The romantic ballad doubles as a message to fans that have waited all these years for new material
Billy Joel‘s new single “Turn the Lights Back On,” his first original song in 17 years, has been released. Produced by Freddy Wexler, who has worked with everyone from Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez to Celine Dion and Kanye West, the song is a tender love ballad that doubles as a message to fans that have waited all these years for new material. It was written by Joel, Wexler, British songwriter Wayne Hector, and Arthur Bacon.
“I’m late,” Joel sings. “But I’m here right now/And I’m trying to find the magic/That we lost somehow/Maybe I was blind/But I see you now/As we’re laying here in the darkness/Did I wait too long to turn the lights back on?”
Joel’s last shared new music back in 2007 when he released the love song “All My Life” as a Valentine’s Day gift to his then-wife Katie Lee, and the protest tune “Christmas in Fallujah.” His last album was 1993’s River of Dreams. “I have a lot of music that no one’s ever heard and no one may ever hear if I don’t decide to do something with it,” Joel told Rolling Stone in 2019. “It’s really about the creative process that’s important to me, not about having records on the charts or selling a lot of recordings. I’m learning all the time, and you never stop learning. That’s what’s good about the writing process. You always learn something new whenever you create.”
In that same interview, he refused to rule out the possibility of releasing new music in the future. “I’m never going to say never,” he said. “I may come up with an idea that could become a song. I may write a movie soundtrack. I may write a symphony. I don’t know. Anything’s possible.”
Joel is going to debut the song live at the Grammy’s on Sunday night. He’ll spend the rest of the year headlining baseball stadiums across country. Stevie Nicks, Sting, and Rod Stewart are serving as opening acts at various stops. He’s also wrapping up his decade-long Madison Square Residency on July 25.