Singer Billy Joel celebrated his 100th concert at New York City’s Madison Square Garden last week. One of his most memorable performances at the venue was last year, when he wore a bright yellow Star of David on stage to tell President Donald Trump that “Nazis aren’t good people.”
Joel performed shortly after Trump responded to a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, by saying there were “some very fine people on both sides.” Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when someone drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters. Suspect James Alex Fields Jr. was indicted last month on 30 criminal counts, including hate crimes resulting in death and bodily injury.
“I wore the Star of David after the Charlottesville incident,” Joel told CBS News in a segment that aired Sunday.
“I don’t think it’s right for me to get up on a soapbox because that’s not why people are there,” he said, adding that he still felt he “had to do something that night.”
“The president said, ‘There’s some good people ... that did that.’ No, Nazis aren’t good people,” Joel told CBS reporter Anthony Mason. “It really enraged me. My old man, his family got wiped out. They were slaughtered in Auschwitz. Him and his parents were able to get out. But then he was in the U.S. Army during the war and fought with Patton and was shot at by Nazis. My family suffered. And I think I actually have a right to do that.”
Check out some of the Piano Man’s happier memories in the video above. His words about Charlottesville start around 4:10.
CORRECTION: A headline in a previous version of this story misstated Billy Joel’s quote as “Nazis are no good.”