Billy Joel Wants To 'Turn The Lights Back On' In First New Song In Decades

By Taylor Fields

February 1, 2024

Photo: Myrna Suarez

Billy Joel may have seen the lights go out on Broadway, but the rock legend is ready to "Turn the Lights Back On" in his new single — his first new song in decades.

"Turn The Lights Back On" embodies the Piano Man's signature sound as he tickles the ivories while singing lyrics, "Time can make you blind/ But I see you now/ As we're layin' in the darkness/ Did I wait too long/ To turn the lights back on." The song was was produced by GRAMMY-nominated songwriter and producer Freddy Wexler and, written by Wexler, Arthur Bacon, Wayne Hector, and Joel.

The story behind "Turn The Lights Back On" is an interesting one, as Wexler, a huge Billy Joel fan, was set up to meet the legend for what was supposed to be a ten-minute lunch by a mutual connection, Billy's family doctor (ultimately facilitated by Wexler's wife). The meeting took place at a restaurant in Sag Harbor, Long Island across the street from Joel's home, and Freddy, who has written and produced songs for artists including Justin Bieber and The Jonas Brothers, quickly impressed Billy.

In an interview with iHeartRadio's Jim Kerr, Joel explained of the meeting, "I'm thinking, yeah, we're just going to shoot the breeze and that'll be the end of that. And we ended up getting into some deep stuff just right off the bat. We hit it off and I realized this guy knows what he's talking about. I mean, he wasn't just like, 'I'm a fan and that's the end of that.' He knew music, he knew songwriting, he knew production. He knew the things that you need to know to do the craft, and he was a student of it. And you start respecting somebody right away when you realize they know what they're talking about."

From there, Freddy and Billy became fast friends and over the next year, and Wexler began working with Billy to finish some of his unfinished songs. During that process, Wexler shared the idea for "Turn the Lights Back On" with Joel, and he approved. As Billy explained in an interview with iHeartRadio's Elvis Duran, "I heard it and I went, 'That's not bad. That's a pretty good song. That's possibly something I could have written or I would've liked to have finished.' And he played me this thing. And then he [said], 'So why don't you come down to our studio and sing it?"

Billy Joel is set to perform "Turn the Lights Back On" for the first time during this year's Grammy Awards, on Sunday, February 4th.

Billy Joel
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