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Billy Joel duets with Jimmy Fallon

Billy Joel and JImmy Fallon singing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"
Billy Joel and JImmy Fallon singing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"
Photo by Theo Wargo/NBC

Music legend Billy Joel paid a visit to the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon last night. This appearance marked the first time in over 13 years that the Piano Man had performed on a late night television show.

Perhaps it’s because the Tonight Show is now located in Joel’s home base, New York City that brought this about. Or maybe it’s because of the enthusiasm for the new franchise of shows that he has going at Madison Square Garden every month that are selling out as soon as a new one is announced. Whatever the reason, it was a great visit and Billy Joel looks and sounds as fabulous as ever.

After the customary couch talk discussion, the performance took place. Now one might expect a Billy Joel performance to include a piano while the man sings. But leave it to the clever Fallon to come up with something unique and something that was fun and interesting to watch unfold. Fallon brought out an iPad and opened to an app that would loop their sounds together. Using the1960’s song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” Fallon proposed having a four man backup sound while he and Joel sang. So first they recorded a few measures of the doo-wop background of the song which Fallon duplicated so that each man produced two voices. That background ran on a continuous loop as two microphones were plugged into the iPad and they took turns singing choruses of the song. The results were good music to listen to and amazing to watch as they were quickly produced. To see a video of what resulted, visit the Q1043.classic radio station website where a video of this event is posted.

This classic meeting of two different generations producing music in a relaxed, informal setting was fascinating to watch. There’s no doubt that Jimmy Fallon has what it takes to get great guests on his show. Let’s hope that wonderful Billy Joel doesn’t stay away so long again.