Billy Joel stormed the charts in 1983 with his classic song Uptown Girl, reaching number three in the US and claiming the top spot in the UK for five weeks, knocking Culture Club’s Karam Chameleon off. The song was incredibly popular due to it’s catchy tune and simple to learn lyrics, and is the song most people will think of first when asked to name a Billy Joel song.
The song itself tells the story of a regular bloke (referred to as a downtown man in the song) who is smitten with a class socialite woman (the uptown girl of the title). The lyrics describe how this man thinks he would treat this woman were he ever to get the chance, claiming that whilst he may not be able to “buy her pearls” he would treat her well and provide the best life he could for her.
The song was written by Joel with supermodel Christie Brinkley in mind. She was his girlfriend (and later wife) and so the song is somewhat autobiographical in nature, as Joel often wondered how he could have been so lucky to end up with Brinkley as a partner. Unfortunately they divorced in 1994.
Uptown Girl has also been covered several times, most notably by boy band Westlife, who also topped the charts with their charity version for Comic Relief.
Whilst the song stands by itself, the music video that went alongside it surely helped it remain so popular. In it Joel plays a car mechanic who is besotted with the uptown girl (played by Christie Brinkley) who arrives in a classic car at his garage. Joel spends most of the video singing into spanners with his colleagues, dancing around with the uptown girl who gets out of the car to join in. In fact, it was the creation of this video that helped cement the couples relationship, as Brinkley helped Joel with the dance steps as he was a self confessed non-dancer. It turned out alright in the end, as you can see by following this link to the video.