Country Throwback: Garth Brooks Joins Billy Joel for ‘Shameless’ at Final Shea Stadium Show in 2008

by Suzanne Halliburton
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It was a surprise appearance. Garth Brooks, wearing a New York Mets hat and jersey, joined Billy Joel on stage for a concert at Shea Stadium a dozen years ago.

Joel played two, sold-out concerts at the historic stadium. He’d been inviting special guests, including Steven TylerRoger Daltrey, Tony Bennett, John Mellencamp and Paul McCartney to give Shea Stadium a proper sendoff. The home of the Mets was scheduled for demolition soon after.

Brooks was an obvious choice. After all, he’d turned a song written and recorded by Billy Joel into a giant country hit.

You remember “Shameless,” right? Brooks released it in 1991, two years after Joel included it in his album. “Shameless” was Brooks’ seventh No. 1 on the country charts. Trisha Yearwood, Brooks’ future wife, sang backup on the song.

How Did Garth Brooks End Up Recording a Billy Joel Song?

Brooks always has been a huge Billy Joel fan. However, he said he discovered “Shameless” in the most bizarre way. Brooks signed up for a CD club. He then went out on the road. And when he arrived back home, he found a pile of CDs. One of them was Joel’s “Storm Front” album. This was probably circa, 1990.

He explained how the record club membership and choosing the Joel song in his liner notes for his 1994 “The Hits” album.

“With those clubs, they write you with the selection of the month,” Brooks wrote. “If you don’t write back and cancel, then they send it to you and charge you for it. I was on the road for six months with no one to check the mail and came home to find six compact discs in my mailbox. Storm Front by Billy Joel was one of them.

“I hadn’t listened to Billy Joel since the late seventies, probably since Glass Houses,” Brooks said. “I fell in love with the album and fell back in love with Billy Joel’s music. One of his songs really captured me, a song called “Shameless.” I kept watching it, and when he did not release it as a single, we contacted his people in the hopes that we could cut it.

“His people sent us a letter acknowledging that he knew who I was and was very honored that I was cutting it. That was quite a compliment for me then, as it is now. My hope is that Billy, as writer, hears this cut and says, ‘Yeah, man, the guy’s got balls.'”

Country Superstar Was Obvious Pick For Joel’s Shea Stadium Concert

Joel respected Garth Brooks so much he invited him to perform with him at Shea Stadium. It was an historical venue for concerts. After all, the Beatles introduced themselves to American fans there with a sold-out concert in 1964.

On this July day in 2018, Brooks stepped to the front of the stage. He doffed his Mets hat to the crowd. Then he sang the song about a man who resists every temptation until he meets the woman of his dreams.

Joel played the piano and sang back up for the first half of the song. Brooks came over to lean on Joel’s baby grand. And Joel sang the second verse. The crowd loved it.

Three years later, Brooks was back in New York for induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Joel inducted him. The two, again, sang “Shameless.” Brooks said of Joel: “You talk about songwriters, there’s one of the greatest songwriters of all time … And he’s taken a day out of his life to do this, I feel very lucky.”

Fans were the luckiest of all, getting to see Joel with a splash of Brooks.

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