Billy Joel honors Jeff Beck after his death: 'He was the best'

Billy Joel honors Jeff Beck after his death: ‘He was the best’

Billy Joel is remembering the iconic Jeff Beck after his death.

During his show at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Friday, the “Uptown Girl” singer paid tribute to the late British rocker following his death at the age of 78 earlier this week.

Sitting at a piano on stage in a video uploaded by a user on YouTube, Joel, 73, told the audience: “He was a musician that I always loved. He was the best.”

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“Jeff Beck just passed away… I couldn’t let the night go by without doing something for Jeff,” she said. “This is a recording that he did with Rod Stewart, called ‘People Get Ready’.”

Joel and his band began performing the 78-year-old Beck and Stewart’s rendition of the song for the late guitarist’s 1985 album, Flash.

Before the show ended, “Piano Man” and his band spontaneously decided to play the Alabama State Troupers’ “Going Down,” which The Jeff Beck Group covered on their 1972 self-titled third album.

“We should have rehearsed this today,” he joked in the clip posted by another user on YouTube.

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Beck’s family confirmed his death in a statement to PEOPLE on Wednesday.

“On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of the passing of Jeff Beck,” the statement began. “After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he passed away peacefully yesterday. His family asks for privacy as they process this tremendous loss.”

Reacting to the “sad news” of Beck’s death, Joel sent out a statement to PEOPLE, calling him “the great guitar virtuoso.”

“He was one of my heroes. I was lucky enough to meet him recently, and now I’m very grateful to be able to tell him how much I admired his musical ability. This is the end of an era. RIP,” he said. aggregate.

In addition to Joel, several of Beck’s longtime friends and collaborators have also spoken in his memory, including his former Yardbirds bandmate Jimmy Page, Stewart and Ronnie Wood of The Jeff Beck Group, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney and more.

The eight-time Grammy winner is survived by his wife, Sandra Beck.

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