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Billy Joel

How Did The Office Convince Billy Joel to Do Rock Band?

The Office is a mockumentary comedy series that aired on NBC from March 24, 2005, to May 16, 2013. It is a widely loved series with millions of fans worldwide. But did you know that one of its episodes in the series influenced Billy Joel to contribute to the Rock Band video game?

In an episode of The Office, Michael Scott references playing Rock Band: Billy Joel. However, a reviewer for Entertainment Weekly said the game didn’t exist and hoped it never would, and after Billy Joel read the review, He licensed a dozen songs to Rock Band 3.

Who is Billy Joel?

Billy Joel was born May 9, 1949, in Bronx, New York. He is an American pop ballad singer, pianist, and songwriter who became a concert favorite in the 1970s and 1980s due to his numerous successful compositions.

Joel has received a number of awards. In 1999, he was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2013 he was named a Kennedy Center honoree, and the following year he received the Library of Congress’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. (Source: Britannica)

Some of Joel’s popular songs are It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me, The Longest Time, This Night, Movin’ Out , Goodnight Saigon, New York State of Mind, Only the Good Die Young, Scenes from an Italian Restaurant, My Life, A Matter of Trust, She’s Always a Woman, We Didn’t Start the Fire, Uptown Girl, Just the Way You Are and Piano Man. (Source: Smooth Radio)

Why Did Billy Joel Ask to be Part of Rock Band 3?

Joel had previously refused to have his music included in a videogame after Harmonix the Creator of Rock approached him.

I’ve never authorized my music to be utilized in a game before.

Billy Joel, in an interview with USA Today

But that was before he saw an Entertainment Weekly review of an episode of NBC’s The Office. The author of the recap chuckled when the episode from May suggested a then-fictional game of Rock Band: Billy Joel.

The critic wrote something along the lines of, ‘God forbid that ever happens. So I called my guys and said, ‘Get me on that Rock Band game.’ Then I wrote the reviewer and said I’d give him a little nod every time I got a check.

Billy Joel, in an interview with USA Today

Joel’s music has previously appeared in video games, although it was always performed by a cover artist. His inclusion in the upcoming Rock Band 3 DLC marks the first time that original master recordings have been granted permission to be used in a game.

The following songs have been licensed for the game: Big Shot, Captain Jack ,It’s Still Rock N Roll to Me ,Movin’ Out ,Only the Good Die Young,Piano Man ,Pressure ,Say Goodbye to Hollywood ,The Entertainer and The Stranger. (Source: Games Radar)

The Rock Band Video Game

Up to four players can perform together in Rock Band, using a microphone for singing and three additional devices to imitate a lead guitar, bass guitar, and drums. 

Players aim to match their button and action inputs with those presented on-screen using the game’s musical instrument controls, replicating popular songs’ performances. The accuracy of each player is measured and factored into the total score. (Source: Britannica)

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