- Associated Press - Thursday, March 31, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - The Piano Man is deciding to stay silent: Billy Joel is cancelling his planned memoir.

“The Book of Joel” was scheduled for publication in June. The HarperCollins book was billed as an “emotional ride” that would detail the music legend’s failed marriages, including his union with Christie Brinkley, as well as his battles with substance abuse.

Earlier this month, HarperCollins revealed the cover photograph for the book, and Joel’s editor promised it would contain details “he has never revealed before.”

But in a statement to The Associated Press on Thursday, Joel said he had changed his mind.

“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,” he said.

HarperCollins confirmed Thursday that the deal had been cancelled. Spokeswoman Tina Andreadis said that the book was well into the editing process, but that Joel had not approved or finalized the text and that no copies had been printed. The publisher had planned a first printing of 250,000 copies.

Joel isn’t the first musician to cancel a book. Mick Jagger backed out of a deal in the early 1980s, saying he couldn’t remember anything of interest. Sean “P. Diddy” Combs never turned in a memoir that he was supposed to write for Random House Inc. and ended up being sued in 2005 for money the publisher claimed he owed.

The 61-year-old Joel is considered one of music’s all-time greats: He’s a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who has sold millions with hits including “Uptown Girl,” “New York State of Mind” and “Just the Way You Are,” and his deal was widely believed to be worth seven figures.

Other rock stars have had major success with their memoirs, including Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and, more recently, Keith Richards.

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AP National Writer Hillel Italie contributed to this report.

Distributed by the Associated Press