Crystal Taliefero : The Secret Weapon

Crystal Talieferois



Crystal Taliefero was born in 1963 in Bourne, MA.  She is an American multi-instrumentalist and vocalist and is perhaps best known for her work as the percussionist in the Billy Joel Band. She has been a touring and recording member of the group since 1989.  Crystal had quite the talent early on and knew music was her calling. It was at the age of 11 years old when started performing at local R&B clubs in the Midwest. Playing with the singing group Black Mist. Additionally, Crystal was a top athlete at William A. Wirt High School from which she graduated in 1981. She then went on to study music at Indiana University where she was also a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

Percussion Setup

The College Years

A few years later, in 1986 John Mellencamp discovered Crystal performing locally and he knew she had something special. He convinced her to leave college that year and join his touring band.  Playing with Mellencamp, Crystal learned a valuable lesson; being on time. When she first started with John she was docked one week pay for being late. She played with Mellencamp for three years and was subsequently invited to join the Billy Joel Band in 1989.  Joel was putting together a new band to record and tour behind the album Storm Front. One thing is clear about Crystal, based on the caliber of musicians she is touring and recording with, you know she has a real gift.


Latin Percussion

Playing In The Band

Since joining the Billy Joel Band in ’89, Taliefero has not looked back. That being said she has performed with a wide array of artists throughout the years.  Some of the artists include Faith Hill, Garth Brooks, Joe Cocker, Tina Arena, Bob Seger, Brooks & Dunn, Richie Sambora, Elton John, Enrique Iglesias, Natalie Merchant, Meat Loaf, Michael McDonald, Bruce Springsteen and The Northern Pikes, Julian Lennon, The Bee Gees, Dolly Parton’s “Two Doors Down”, Steven Van Zandt, Mick Jones of Foreigner (credited on his solo album released in 1989) and Buddy Guy.

Secret WeaponPercussionist

In 2008, Rolling Stone magazine declared Taliefero the “Best Secret Weapon”. This is highly due to her many talents and ability to play such a wide arsenal of  Instruments. Taliefero’s percussion kit includes bongos, cabasas, chimes, congas, cowbell, güiros, hand percussion, jam block, shakers, tambourines, timbales, triangle, Djembe, and wood block. Crystal plays Latin Percussion drums and has been with since 1989. She says that LP is more like a family than an organization and she loves working with them. Finally, as if that all weren’t impressive enough, Taliefero plays acoustic guitar, saxophone, keys, and vocals.

Latin Percussion DrumsWrap Up

Crystal Taliefero is without a shred of doubt one of the most talented multi-instrumental musicians touring. She has been a member of the Billy Joel Band for over 25 years and has shared the stage with several other huge names. Check out Billy Joel tour dates to catch a glimpse of what Crystal brings to the table, you will not regret it!


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