A Billy Joel biopic is in production, but it doesn't have the rights to music

A Billy Joel biopic is in production, but it doesn’t have the rights to music or likeness

A Billy Joel biopic is in production, but it will not feature any Billy Joel music, instead will focus on the artist’s early years.

Making a biopic about a musician without the rights to their music, likeness, or even name means you’ve got your work cut out for you, and it’s no different for the upcoming Billy Joel film currently in production.

Tentatively named, Piano Man, the production comes from Michael Jai White’s Jaigantic Studios with Adam Ripp to write and direct.

Credit: Artie Ripp

“As a lifelong fan of Billy Joel, I am elated to be part of the team to produce his biopic. Billy Joel is the key figure on the Mount Rushmore of American Music,” White said.

The biopic will explore Joel’s life around the time he was discovered by Irwin Mazur, who managed the band The Hassles – the band Joel performed in as a teenager, as well as a seminal performance in 1972, prior to his breakout hit, Piano Man, released in 1973.

Billy Joel’s representative stated that no permissions have been given on the project, but Jaigantic has acquired the life rights to Mazur, Joel’s manager between 1970 to 1972. Mazur owned the Long Island club where Joel cut his teeth with The Hassles in 1966.

Jaigantic stated that the music requirements for the film are “yet to be determined”.

The films’ director, Adam Ripp, is the son of Artie Ripp who signed a 22-year-old Joel to a slavish 10-album deal and released his first album, Cold Spring Harbour.

In a statement, Adam Ripp said, “Billy Joel has been a part of my life since my father signed him to his record label when I was 4 years old; his music is ingrained in my DNA, and it’s been a dream of mine as a filmmaker to explore and celebrate the untold story how Billy Joel became the Piano Man.”

Mazur commented: “What a dream come true! These are the real-life events I witnessed first-hand that shaped Billy from a keyboard player in the local Long Island band, The Hassles, into the iconic musician, singer-songwriter, and entertainer who thrills audiences around the world, today.”

Well, maybe an unofficial biopic can be great? Fingers crossed this biopic hits the sweet spot.