Billy Joel Honors the Late Jeff Beck During Madison Square Garden Show: 'He Was the Best'

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

During his show at the Madison Square Garden in New York City on Friday, the "Uptown Girl" singer paid tribute to the late British rocker after he died at the age of 78 earlier this week.

While sitting at a piano onstage in a video uploaded by a user on YouTube, Joel, 73, told the audience, "He was a musician who I always loved. He was the best."

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 10: Billy Joel performs at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 10, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Naomi Rahim/WireImage)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 10: Billy Joel performs at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 10, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Naomi Rahim/WireImage)

Naomi Rahim/WireImage

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"Jeff Beck just passed away... I couldn't let the night go by without doing something by Jeff," he said. "This is a recording he did with Rod Stewart, called 'People Get Ready.'"

Joel and his band then began their performance of the rendition of the track recorded by Beck and Stewart, 78, for the late guitarist's 1985 album, Flash.

Prior to wrapping up the show, the "Piano Man" and his band spontaneously decided to play "Going Down" by Alabama State Troupers, which The Jeff Beck Group covered on their 1972 self-titled third album.

"We should have rehearsed this today," he quipped in the clip uploaded 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 Jeff Beck's Passing," the statement began. "After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday. His family asks for privacy while they process this tremendous loss."

Reacting to the "sad news" of Beck's death, Joel sent a statement to PEOPLE, calling him "the great, virtuoso guitarist."

"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.," he added.

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

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