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Billy Joel cancels planned June 14 memoir

Tom Beer and Glenn Gamboa
Newsday (MCT)

NEW YORK — Billy Joel has canceled his planned memoir, just 11 weeks before its scheduled release.

"It took working on writing a book to make me realize that I'm not all that interested in talking about the past, and that the best expression of my life and its ups and downs has been and remains my music," Joel said in a statement.

However, a source close to Joel told Newsday that the media response to the announcement and all the interest in the more salacious aspects of his life — his high-profile divorces from Christie Brinkley and Katie Lee, his stint in rehab and his battles with substance abuse — worried him and he did not complete the book. "That did not represent the content or intent of the book," the source said.

"The Book of Joel" was due to come out on June 14 from HarperCollins. The memoir, written with veteran music journalist Fred Schruers, was billed as an "emotional ride," detailing his struggles as well as his writing of such hits as "Piano Man" and "Just the Way You Are."

HarperCollins spokeswoman Tina Andreadis said the manuscript had not been "finished, approved or signed off on." The publisher had planned a first printing of 250,000 copies and Joel was "widely believed" to have received a seven-figure advance, according to The Associated Press.

Reached through his spokeswoman, Joel — who recently completed physical therapy in Florida following hip-replacement surgery, and is home in Sag Harbor, N.Y. — declined to comment.

Although Thursday's announcement came as a surprise, Joel told Newsday numerous times that he was uncomfortable with the writing process. "I don't want to do a book where it's just 'I, I, I,' " Joel said in 2009, near the start of the project.

Joel ran into a similar problem when he was approached about a documentary on the final concerts at Shea Stadium in 2008. Though the filmmakers wanted to make him the focal point, he said he only agreed to cooperate if the project also included the history of the area, the stadium and the Mets.

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