Elton John: Billy Joel is an alcoholic, and he needs rehab


At some point, Elton John became the den-mother to all of the broken, drunken, and drugged-out musicians in the world. Elton famously battled his own addictions, and now he steps in and speaks out when he thinks he sees another celebrity who is going down the path of addiction. Eminem memorably gave Elton credit when Em spoke about his own rehab and recovery – Em and Elton are tight now, and Elton was one of the people who encouraged Em to get clean. And now Elton is stepping up for another friend – Billy Joel. Billy and Elton have done tours together, and I believe that they are close friends in real life. Now, Billy Joel has, like, a million DUIs and various incidents of drunken shenanigans. It’s been going on for years, and now Elton is stepping up – in a new Rolling Stone interview – to say that Billy needs rehab, and he needs to take it seriously.

Elton John says Billy Joel needs to get serious about rehab and “do something better” with his life. John makes the comments about his former touring partner in the Feb. 17 edition of Rolling Stone magazine. He tells the magazine the pair canceled many tours because of Joel’s illnesses and “alcoholism.”

He also says Joel should do rehab like he did it – with patients cleaning floors, not watching television.

John says he knows Joel is going to “hate” him for this. But he says Joel needs tough love.

Joel spent a month in a California rehab center for treatment of alcohol abuse in 2005. He spent about two weeks at a Connecticut facility in 2002.

A representative for Joel hasn’t returned an Associated Press e-mail request for comment on John’s remarks.

[From The Huffington Post]

Billy Joel is 61 years old… which is younger than I was expecting. I really thought he was in his late 60s or early 70s! That’s what alcoholism does to you, children. It ages you like a mofo. Anyway, my point about Billy being 61 years old: perhaps he thinks he’s just too old to start a new, sober life? Perhaps he just wants to go out in an alcoholic blaze of glory? I’m not making excuses, I’m just saying that it might have been more interesting if Elton had stepped up years ago.




Photos courtesy of WENN.

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30 Responses to “Elton John: Billy Joel is an alcoholic, and he needs rehab”

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  1. renai(jrt) says:

    good for Elton…….honesty is always the best

  2. eja102 says:


    didn’t Elton say the same basic things about George Michael as well?

    Maybe Elton talks too much.

  3. Tess says:

    Kaiser, you’re a master when it comes to pushing the narrative with pictures.

    All I can see here is a rather wasted looking Elton compared with a somewhat natty-looking Joel.

    Anyhoo…Elton ought keep his pie-hole shut. This is going too far.

  4. devilgirl says:

    If Elton is so damned concerned, perhaps this would have been better said in private.

    I get tired of these reformed, sanctimonious celebrities outing people for this and that. Addiction is different for everyone, and what might work for some people, does not work for others. While John may think outing him might be a great form of tough love, it might very well send Joel over the edge. Public humiliation doesn’t necessarily work on everyone, nor is it anyone’s business, other than Joel’s, on how he leads his life.

    Sheen being exposed for his addictions has done little to curb his problem.

    I think it is extremely nasty of John to have said this.

  5. WhiteNoise says:

    I’m sure Mother Elton’s intentions are good but I wonder did he talk to Billy privately about this before deciding it was his business to publicly tell him he needs to clean up?

  6. photo jojo says:

    If Elton & Billy Joel were so tight, would Elton be talking about it to Rolling Stone? Elton sober kind of drives me a little nuts; he’s so sanctimonious.

  7. renai(jrt) says:

    Billy Joel could never sing another song and still be one of the best musicians ever to grace the planet!!!that being said, Elton just wants to see the guy live and not die of overdose…..that’s all it is

  8. poppy says:

    elton cracks me up.
    busy body much?

  9. original kate says:

    i wonder if william joel’s good friend goopy will help him with some cleanses and shopping therapy.

  10. guesty says:

    loved his music from back in the day…but outing your friend’s addiction is all kinds of wrong.

  11. JaisyMaisy says:

    I had tickets to their concert when they were supposed to come to Little Rock…then they cancelled. So disappointed. I love them both.

  12. Feebee says:

    @ guesty, I don’t think Elton’s outing Billy Joel, that would suggest we didn’t previously know he had a problem.

    I love Elton but the “born again”/reformed anythings are really the worst. He did say the same sort of thing about George Michael who came out laughing saying Elton (and Bono) keep trying to save me.

    Billy may have a bit of a problem but until he wants to fix it Elton blabbing to Rolling Stone may just be another stressor than hurts rather than helps. And I love Billy Joel too, their joint concerts are brilliant brilliant brilliant.

  13. Lynda says:

    I think Elton is annoyed that Billy didn’t send a baby gift.

  14. lee says:

    remember when his daughter alexis overdosed (attempted suicide or cry for help?) addiction runs in families and i hope for both billy’s sake and for the sake of his daughter that he gets clean/sober. i wonder if some smarty pants could do a statistical analysis and figure out if addiction has a higher incidence in the “famous people population” because it seems like everyone and their fame-whoring mother is an addict or went to rehab for “issues”

    new trend, hollywood spin machine catching on to how much the public likes a phoenix rising story, or just those famous peeps be f**ked up?

  15. Jacq says:

    “Before you can cross the bridge, you must answer me these questions three….” Oh, wait, that was a wizard, not a troll.

  16. Lee says:

    Aaah, I love the den-mother angle. It makes Elton even more lovable, since he seems so big-hearted and caring. I’m sure he just wants to keep his friends alive, and if he has to be a busy-body to do so, well so be it. He may not be successful, but kudos for trying.

  17. bluhare says:

    I used to love Elton John; he was great. Now I think he needs to tone it down and live his own life instead of making judgments about everybody. If he’s so concerned about Billy Joel, he should have talked to him privately, and if his advice wasn’t taken, he should have shut up. Outing him publicly is only going to push Billy Joel back further if he isn’t ready to deal with his issues.

  18. Sumodo1 says:

    Did you ever see the movie David Furnish did about his “husband?” (Poor, poor David!) Elton John is a know-it-all, gossipy witch who tells tales about EVERYBODY. He needs a muzzle!

  19. KCT says:

    I think Billy never got over losing Christie. It’s sad. It seems they both would have done better personally had they stayed together. I just love him and his music and hope he gets the help he needs.

  20. Kim says:

    Sad. He has had a drinking problem for years and has done a few stints in rehab. He needs a really strict rehab program for at least a yr.

    Although I get that his intentions are good, Elton shouldnt be publicly talking about his friends addiction.

  21. JustBe says:

    I have mixed feelings about this one. It seems as if something terrible were to happen to Joel, the reaction would be, why didn’t his friends/family try to help him. What can you do if someone is wealthy/famous and won’t heed private pleas to get help? Maybe you take it one step further and publicize the issue. Perhaps Joel’s fans reaching out to him specifically about his addiction would be another push to get him to seek out treatment. At this point in his life, he’s probably alienated a lot of the people that really care about him. If you were a friend, what would you do if he didn’t listen to private requests to get help, watch him destroy himself?

  22. kiki says:

    I wonder if Billy Joel’s recent double hip replacement was related to his drinking. Some diseases of the hip are caused by alcoholism.

  23. renai(jrt) says:

    The way you know Billy’s talent, is that you can put on a record that he recorded 30 years ago and lyrically its still relevant to today. He doesnt ramble on about nothing…….and his melodies are his own. He is an all around good musician. Elton knows this and I agree that blabbing might add stresses to Billy Joel but Im sure Elton just wanted to expose the truth for Billy to look at.

  24. Chris says:

    ” Anyway, my point about Billy being 61 years old: perhaps he thinks he’s just too old to start a new, sober life?”

    Nah. That’s like saying someone is too old to be happy.

  25. Louise says:

    I don’t think Billy looks bad for his age. He looks fine. I did think he was older just because he’s been around forever. Good intentions or not I think it’s wrong to discuss somebody’s personal life in public.

  26. Athena says:

    Sometime people need to be publicly called out for things in order to change and who’s to say Elton didn’t try to help years ago? Maybe this is a last ditch effort?

  27. Sassy says:

    I saw them in concert around 15 years ago. Always loved Elton and his piano expertise. What blew me away was that Billy Joel was much more talented than Elton. It was a wonderful evening.

    Very tasteless of Elton to make the rehab remark. Friends don’t do this to friends.

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