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Billy Joel’s mother, inspiration for song, dies

HICKSVILLE, N.Y. (AP) — The mother of singer-songwriter Billy Joel, who inspired him to write “Rosalinda’s Eyes,” has died in New York at the age of 92.

An undated photo of Rosalind Nyman Joel
An undated photo of Rosalind Nyman Joel (AP Photo/billyjoel.com)

Rosalind Nyman Joel died Sunday on Long Island, said Claire Mercuri, a spokeswoman for the award-winning singer.

“Rosalinda’s Eyes” from Joel’s 1978 album “52nd Street” was a tribute to his mother, who raised him alone after divorcing his father, Howard Joel, in 1957.

The lyrics include the words: “I’ve got music in my hands; The work is hard to find; But that don’t get me down; Rosalinda understands.”

Rosalind Joel worked in a clerical capacity for various businesses near her home in Hicksville, Long Island, and supported a number of charities.

Born in Brooklyn to English emigrants, she met her husband in 1942 at a City College musical production and married him three years later. Their son, Billy, was born in 1949. The couple later adopted Judy, the daughter of Rosalind’s late sister Muriel.

Billy Joel endowed the Rosalind Joel Scholarship for the Performing Arts at City College in 1986.

In lieu of flowers, the family requested that donations be made to The Little Shelter animal rescue and adoption center in Huntington, Long Island.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed)

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