Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
(800) 937-3880

Lot #3246
Billy Joel's Stage-Used C. Bechstein Model M Grand Piano

Joel’s personally-owned grand piano from the height of his career—as seen in his 1978 BBC concert

This lot has closed

Estimate: $40000+
Own a Similar Item?


Joel’s personally-owned grand piano from the height of his career—as seen in his 1978 BBC concert

Billy Joel's personally-owned and -used 1908 C. Bechstein Model M Grand Piano, serial number 88837, which he toured with and recorded on during the mid-1970s to mid-1980s. Most notably, he played this piano during a BBC concert and is said to have used it to record the song 'New York State of Mind.' The piano was professionally restored by Larkfield Pianos in 1992. Originally purchased from Frank Weber, Joel's brother-in-law and manager during this period, and accompanied by documentation of ownership. While this model was not officially offered until 1920, the manufacturer has confirmed that earlier variations are not uncommon, due to experimentation in design during the early part of the century. Note: Winning bidder is responsible for cost of shipping piano from origin to destination. Please call RR Auction for more details.

Rock stars of Joel's caliber often choose to play Bechsteins not only because their sound compliments the human voice, but because of the piano's rich history—analogous to a guitarist's preference for Fender or Gibson. Bechstein is one of the most renowned piano makers in the world, and has been since it was established in 1853—Franz Liszt was one of its earliest customers, and others fond of the manufacturer included the likes of Queen Victoria and Wilhelm Furtwangler. The great modern composer Claude Debussy once proclaimed: 'Piano music should only be written for the Bechstein.' In more recent times, the piano has crafted a niche in rock music—the Beatles used a Bechstein on 'Hey Jude,' Queen used one on A Night at the Opera, and it has been known as one of Bob Dylan's preferred pianos since the 1960s. Continuing the Bechstein legacy, Joel utilized this piano as a main tool while revolutionizing and popularizing the 'piano rock' genre. In addition to the direct provenance from his one-time manager, Joel can be seen playing this exact piano during his Live at the BBC concert of March 14, 1978, during a set that consisted of some of his most famous songs—including 'Movin' Out,' 'She's Always A Woman,' and 'Only the Good Die Young.' A truly unique and one-of-a-kind piece of music history.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Marvels of Modern Music
  • Dates: #667 - Ended June 22, 2023