I am a lifelong fan of Billy Joel, an American singer-songwriter and composer of classical music. His English counterpart is, of course, Elton John! I have enjoyed his music, too. If Billy’s signature song is "Piano Man," Elton’s would be "Your Song." What do you think? They have some similarities and differences.
Elton is two years older than Billy. They were two of the most successful pop and rock musicians throughout 70’s and 80’s. After that, they continued their music activities and had a few sporadic hits. You’ll frequently hear their music as BGM and commercial songs. Currently Billy’s "Uptown Girl" is used in the Kirin beer advertisement. In Face-to-Face concert, they have made tours together around the world.
They are both pianists. They started playing piano at the age of four. Probably due to classical music training, they are especially blessed with melodic skills. Billy’s trademark is rapid-fire piano playing exemplified in "Angry Young Man," "Running on Ice," and so on. I feel Elton’s touch of piano is, in general, lighter and sounds bouncing.
Billy wrote both lyrics and tunes, while Elton wrote only the tunes: his lyricist is Bernie Taupin and they have been working together since 1967 as a hit-making duo. Billy is a good storyteller, and Elton makes a perfect melody for Taupin’s poetically beautiful lyrics.
Each performer has his own style of performance, and both are powerful. Billy is famous for his movement and Elton for his flamboyance. Elton has more charisma, I think.
Both of them have worked hard for charity. Billy has worked hard on preservation of what is left of the old Long Island where he is from. His anger over the random development of the place is shown in "No Man’s Land," and "The Downeaster Alexa" is dedicated to the commercial fishermen of Long Island. Elton is noted for Elton John Aids Foundation.
They both had hard times, especially Elton battled various addictions and public scandals mainly because of his homosexuality. He persevered as expressed in his song "I’m still Standing." Billy suffered legal and financial problems in his early years and has paid the price of celebrity in heated gossip.
I’ve learned English from their music. I think it’s one of the most enjoyable ways to learn a language. I’ve picked up many useful English expressions from their songs, some of which have a really nice ring. I’m glad that Billy Joel and Elton John are good rivals, friends, and fans of each other’s music.