Billy Joel and Elton John pay tribute to Tony Bennett: “He’s irreplaceable”

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Exploring the Arts

Billy Joel is remembering his friend, the legendary Tony Bennett, who died July 21 at age 96.

Bennett joined Billy during his Last Play at Shea concerts in 2008 to sing “New York State of Mind.” Billy also duetted with Bennett on the crooner’s collaborative albums Playin’ with My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues and Duets: An American Classic.

Billy wrote on his website, “Tony Bennett was the one of the most important interpreters of American popular song during the mid to late 20th century. He championed songwriters who might otherwise have remained unknown to many millions of music fans.”

Billy continued, “His was a unique voice that made the transition from the era of Jazz into the age of Pop. I will always be grateful for his outstanding contribution to the art of contemporary music. He was a joy to work with. His energy and enthusiasm for the material he was performing was infectious.”

“He was also one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever known,” Billy concluded.

Billy’s friend Elton John, who also appeared on the Duets album, posted a photo of himself and Bennett on Instagram. “So sad to hear of Tony’s passing. Without doubt the classiest singer, man, and performer you will ever see,” he wrote. “He’s irreplaceable. I loved and adored him. Condolences to [his wife] Susan, [his son] Danny and the family.”

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