page 59. To read these pages online simply click on the link above or HERE.





Interview with former Billy Joel bassist Larry Russell






Memories of Susan Geiser