HICKSVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Well if you’re going to get someone to speak at your high school graduation, you may as well get a big shot.

On Long Island, the don’t come any bigger than Billy Joel.

The Piano Man spoke Saturday before the Hicksville High School class of 2017.

“Right now you’re as idealistic as you’re ever going to be. And that 18-year-old, you can take that with you the rest of your life,” Joel said in front of the recent grads and their family members.

He returned to his hometown high school 50 years after he was supposed to celebrate his own graduation.

The entertainer was one credit short of earning his degree.

The school awarded Joel with an honorary degree in 1992.