Billy Joel: 'Don't Kill Elephants to Make Piano Keys'

"Music should be a celebration of life - not an instrument of death," says the musician.

Ultimate Guitar

As a professional piano player for most of his adult life, Billy Joel understands the appeal of ivory more than most - but as he made clear with a recent public statement supporting a ban on illegal ivory sales in the state of New York, he also understands that using it often carries an unconscionably high price.

Joel offered his support for the measure, introduced by New York governor Andrew Cuomo, in an open letter posted at his website. "I am a piano player. And I realize that ivory piano keys are preferred by some pianists," reads the note in part. "But a preference for ivory keys does not justify the slaughter of 96 elephants every day. There are other materials which can be substituted for piano keys. But magnificent creatures like these can never be replaced. Music must never be used as an excuse to destroy an endangered species. Music should be a celebration of life - not an instrument of death."

A LongIsland.сom report on the bill quotes (via Ultimate Classic Rock) state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver as calling New York "a leading market in the world for illegal ivory sales" and adding, "Not only are we protecting elephants and rhinos from extinction but we are also cutting off the flow of cash to organized crime and terrorist organizations."

Cuomo concurred, vowing, "The illegal ivory trade has no place in New York State, and we will not stand for individuals who violate the law by supporting it. This bill expands restrictions on the sale of ivory materials and toughens penalties against those who sell them, helping to curtail the rise of a dangerous and cruel industry that is endangering animals around the world."

21 comments sorted by best / new / date

    China has an appetite for everything that causes extinction.
    There wasn't even a single word that could possibly be related to China in this article. As a matter of fact, how their use of lead on most stuff they produce could contribute to the extinction of elephants is beyond me...
    It's not that, it's that China has a large black market for "medicine" where semi folklore-traditional pills, powders, and liquids are sold, most controversially (and sadly popular) medicine containing fx. crushed rhino or elephant horn. China is completely ****ed when it comes to respect for animals, let alone nature.
    I live in China. Your statement was maybe true about 10 years ago.
    A valid point which I didn't think about, good call! As far as I know however, it's their emmigrants that do it more often, since China has a very strict regulation policy regarding most things foreign. I could be wrong, mind you. China, like most super-industrialized countries, cares little for animals and nature, I just found Bollockser's comment off-topic considering what's written in the article.
    "Music should be a celebration of life - not an instrument of death." Fucking top notch quote.
    I agree entirely. Use phucking man-made materials for making shit ... or parts of the men who killed the elephants. Wankers. \m/
    although playing on the remains of a dead beast is alluring, i think i'd rather they be made of human bones instead. how much do you think a bieber piano would cost someone?
    we neva start the fiyaa!!! gr8 song, better than just in biiber
    Just go find something better to do, this is incredibly irritating seeing that picture on every single comment section you must not have anything better to do. You need serious mental maturing.
    Why should I worry? Why should I care?
    Why should you comment? Why should your question matter?
    Well, a7xrocker, I'm assuming you're a ****ing idiot who doesn't get the joke, so I will break it down for someone as dim as yourself. My comment was a reference from a Billy Joel song. Now, I understand that you only listen to shitty rip off metal that's designed to persuade you that wearing eyeliner is "edgy", so I'll let this one slide. Now please, before you comment anything else on this website, I suggest you like a tree and **** off. Maybe get a part time job at McDonald's? Maybe make a few friends? I don't give A FUCK!!!!! what you do. But please, don't you EVER ****ing speak to me like that again, you mother****er!