In the music video, directed by Jay Dubin, Joel sits alone after his high school reunion, class of '59, and recalls the good old days with his doo-wop group. Fans have been wondering about the janitor in the clip for years. Was he an old-school doo-wop star making a sly cameo? Dubin told Songfacts the answer
, along with an unfortunate reminder of black stereotypes in the '80s:
"No, that's all bulls--t," he said of the rumors. "This is how that guy gets hired: There was this black guy who got us all this talent on one of the other music videos, I think 'Tell Her About It
.' I remember he used to come in the office all the time saying, 'Hey, you got any work for me?'
[Producer] Jon Small said, 'No, but I need an older guy who looks like a janitor.' He said, 'No problem.' He gets on the phone: 'Uncle Willy? you want to be on TV?'
'Yeah, Uncle Willy'll do it.' He says to Jon, 'How much?' Jon says, 'A hundred dollars.' He says, 'Uncle Willy, I'll make you fifty dollars!' He took fifty and gave Uncle Willy fifty. That's all I remember about that. [Laughing]
Who the guy was, I have no idea. Was it racist? Absolutely. Back then, 8 out of 10 janitors at the local schools were black. They wanted to do that.
All I had to do was make sure the pictures looked good, he was in sync, and it was edited well. That was all I had to do. It was easy."