At his performance in New York City last night, Billy Joel sang the song “People Get Ready” as a homage to Jeff Beck.
Curtis Mayfield wrote the song initially, and Beck and Rod Stewart subsequently recorded it. Although it wasn’t a huge hit for the guitarist Beck, this song from his 1985 album Flash became a mainstay of his set lists and one of his most identifiable.
“He was a musician that I always loved. He was the best,” Joel addressed the audience on Friday at Madison Square Garden. “I couldn’t let the night go by without doing something by Jeff.” Joel played the piano as his bandmates switched vocal parts.
Joel then sneaked in another Beck tribute toward the concert’s conclusion. After finishing Billy Joel’s 1980 song “You May Be Right,” the group remained on stage and started improvising to “Going Down,” a tune by Don Nix that the Jeff Beck Group had featured on their 1972 self-titled album. Joel on stage stated, “We should have rehearsed it,” then he asked for the song’s key and started improvising.
You can watch the performance in the video below:
After a brief fight with bacterial meningitis, Beck passed away last week (January 10, 2023) at the age of 78.
“He was one of my heroes,” Joel tweeted after hearing the news. “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.”
I just heard the sad news that the great virtuoso guitarist, Jeff Beck, has died.
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.
Billy Joel pic.twitter.com/Z5RTEDJcuu
— Billy Joel (@billyjoel) January 12, 2023