Billy Joel is keeping his life story to himself.
Three years after inking a $3 million deal with HarperCollins to release a memoir, The Book of Joel, this June, the Piano Man has called the whole thing off and plans to return the advance he already received for his efforts.
Sure, sometimes a celeb has second thoughts after realizing what a daunting task it is to write a book. But the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's book was already done, so why the about-face?
"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," Joel said in a statement Thursday.
Which, of course, leads us to wonder what exactly about the past—the three marriages, the substance-abuse issues, the money troubles, his daughter's recent struggles, Elton John's very public remarks about his friend's condition?—prompted the six-time Grammy winner to stop the first printing (a reported 250,000 copies) in its tracks.
Or perhaps Joel simply just didn't like how he came off after the memoir was edited into the "emotional ride" promised by his publisher in publicity materials.
So instead of joining Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Patti Smith and Keith Richards in the annals of musicians who can rock a page as hard as they do a stage, Joel is keeping company with Mick Jagger. The Rolling Stones frontman pulled out of a book deal in the 1980s and said last year after Richards' Life made a splash that he found it "really quite tedious raking over the past."