Uptown Girl

Album: An Innocent Man (1983)
Charted: 1 3
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  • Billy Joel married the supermodel Christie Brinkley less than two years after this song was released, but he wasn't even dating her when he started writing the song - he was actually dating another supermodel: Elle Macpherson. Asked about his relationship with Elle on The Howard Stern Show in 2010, Joel explained: "We dated on and off. We weren't like engaged or anything. We just kind of dated. She was 19."

    Joel went on to explain that he and Elle parted ways when she went off to Europe, which is around the time he started dating Brinkley. He reworked the lyrics, and by the time he finished the song, it was about Brinkley.
  • On Australian TV in 2006, Billy Joel said: "The song was originally called 'Uptown Girls' not 'Uptown Girl.' I know its associated with Christie but when I started to write that song I had recently divorced prior to meeting her, all of the sudden I'm a rock star and divorced. All these women were going to go out with me."

    As he explained to Howard Stern, Joel was on vacation in the Caribbean when he was playing the piano, looked up, and saw Elle Macpherson, Christie Brinkley and Whitney Houston (who was more a model than a musician at that point) standing over his piano in wonderment watching him play. Joel thanked his creator for his good fortune, and began dating Elle. His first attempt at the song had the lyrics, "Uptown girls, I've been around the world." The music was more of a classical piece when it started.
  • Joel is from Long Island, New York, and always considered himself a working-class, regular guy. This song reflects his surprise at his ability to attract such beautiful, glamorous women. In a 1987 interview with Q magazine, Joel said: "The fact that I can attract such a beautiful woman as Christie should give hope to every ugly guy in the world!"
  • The whole album, especially this song, was a musical tribute to '60s pop music. Specifically, this one is done in the style of The Four Seasons, with Joel trying to sound like Frankie Valli. He had their song "Rag Doll" in mind both musically and lyrically; on that track Valli sings about a poor girl that he loves anyway. In fact, he loves her "just the way she is."
  • Christie Brinkley is in the video, playing the Uptown Girl. Joel portrays a mechanic working on her car. The clip was directed by Jay Dubin, who also helmed Joel's videos for "Tell Her About It" and "The Longest Time."

    In 1985, Bruce Springsteen borrowed this idea for his "I'm On Fire" video, where his mechanic character has it bad for a woman who is clearly out of his league.
  • Brinkley and Joel remained married for nine years. She drew the cover art for his 1993 album River of Dreams. They eventually separated due to Joel's busy schedule.
  • This was Joel's only #1 single in the UK. It's also one of his best-selling in the US.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons in which Homer decides to hang out with the band of hippies his mother was once part of in the 1960s, Homer breaks into singing a fragment of this song at one point. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Vincent - Fayetteville, AR
  • In 2001 the Irish boy band Westlife covered "Uptown Girl," topping the UK charts for a week. It was recorded as the official song for the 2001 BBC Comic Relief charity appeal. Screenwriter Richard Curtis, one of the founders of the Comic Relief campaign, knew supermodel Claudia Schiffer's agent and obtained her cooperation to be the Uptown Girl in the video, which mimicked Billy Joel's original that featured his model wife Christie Brinkley. In addition to Schiffer and Westife themselves, the video also featured the actors Tim McInnery, James Wilby, Ioan Gruffudd, Robert Bathurst and Crispin Bonham Carter as a chorus of city workers.
  • The owner of the Rolls Royce in this video tried to pull a fast one on Jay Dubin's team. The director said in our interview: "The guy who owned the car was a little crazy. His radiator went out. His radiator had a leak in it and he was trying to shake us down. He said he needed a new radiator, and a Rolls Royce radiator was $2,000. So I remember my guy, Bruce, that handled that went up to him and said, 'Hey, no problem at all. I'll give you $2,000, but before I give you money, you've got to take the old radiator out of the car and give it to me.' And he goes, 'What do you mean?' Bruce said, 'I'm buying a $2,000 radiator for you, I'm taking the old one.' And suddenly the problem with the car went away."
  • This song is a topic of discussion in the 2015 movie Trainwreck, where Bill Hader plays a surgeon who is dating Amy Schumer's character. When Hader operates, he listens to this song; the two have this exchange:

    Schumer: Why Billy Joel? Why "Uptown Girl"?

    Hader: I love that song.

    Schumer: That's probably the worst Billy Joel song. I'm pretty sure even Billy Joel hates that song.

    Hader: He shouldn't, it's great.

    Later in the film, Hader is stitching up Schumer's equally churlish father, played by Colin Quinn, who wonders why he is humming this song. They share Billy Joel stories:

    Quinn: That's the only thing that'll save you. I like Billy Joel. I saw him at Nassau Coliseum. Nylon Curtain tour.

    Hader: That's awesome. I saw him with Elton John at Shea Stadium. It was great.

    Quinn: Of course you did. Nothing better than down-to-earth blue-collar Billy Joel with Elton John, the Queen of England.

    At the end of the film, after a dance number that brings Hader and Schumer back together, another Billy Joel song plays: "A Matter Of Trust."
  • In December 1985, Princess Diana surprised her husband, Prince Charles, by appearing on stage with Wayne Sleep of the Royal Ballet and doing a sassy choreographed dance to "Uptown Girl" at a charity gala. There is no video, but it's portrayed in the 2020 season 4 episode of the Netflix series The Crown, "Avalanche." Apparently, Prince Charles found it undignified, but the crowd loved it. Diana clearly loved the song; she was living the story with the roles reversed, married to a prince despite her humble origins.

    In The Crown, we see Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip discussing the dance. "Who is Billy Jo-el?" she asks.

Comments: 28

  • LaviniaI always liked this song when I was younger.
  • Ben from UgandaI simply love Billy Joels songs
  • Chris from Germany great song and great video.

    One of the pinneacles of the 80s
  • Ken from Louisville, KyThat night in the bar, 3 gorgeous models sat next to him while he played piano - Elle MacPherson, Christie Brinkley and Whitney Houston. When asked if he ever had any interest in Whitney, Billy said no, because she was too young (16) and he was friends with her aunt (Thelma Houston, also a Columbia artist) and he said (with a laugh) that Thelma would have kicked his ass if he tried to date her teenage niece!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyPer: http://www.oldiesmusic.com/news.htm
    Billy Joel became a father for third time on Sunday (October 22nd, 2017)...
    Remy Anne Joel was born at New York University Hospital and weighed in at 7 lbs. 3 oz.
    The 68 year-old Billy and his 35 year-old wife Alexis have a 2 year-old and Billy has a 31 year-old daughter from a previous marriage to his "Uptown Girl".
  • Peter from Coventry, United KingdomI remember this song from when I was younger.
  • Allison from Allentown, PaNo wonder why the first time I heard this song I was like "Is this a Four Seasons song that Billy Joel covered?" lol.
  • Val from Des Moines, IaMy frist song I herd by Billy Joel was Uptown Girls, I loved it, it's my top 2 favorite song. I would love to meet the AWESOME SINGER BILLY JOEL. My dad HATES THE SONG and whatever he hates I love!!!!!
  • John from Brisbane, United StatesKristin from Canada is right and I agree.Uptown Girl is so very boring and awful.If I was Billy Joel I would refuse to sing this JUNK!Everything else from BJ is better.
  • John from Stamford, CtThis one and "Tell Her About It" were the first (and only) two songs of Billy Joel I ever saw on video back in the 80's. Thus propelling me into more Rock and more Rock music and lesser Pop and Rap music.
  • Mike from Hueytown , AlYou can't help but sing along when this song comes on. Christie Brinkley may be hot but she reminds me of crazy internet date women hahahaha Hasn't she been divorced like 3 or 4 times ?
  • Megan from St. Louis, MoSomeone said he doesn't play Inocent man songs in concert anymore, but i went to a concert 2 months ago he sang "Innocent Man".
  • Sjoseph from Norfolk, MaBilly was horribly upset upon hearing the news of the annulment from a relative and not directly from Brinkley. Although he still vows he will always love Brinkley - his heart was broken when by hearing the news from a third party.
  • Dawson from Draper, UtI love that episode, I love how he wears that poncho lol good stuff.
  • Marlow from Perthmmm christie brinkley hohhhhhuuuhhh (homer simpson style)
  • Ben from Tucson, AzBilly Joel, the great imitator...on this album, though, that was the point and this song is almost more Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons than the originals.
  • Ashley Jade from Cleveland, GaBilly Joel and Christie Brinkley = soulmates. At least to me
  • Ken from Louisville, KyBilly Joel has not performed this or any other "Innocent Man" song in concert since the early 1990's since he beleieves that these were all novelty songs that don't reflect the type of songs he wants to be remembered for.

  • Jeanette from Irvine, Cathat simpson episodes HILARIOUS!!!!!!!!! where he discovers that his name is homer jay simpson! lol...................
  • Ydur from Knoxville, TnBrinkley might be easy on the eyes, but man, SHE CAN'T DANCE!!! Jerry's Kids have better moves...
  • Delbert from Austin, TxThis song is the peak of Joel's Prozac period!
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesAlso a Number One for boyband WestLife in the UK in 2002, but their version was rubbish
  • Rhett from Melbourne, AustraliaHow unreal does Christine Brinkley look in this video? - she is also in the background of Billy Joels clip for Matter of Trust.
  • Kt from St. Louis, Moactually ... she did divorce him because he was gone so much ... she actually got the marriage annulled, claiming that there wasn't enough "consumation" in the marriage. (i think she said 8 months since the last time)
  • Brooke from Sedona, AzShe married one of the survivor's of the crash, really really regretted it.. and got a divorce from that guy right after she gave birth to her son that she had with him.
  • Rick from Buffalo, NyThe didn't seperate because of Joel's schedule. The seperated after Brinkley's helecopter crash. She claimed he couldn't understand what she went through. She later married (and divorced, I think) another survivor from the crash.

    Joel and Brinkley met on a cruise. Niether knew who the other was.
  • Kristin from Kelowna, CanadaThis song is kinda boreing
  • Dc from Hilo, HiThe video was filmed on the two hottest nights of the summer in 1983.
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