We’ve featured Billy Joel before on the Rock Rewind, but seeing how this week it was announced that the Piano Man will be receiving the coveted Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song (an honor shared by the likes of Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon and Carole King), it seemed appropriate to pull another of his many landmark hits from the vault.
The second single off of 1983’s An Innocent Man, “Uptown Girl” didn’t chart quite as high as its predecessor “Tell Her About It” (peaking at a measly No. 3 instead of No. 1), but in the end, it’s probably been (slightly) better remembered, possibly because the music video so clearly tied the song to Joel’s personal life. Most people identify this song as inspired by Joel’s soon-to-be wife at the time, supermodel Christie Brinkley (reinforced by her appearance in the music video itself); however, Joel has mentioned in interviews that the song’s initial inspiration was from a previous supermodel girlfriend, Elle McPherson, only later to become associated with Brinkley. Ummm….
Brinkley and Joel divorced in 1994. Probably had nothing to do with the song. Anyhow…
Today, Billy Joel continues to enjoy a remarkable amount of popularity and success, despite not having released any new music since his classical album Fantasies & Delusions in 2001. His recently established monthly residency at New York’s Madison Square Garden draws tens of thousands of fans each month, and is sold out months in advance. (Earliest availability at press time is December 18, if anyone is interested.)