Billy Joel gives the commencement speech at his Long Island alma mater: Watch

Fifty years ago, Billy Joel was supposed to graduate from Hicksville High School in his Long Island hometown of Hicksville, NY. But after a late-night performance at a piano bar, he overslept and missed a crucial English exam, leaving him one credit short of graduating.

Twenty-five years and one successful career in music later, he submitted some of his work to the school board to meet the missing academic requirements and was finally awarded his diploma, walking at the commencement ceremony with Hicksville High's graduating class of '92.

And today, another 25 years later, Joel once again returned to his alma mater to deliver the commencement speech, advising the 400 graduating seniors to hold onto their 18-year-old idealism to guide them later in life. "And pick a job that you like, because if you pick a job that you hate, your life's gonna suck," he joked.

Watch his address below.

This article originally appeared in Stereogum.

See photos of Billy Joel:
Billy Joel's Career
See Gallery
Billy Joel's Career
SUNRISE, FL - JANUARY 11: Billy Joel performs at BB&T Center on January 11, 2014 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Vallery Jean/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 31: Billy Joel performs onstage during his New Year's Eve Concert at the Barclays Center of Brooklyn on December 31, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
ILLINOIS, UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 16: Singer/songwriter Billy Joel greeting old friend Pat Schwarzentraub & girl named Julie from Peoria, IL backstage at the Rosemont Horizon Theater. (Photo by John Zich/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Billy Joel performs on stage, Philadelphia, 1978. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
Billy Joel sits in the auditorium seating during a soundcheck, playing accordion, Philadelphia, 1978. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
Billy Joel, portrait, at home in front of gold discs, New York, January 1978. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
Billy Joel performs on stage, USA, 1977. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
American singer-songwriter Billy Joel in concert in Wembley Arena, June 1984. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Billy Joel 1980 (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)
Billy Joel 1980 (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)
Billy Joel, portrait, USA, 1987. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
Billy Joel 1980 (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)
Pianist, singer and songwriter Billy Joel. (Photo by Terry O'Neill/Getty Images)
Joel, Billy - 14 - A Matter Of Trust - NL - 1986
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Photo of Billy JOEL (Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)
NEW YORK - 1970: Singer Billy Joel and drummer Jon Small of the rock band 'Attila' pose for a portrait in 1970. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: (AUSTRALIA OUT) Photo of Billy JOEL; Screaming in to a microphone (Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns)
Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL to get the hottest pop culture news delivered straight to your inbox!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.