The Piano Man talks about the tune he wrote for Katie Lee Joel – and gives PEOPLE a first listen


In 2005, Billy Joel, 57, wrote a ballad for his wife Katie Lee Joel, 25, to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. Now, he’s releasing that song, “All My Life,” as a single – and PEOPLE has the exclusive first listen. (Click here to hear the song.) In honor of the occasion, the Piano Man spoke to PEOPLE about the makings of a great love song.

Tell us a little about the song.
It’s not a typical “Billy Joel song.” I thought it would be great for Tony Bennett. I hope he does it, anyway. I recorded it with a full orchestra – a real old-fashioned session just like they did in the ’50s. And I dressed like Frank Sinatra. I took on a whole other persona.

Why try a different kind of music?
I was always a little wary of being termed a balladeer. [But] at this point in my life, I don’t care. I don’t think a love song is substantial if it’s all candy. There’s a good deal of regret in this song. I have regrets in my life. Anyone who says they don’t have regrets hasn’t really lived.

Are you a fan of Valentine’s Day?
It depends. When you’re in love, it’s great. When things aren’t going well, it’s a bah humbug day.

Joel also shared his five favorite love songs:
1) “Whole Lotta Love,” Led Zeppelin: “It’s a slamming hot love song.”
2) “One for the Road,” Frank Sinatra: “Even when I was a kid and heard that song, I got it.”
3) “Symphony No. 6,” Beethoven: “You can hear that he was passionately in love when he wrote that.”
4) “In My Life,” the Beatles: “I don’t know why. It’s like being in love. You don’t know why. You just are.”
5) “Lay, Lady, Lay,” Bob Dylan: “It’s very languorous and he is such a great songwriter.”

Listen to Billy Joel’s new song here.