July 9, 2008

"Uptown Girl"

From Billy Joel's tribute to the music of his childhood, An Innocent Man (1983), "Uptown Girl" peaked at #3 on the Billboard charts in the US, and #1 in the UK; in 1988, Rolling Stone magazine ranked "Uptown Girl" #99 on its list of the 100 most important singles of the period 1963-1988. The song also has the somewhat unique feature of changing key from the original two times before going back, for a total of three keys.

Of course supermodel Christie Brinkley appears in the music video, and could very possibly have inspired Billy Joel to write the song in the first place. They divorced in 1994, and subsequently the song was missing from the setlist during Joel's 1994 River of Dreams tour.


gilligan said...

This was back when MTV played good music with good videos. I hate to sound like an old timer, but today's hip-hop and Fergie style booty slappin' music video just doesn't compare to Billy Joel's heyday.

Joel was a genius. He could go from the Valli sounding "Uptown Girl" and "Longest Time" to the melancholy of "Just the Way You Are" to the poingant "Piano Man" and "The Stranger" and back again before you even knew what hit you. That's versatility!

Chris said...

Let's face it (and I hate to sound like an old timer too) -- MTV is Satan. I think that network is partly responsible for the "ghettoization" of the nation. But there really isn't any way to compare the MTV we knew to the one calling itself that now.

I'm rather partial to "Leave a Tender Moment Alone." Awesome song, that one.

Nacalina said...

Nice tribute, EBIN. I'm a *huge* Billy Joel fan. That being said, I prefer his classic 70's era "pre-Brinkley" recordings (Glass Houses, Piano Man, The Stranger, Streetlight Serenade and Turnstiles immediately come to mind-). However like you, I must give him credit for being a visionary as well for the way he embraced the early video era.

Now, "Pressure" is an amazing video (I actually remember I was watching MTV the very night it premiered, yep that dates me, too...over 25 years ago now...yikes!) but other Joel videos I liked that got early MTV rotation are All For Layna and Allentown, just to name a couple.

Sadly, they just don't make 'em like Billy Joel anymore, I'm afraid. He da man!

Chris said...


"Pressure" is a great video, and a better song. The Nylon Curtain is a great album. It's his Sgt. Pepper, right? I'm sure I saw all of the videos for that album in the form of a "MTV World Premiere," too. I used to love when they did that.

I agree that his '70s stuff is classic, and better than his later work.