Billy Joel explains why he wouldn’t ask Paul McCartney to be in his supergroup, but says he would call Sting, Don Henley and John Mayer

With a new single to promote, Billy Joel is back on the publicity treadmill, paying a visit to Howard Stern’s SiriusXM show earlier this week. And when Stern suggested that it would have been great if George Harrison or Tom Petty had called and asked him to be in the Traveling Wilburys, Joel revealed that he’d once considered putting together his own supergroup.

Discussing its potential members, Joel said: “I thought about putting together a band: me, Don Henley, and Sting, and maybe John Mayer on guitar.”

With Stern encouraging him to make it happen, Joel replied: “Well, everybody’s busy … You always say to the other guys, ‘Yeah, I’ll see you on the road and we’ll get together’ and you never do it.”

Joel did say that he talks to a lot of musicians, though, including Sting and Paul McCartney. Stern then had a brainwave - why not ask the ex-Beatle to be in the fantasy band?

“He was in the super-est group of all-time,” Joel pointed out. “I don’t have the nerve to do that. I can’t.”

Billy Joel Howard Stern

(Image credit: Getty Images/SiriusXM)

With Stern offering to put a good word in for Joel with McCartney, it might still happen, and when the presenter asked who he’d like as his drummer, Joel went all in and plumped for the other surviving member of the Fab Four.

“Ringo [Starr] would be good,” he pondered. “Ringo is a great drummer. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He was phenomenal … He didn’t get in the way of the great writing and the novel productions that they did - he played the right thing, which sometimes is the hardest thing to do.”

On to the guitarist, and Joel explained that he would have called Jeff Beck, who sadly died in 2023, but would also consider Jimmy Page. “He’s a great musician,” Joel opined, before proceeding to play the intro to Kashmir on the grand piano that he was seated at.

Other revelations from Stern’s interview with Joel include confirmation that the star would only consider selling his music catalogue if there was a billion dollar offer on the table, and that, when he was standing next to Cyndi Lauper during the recording of We Are The World, she whispered to him that “this song sounds like a Pepsi commercial”.

There’s also the story of how Joel once pretended to be a roadie in order to “bullshit his way in” to a Jimi Hendrix gig, which we’ll leave you to watch below.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.