Billy Joel, “the King of Long Island,” visited Jimmy Kimmel Live Thursday in Brooklyn, with the singer impersonating Bruce Springsteen, announcing an extension to his Madison Square Garden residency and performing “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)” during the episode.
The interview came the day after both Joel and Kimmel attended Springsteen’s Broadway show. When Kimmel heard Joel was in attendance, he assumed the “Piano Man” singer would be Springsteen’s surprise guest onstage.
“I asked Bruce about that. He said there’s no special guest appearances during his show; it’s a scripted show,” Joel said, adding that he yelled down from the balcony pre-show to get the attention of Kimmel and Howard Stern.
Joel then revealed his favorite Springsteen song, “Meeting Across the River,” and impersonated Springsteen to sing a few lines from the Born to Run track, even shouting the piano chords over to Kimmel’s Brooklyn bandleader Paul Shaffer.
After Springsteen’s Broadway performance, Joel – who has his own New York residency going with his monthly Madison Square Garden shows – said to Springsteen, “I said, ‘Why don’t we switch off once in a while. You come do the Garden and I’ll do your gig for a few days.’ I think we’re both making the same amount of money based on what the ticket price is.”
Joel next talked about his songwriting process and how the iconic characters that appear in his songs, like “Davy, who’s still in the Navy” in “Piano Man” and Virginia from “Only the Good Die Young,” are largely based on real people he encountered.
“I caught a lot of flak for it, ‘What a cheesy rhyme, Davy in the Navy.’ The guy’s name was Davy, and he was in the Navy. So I said, ‘Okay, that’ll work,” Joel said, adding that “tonic and gin,” and not the customary “gin and tonic,” was a barfly’s actual order. “I stole it from everybody,” he said. Kimmel and Joel also discussed the 40th anniversary of Joel’s classic LP The Stranger.
On the eve of Joel’s 91st concert at Madison Square Garden, the singer revealed that he would be extending his run at the World’s Most Famous Arena into January 2018. “I thought it would taper off after four or five years, but they’re buying tickets faster now than they were at the beginning,” Joel said.
Joel then revealed why he doesn’t sell tickets to the first two rows of his concerts:
Joel closed out his Kimmel visit with a performance of his prescient “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)”: