HomeEntertainmentMusicBilly Joel Pays Tribute to Late Music Icon Jeff Beck With Emotional ‘People Get Ready’ Cover

Billy Joel Pays Tribute to Late Music Icon Jeff Beck With Emotional ‘People Get Ready’ Cover

by Taylor Cunningham
Jeff Beck
(Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Billy Joel paid tribute to Jeff Beck during a recent concert in New York City with two of the late guitarist’s most memorable hits.

The Piano Man singer interrupted his monthly performance at Madison Square Garden on Friday, Jan. 13, to remember Beck, who died on Jan. 10. The first mention came mid-set when the band broke into the 1985 single, People Get Ready. Beck recorded the song with his former Jeff Beck Group band member Rod Stewart, and it appeared on Beck’s solo album Flash.

“He was a musician that I always loved. He was the best,” Joel said to the massive crowd. “Jeff Beck just passed away… I couldn’t let the night go by without doing something by Jeff. This is a recording he did with Rod Stewart.”

People Get Ready wasn’t an instant hit for the musical legend, but it weathered the decades well and become one of his most recognizable songs.

For the cover, Joel, saxophonist Mark Rivera, and percussionist Crystal Taliefero shared turns on vocals.

The final Jeff Beck tribute came as an impromptu piece during Billy Joel’s closing jam-fest. Following the typical final song, You May Be Right, the band stuck around on stage and played a few encores. And Beck’s 1972 hit Going Down eventually came around.

“We should have rehearsed this today,” Joel joked as they played.

Billy Joel Tweets Heartbreak Over Jeff Beck’s Death

Jeff Beck suddenly and unexpectedly died on Tuesday following a brief illness, according to his rep. He was 78 years old.

“It is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing,” his rep wrote in a statement. “After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday. His family asks for privacy while they process this tremendous loss.”

Beck broke into the music industry in 1965 when he took over Eric Clapton’s spot in the British rock band The Yardbirds. He went on to play short stints with the Jeff Beck Group and Beck, Bogert & Appice before finally settling into a solo career. During his life, he won eight Grammys and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice.

Following the news of his passing, thousands of people sent memories and tributes to the musical icon on social media, including Billy Joel.

“I just heard the sad news that the great virtuoso guitarist, Jeff Beck, has died,” he wrote on Twitter. “He was one of my heroes. I was fortunate to meet him recently and I’m very grateful now that I was able to tell him how much I admired his musical skill. This is the end of an era. R.I.P, Billy Joel.”