The Bruce Springsteen-Billy Joel connection (25 VIDEOS)

by JAY LUSTIG
bruce springsteen billy joel videos

In this photo, posted by Billy Joel on his website in 2021, he and Bruce Springsteen are shown performing together at Madison Square Garden in 1987.

I wrote a post, Aug. 18, about Jim Cullen’s upcoming book, “Bridge & Tunnel Boys: Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, and the Metropolitan Sound of the American Century.” And that led me to start thinking about connections between the two — who were both born in 1949, and have generated fierce allegiance among their fans in different areas of the Northeast (New Jersey and Long Island, respectively). They are longtime friends, and have performed together many times, over the years.

And so it seemed like a good time to put together a video collection, documenting some of their joint history. As always, the Brucebase website provided invaluable information.

Here are the videos, in chronological order. Most are of times the two performed together, though a few have to do with other points of connection. (Note: These entries do not include all the times Springsteen and Joel were onstage together, just the shows for which videos were available.)

Enjoy!

Feb 17, 1977: In January 1977, the E Street Band (including an uncredited Springsteen) was the backing band for Ronnie Spector on a recording of Joel’s “Say Goodbye to Hollywood.” Here they are backing her on this song at a concert at the Richfield Coliseum in Richfield, Ohio.

Jan. 28-29, 1985: Joel and Springsteen both sang on the charity single “We Are the World,” in a session at A&M Recording Studios in Hollywood, California, that began on the night of Jan. 28 and stretched into the morning of Jan. 29.

Dec. 13, 1987: Springsteen and Joel both volunteered to perform at a benefit for homeless children organized by Paul Simon at Madison Square Garden in New York. Here they are on two Springsteen-led songs, “Glory Days” and Chuck Berry’s “Rock and Roll Music.” And below that, they both sing backing vocals — along with Simon, James Taylor, Lou Reed and Ruben Blades — for Dion on “A Teenager in Love.” Check out the 5:10 mark of the first video for some rare Springsteen/Joel stage theatrics.

Jan. 20, 1988: Springsteen and Joel both participated in an all-star version of The Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There” at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York.

May 22, 1993: Longtime Billy Joel band member Crystal Taliefero was part of Springsteen’s 1992-93 tour, playing guitar, saxophone and percussion and singing backing vocals. Go to the 5:40 mark of this video to see her sharing a mic with Springsteen on “Glory Days,” and clowning around with him.

March 15, 1999: Joel is in this video very briefly, but he was playing keyboards alongside Roy Bitan when Springsteen and Wilson Pickett duetted on “In the Midnight Hour” at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria.

Oct. 16, 2008: Springsteen and Joel both performed at a benefit for then-Presidential candidate Barack Obama at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. Springsteen, Bittan, Patti Scialfa and others performed with Joel’s band for songs including Springsteen’s “Thunder Road,” “Glory Days” and “Born to Run” and Joel’s “Allentown,” “A Matter of Trust,” “River of Dreams” (featuring portions of The Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” and The Cadillacs’ “Gloria”) and “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song).” They, India.Arie and John Legend also introduced Obama before the show-closer, a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours),” performed as a duet between India.Arie and Legend.

Oct. 29, 2009: Joel, Springsteen and the E Street Band joined forces for Joel’s “New York State of Mind,” “You May Be Right” and “Only the Good Die Young” and Springsteen’s “Born to Run” at one of the Madison Square Garden concerts celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Joel also contributed to a cover of the Jackie Wilson hit “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher,” which was the all-star grand finale of the Springsteen/E Street Band set.

Oct. 1, 2011: Joel and Springsteen — plus Wonder, Lady Gaga, Mary J. Blige and others — contributed to “Every Breath You Take,” one of the encores at Sting’s 60th birthday concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York.

Nov. 2, 2012: Springsteen, Joel, Jimmy Fallon, Steven Tyler and were onstage together for a cover of the standard “Under the Boardwalk” at the hurricane-relief telethon, “Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together,” filmed at Rockefeller Center in New York.

Oct. 19, 2017: Joel appeared at a taping of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and they talked about Springsteen, and other things. At the 1:45 mark of this video, Joel says his favorite Springsteen song is (SPOILER ALERT!) “Meeting Across the River.”

June 10, 2018: At the Tony Awards ceremony at Radio City Music Hall in New York, Joel presented Springsteen with a Special Tony in recognition of “Springsteen on Broadway.”

July 18, 2018: At Joel’s 100th show at Madison Square Garden, Springsteen joined him and Joel’s band for “Tenth Avenue Freeze-out” and “Born to Run.”

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