The last time Joel appeared on the Grammy stage was in 2002, where he performed “New York State of Mind” with Tony Bennett. Eight years before that, Joel, who was nominated for multiple awards, performed the title track to his then most recent album, River of Dreams. But with a twist.
Before Joel took the stage at the 36th annual ceremony in 1994, producers cut to commercial during Frank Sinatra’s Grammy Legend Award speech. Joel appeared to respond to the crooner’s words being cut just a few minutes later when he stopped his performance of “The River of Dreams” midsong. (You can view this incident below.)
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“Valuable advertising time going by, valuable advertising time going by. Dollars, dollars, dollars” he said, before picking the song right back up. (Joel did not end up taking home any Grammys that year.)
Watch Billy Joel Perform ‘River of Dreams’ at the 1994 Grammys
Later, Michael Greene, president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, would say that a Sinatra assistant was concerned that he “would have talked for about an hour” and asked CBS to make the cut.
Joel’s 2024 Performance
Joel is just one of several performers who will appear at this year’s Grammys, which will take place in Los Angeles and air live at 8 p.m. EST. Others include Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo, Dua Lipa and Travis Scott. Three days prior to Joel’s performance, he’ll release his first new song in nearly two decades, “Turn the Lights Back On.”