Romm Diamonds Blog
January 24th, 2014
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today we have rock legend Billy Joel performing “Uptown Girl,” his international hit about a “backstreet guy” trying to romance a privileged girl from the high-class part of town.

billyjoel2a

In this 1983 song from his album An Innocent Man, Joel struggles with the fact that he can’t keep up with the rich guys — at least when it comes to lavishing gifts upon the uptown girl. He sings, “Uptown girl / You know I can't afford to buy her pearls / But maybe someday when my ship comes in / She'll understand what kind of guy I've been / And then I'll win.”

While it is widely believed that the subject of the song is Joel’s ex-wife and supermodel Christie Brinkley, Brit writers Michael Heatley and Frank Hopkinson revealed in The Girl in the Song: The True Stories Behind 50 Rock Classics, that Joel actually penned “Uptown Girl” about an earlier love interest, supermodel Elle Macpherson.

billyjoel1

According to the authors, Joel drew his inspiration for the song while encountering Brinkley, Macpherson and singer Whitney Houston while on vacation in the Caribbean. Joel began dating Macpherson and wrote the song with her and her girlfriends in mind. The song was to be called “Uptown Girls” (plural).

After breaking up with Macpherson, he began dating Brinkley and changed the name of the song to “Uptown Girl” (singular). Brinkley famously appeared in Joel's music video as the “uptown girl” and the couple would eventually marry in 1985. Joel and Brinkley divorced in 1994.

“Uptown Girl” peaked in the U.S. at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and charted in 11 other countries.

The 64-year-old Joel, who was born in the Bronx and raised on Long Island, is one of the most prolific and successful recording artists of all time, with more than 150 million records sold worldwide. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.

We invite you to click on the video of Joel’s 1984 live performance of “Uptown Girl” in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Wembley Stadium in London. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

“Uptown Girl”
Written and performed by Bill Joel.

Uptown girl
She's been living in her uptown world
I bet she never had a backstreet guy
I bet her mama never told her why

I'm gonna try for an uptown girl
She's been living in her white bread world
As long as anyone with hot blood can
And now she's looking for a downtown man
That's what I am

And when she knows what
She wants from her time
And when she wakes up
And makes up her mind

She'll see I'm not so tough
Just because
I'm in love with an uptown girl

You know I've seen her in her uptown world
She's getting tired of her high-class toys
And all her presents from her uptown boys
She's got a choice

Uptown girl
You know I can't afford to buy her pearls
But maybe someday when my ship comes in
She'll understand what kind of guy I've been
And then I'll win

And when she's walking
She's looking so fine
And when she's talking
She'll say that she's mine

She'll say I'm not so tough
Just because
I'm in love
With and uptown girl

She's been living in her white bread world
As long as anyone with hot blood can
And now she's looking for a downtown man
That's what I am

Uptown girl
She's my uptown girl
You know I'm in love
With an uptown girl
My uptown girl
You know I'm in love
With an uptown girl
My uptown girl