Billy Joel invited Olivia Rodrigo to guest with him at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night, giving the pop star the chance to confirm her appreciation of his work.
The pair performed her 2021 hit “Deja Vu” followed by Joel’s 1983 classic “Uptown Girl.” You can watch a clip of their performance below.
“Thank you so much for having me, Billy,” Rodrigo said on her arrival. “I’m such a huge fan, and I kind of wrote this next song about you.” The lyrics explore her feelings about an ex she had introduced to Joel’s music and who is now enjoying that music with a new girlfriend. Lines include “I’ll bet that she knows Billy Joel / ‘Cause you played her ‘Uptown Girl’” and “Play her piano, but she doesn’t know that I was the one who taught you Billy Joel.”
Before that, Joel told the audience he was going to introduce them to a “young musician” who was a “very talented singer and songwriter,” and listed some of her achievements including three Grammys, an American Music Award and “all kinds of awards.” “I like her music and so do my kids,” he said. During “Uptown Girl,” Joel happily mugged it up while Rodrigo took over lead vocals.
The 72-year-old Joel retains an interest in younger artists and their impact on their generations. “Adele is a phenomenal singer, kind of a [Barbra] Streisand throwback,” he told USA Today last year. “Taylor [Swift] is also a very talented girl, and she’s productive and keeps coming up with great concepts and songs and she’s huge. You have to give her high marks. She knows music and she knows how to write. She’s like that generation’s Beatles.”
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