Uptown Girl

"Uptown Girl" is a song written and performed by musician Billy Joel, first released in 1983 on his album An Innocent Man. The lyrics describe a working-class "downtown man" attempting to woo a wealthy "uptown girl." The single peaked at #3 on the Billboard charts in the US,[1] and #1 in the UK, staying at that position for 5 weeks; it was the second biggest selling single of 1983 in the United Kingdom behind only Culture Club's "Karma Chameleon", which Joel had knocked off the number one position on November 1, 1983; in 1988, Rolling Stone ranked "Uptown Girl" #99 on their list of the 100 most important singles of the period 1963-1988. The song was the 19th biggest selling single of the 1980s in the United Kingdom.

The style of music, including the doo-wop beat, the close harmonies and Joel's use of falsetto singing, is reminiscent of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

Contents


Inspiration

According to Joel in a Channel Five interview, the song was written about his relationship with his girlfriend, supermodel Elle Macpherson, but ended up becoming about his soon-wife Christie Brinkley.[2] Joel also has said that the song was inspired by the Motown sound of the early 60s.[2]

Music video

The title character in the music video was played by Christie Brinkley. Joel and Brinkley married in 1985 and divorced in 1994. Subsequently, the song was missing from the setlist during Joel's 1994 "River of Dreams" tour.

Different versions of the music video opening were produced, in which an auto mechanic is watching the end of Joel's previous hit "Tell Her About It" on a small TV. Then, depending on the version, the next image on the TV is either a blank screen or the logo of the network or TV show the video was on. The only logos known to be used are MTV and Friday Night Videos. A fourth version, which skipped the prologue segment, aired on Night Tracks, America's Top 10 and other music video shows. This is also the version posted on the music video website Vevo.

In the most common music video, the mechanics gather around waiting for a customer just before closing time. A billboard for "Uptown Cosmetics" is above the mechanic shop. A towncar drives up with a beautiful woman with her hair hidden under a chic black hat, wearing a sexy sleeveless dress and high heels (played by Christie Brinkley) in the back seat, and the men realize the woman is the model on the billboard. Joel begins singing as his mechanic friends help him clean the car and they serenade the woman, who watches, happy to be the center of attention. Joel leads her out of the car and the driver looks on at his passenger, urging her to come back, but instead she walks flirtatiously away, causing the men to follow her. Joel convinces his friends that the "uptown girl" is the one for him, and a dance sequence with everyone follows. Afterwards, Joel takes the woman's hand and leads her to his motorcycle. The woman takes off her hat and lets her long blond hair fall over her shoulders, the two grin before driving off, as Joel's friends cheer him on and continue dancing. Once the motorcycle drives off, the video shows the billboard once more.

Chart positions

Chart (1983) Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart 1
Austrian Singles Chart 18
Dutch Top 40 10[3]
German Media Control Charts 18
Irish Singles Chart 1
Japan Oricon Singles Chart 64
New Zealand Singles Chart 1
Norway Singles Chart 3
UK Singles Chart 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 3
U.S. Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 2
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 22

End of year charts

End of year chart (1983) Position
UK Singles Chart 2

Westlife version

Alternative cover
UK CD2

"Uptown Girl" is the fifth single released from Westlife's second studio album, Coast to Coast. It was released as 2001's Comic Relief charity single, and reached #1 on the UK Singles Chart. The song became the 23rd best selling single of the 2000s in the UK, with sales of 756,215 copies. It became the band's biggest selling single in the UK, and also achieved the highest first week sale (292,318) of any of their singles. The song was the 6th best selling single of 2001 in the UK. The song has received a Platinum sales certification in the UK and so far it reached 770 000 of sales.[4]

Music video

The video for this song was shot in a Cafe setting with Claudia Schiffer as the title character, while Robert Bathurst, James Wilby, Ioan Gruffudd, Crispin Bonham-Carter and Tim McInnerny were featured as high class customers.

Tracklisting

UK CD1
  1. "Uptown Girl" (Radio Edit) - 3:06
  2. "Angel's Wings" (2001 Remix) - 4:14
  3. "Uptown Girl" (Video) - 3:14
UK CD2
  1. "Uptown Girl" (Radio Edit) - 3:06
  2. "Uptown Girl" (Extended Version) - 5:02
  3. "Behind The Scenes Footage & Band Messages"
UK VHS Video Single
  1. "Uptown Girl" (Video) - 3:14
  2. "Behind The Scenes Footage & Band Messages"
Ireland Only Single
  1. "Uptown Girl" (Radio Edit) - 3:06
  2. "Uptown Girl" (Extended Version) - 5:02
  3. "Angel's Wings" - 4:02
  4. "Close Your Eyes" - 4:32
  5. "Uptown Girl" (Video) - 3:14
  6. "Behind The Scenes Footage & Band Messages"

Chart performance

Chart (2001) Peak
position
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 6
Austrian Singles Chart 12
Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart 5
Denmark Singles Chart 2
Dutch Top 40 2
Finnish Singles Chart 13
French Singles Chart 8
German Media Control Charts 8
Irish Singles Chart 1
Italian Singles Chart 10
Japanese Oricon Singles Chart 64
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart 4
Norway Singles Chart 3
Swedish Singles Chart 2
Swiss Singles Chart 13
UK Singles Chart 1
UK Radio Airplay Chart 9

End of year charts

End of year chart (2001) Position
Irish Singles Chart 1
UK Singles Chart 6
Chart (2000–2009) Peak
position
UK Top 100 Songs of the Decade 23[5]

Other cover versions

References

  1. Dean, Maury (2003). . Algora. pp. 137–138. . 
  2. a b Channel Five Interview. "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KzbWdxgaMI".
  3. Dutch Top 40 1983. Retrieved 2009-01-08.
  4. http://www.mtv.co.uk/music/charts/official-uk-countdowns/westlife-official-top-20#37363
  5. Radio 1 Official Chart of the Decade, as broadcast on BBC Radio 1 on Tuesday 29th December 2009, presented by Nihal
  6. http://www.palastorchester.de/index.php?id=13