Rufus Wainwright Leads All-Star “Piano Man” Tribute To Billy Joel


Singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright helped payed homage to fellow piano man Billy Joel at this year’s Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C. The careers of Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana, Martina Arroyo, and Shirley MacLaine were also celebrated.

First, Wainwright performed a rousing version of Joel’s “New York State Of Mind.” He then lead a singalong of Joel’s signature hit “Piano Man,” and was joined onstage by Garth Brooks and Don Henley, while Snoop Dogg made gangsta signs from the audience. Earlier, Henley sang an Eagles-y version of “She’s Got A Way” and Brooks (the Billy Joel of the South) tackled “Allentown” and “Goodnight Saigon.”

Watch the video below, then enjoy Joel’s ripping run-through of “You May Be Right” from Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve. Joel will perform a once-a-month residency at Madison Square Garden, and is about to embark on his first solo tour since 2008.


  1. Personally I thought Rufus’ vocals fell short of a “rousing version” of Billy’s love song to his home state. I thought the highlight of the night was Garth Brooks’ performance of two emotional songs with strong political overtones about our country. It was the perfect setting for those two songs.

    Just a heads up, it’s “Allentown”, the city in PA, not “Allen Town.”

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