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.

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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.

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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.

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The school awarded Joel with an honorary degree in 1992.