“I couldn’t let the night go by without doing something by Jeff,” Billy Joel told his audience Friday night (Jan. 13) during a performance at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
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As a tribute to legendary guitarist Jeff Beck, who passed away on Tuesday Jan. 10, the Piano Man recognized the rock icon during his show, calling him “a musician that I always loved. He was the best.”
“This is a recording he did with Rod Stewart, called ‘People Get Ready,’” Joel said against applause from the crowd. The band burst into a soulful rendition of the Curtis Mayfield classic, taking turns singing the powerful verses. Watch below.
Elsewhere in the night, Joel and his band broke out into an impromptu jam during “You May Be Right.” The Joel classic eventually turned into a ripping rendition of Jeff Beck Group’s “Going Down.”
Beck died on Jan. 10 at the age of 78. A statement from his rep confirmed the news, explaining, “It is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing. After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday. His family asks for privacy while they process this tremendous loss.”
Since the news of his passing, tributes have flooded in from former bandmates, collaborators, friends, and admirers, all mourning his sudden death.
“The six-stringed Warrior is no longer here for us to admire the spell he could weave around our mortal emotions,” wrote the guitarist’s former The Yardbirds bandmate and Led Zeppelin guitarist, Jimmy Page. Rock icons Rod Stewart and The Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood, both former bandmates of The Jeff Beck Group, also honored their friend.
“I feel like one of my band of brothers has left this world,” wrote Wood with Stewart adding, “He took me and Ronnie Wood to the U.S.A. in the late ’60s in his band the Jeff Beck Group, and we haven’t looked back since.”
Fellow guitar icons, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, and Joe Satriani, recognized him as an inspiration.
Photo: Sony Music Entertainment