Madison Square Garden taps Billy Joel as first music 'franchise'

Madison Square Garden taps Billy Joel as first music 'franchise'
Billy Joel performs at the Paramount in Huntington, N.Y. (Donald Traill / Invision / Associated Press)

Billy Joel is definitely still rock 'n' roll to the Madison Square Garden Co. -- so much so that the New York live entertainment venue is having him perform a show a month as long as he keeps selling tickets.

That makes the singer-songwriter Madison Square Garden's first music "franchise," a designation previously  shared only by sports teams. By making the Garden his home base, Joel joins the Knicks (NBA), Rangers (NHL) and Liberty (WNBA). 

The deal is off to a good start: The first four shows, starting in January, which were previously announced, are sold out. Becoming a franchise doesn't mean Joel will be required to return every month -- he can still go on tour. However, it does deepen the relationship between Joel and the Garden.

The Garden was already a key venue for Joel, who first played there in 1978 and has done so 46 times, including 12-straight sold-out performances in 2006, earning him a banner raised in his honor.

"This new partnership will ensure that someone who has been such an important figure in our past will also be a major part of our future," said James L. Dolan, the executive chairman of the Madison Square Garden Co.

The just-announced show on May 9, the tunesmith's 65th birthday, goes on sale Dec. 7, after a presale for Citi card members. Tickets cost $64.50 to $124.50.

Joel, who has sold 150 million records, is the sixth bestselling recording artist ever and will receive a Kennedy Center honor this month.


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