Uptown Girl

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This article is about the song. For the similarly named film, see Uptown Girls.
"Uptown Girl"
Single by Billy Joel
from the album An Innocent Man
Released September 29, 1983
Format 7" vinyl[1]
Recorded 1983
Genre Pop rock
Length 3:18
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Billy Joel
Producer(s) Phil Ramone[1]
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Billy Joel singles chronology
"Tell Her About It"
(1983)
"Uptown Girl"
(1983)
"An Innocent Man"
(1983)

"Uptown Girl" is a song written and performed by American musician Billy Joel. It was released on September 29, 1983 on his ninth studio album An Innocent Man (1983). The lyrics describe a working-class "downtown man" attempting to woo a wealthy "uptown girl."

The 12" EP featured the tracks "My Life", "Just the Way You Are" and "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" (catalogue number TA3775). Whereas some 7" single versions featured 'Careless Talk' as a B-side (TBC).

Inspiration[edit]

According to an interview with Howard Stern, Joel had originally titled the song "Uptown Girls" and it was conceived on an occasion when he was surrounded by Christie Brinkley, Whitney Houston and his then-girlfriend Elle Macpherson. According to numerous interviews with Joel, the song was initially written about his relationship with Macpherson, but it ended up also becoming about his soon-to-be wife, Brinkley (both women being two of the most famous supermodels of the 1980s).[2][3] Joel also has said that the song was inspired by the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.[4]

Success[edit]

Although "Uptown Girl" was not as successful in the U.S. as previous single "Tell Her About It", it was still a big hit. It peaked at number three on the Billboard 200,[5] and number one in the United Kingdom, staying at that position for five 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. The song was the 19th biggest-selling single of the 1980s in the United Kingdom, selling 975,000 copies. It has sold over 1 million copies as of 2012.[6]

Music video[edit]

Christie Brinkley appears as the main character of the video and later married Joel.

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.

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Preceded by
"Karma Chameleon" by Culture Club
UK Singles Chart
5 November 1983 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Only You" by The Flying Pickets
Preceded by
"They Don't Know" by Tracey Ullman
Irish Singles Chart
12 November 1983 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Love of the Common People" by Paul Young
Preceded by
"Karma Chameleon" by Culture Club
New Zealand Singles Chart
11 December 1983 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Come Back and Stay" by Paul Young
Preceded by
"Reckless (Don't Be So)" by Australian Crawl
Australian Singles Chart
5 December 1983 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Islands in the Stream" by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton

Westlife version[edit]

"Uptown Girl"
Single by Westlife
from the album World of Our Own
Released March 5, 2001
Format CD single, cassette
Recorded Rokstone Studios, London
Genre Teen pop, dance-pop
Length 3:06
Label BMG
Producer(s) Steve Mac
Certification Platinum (UK)
Gold (Sweden)
Westlife singles chronology
"I Lay My Love on You"
(2001)
"Uptown Girl"
(2001)
"When You're Looking Like That"
(2001)

Cover Version In 1984,Hong Kong singer George Lam covered this song in Cantonese. "Uptown Girl" was recorded by Irish boy band Westlife for their third studio album, World of Our Own (2001). It was released on March 5, 2001 as the fifth single from the album. It was also the 2001 Comic Relief charity single. The song was also included on the European Special Edition and Asian Deluxe Edition Bonus Disc of the group's second album, Coast to Coast (2000).

"Uptown Girl" reached number one on in Ireland and the United Kingdom. It became the sixth best-selling single of 2001 and 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 sales (292,318 copies) of any of their singles. It has since been certified Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry for shipments of 600,000 copies.[21] As of October 2011, the song had sold almost 800,000 copies.[22]

Music video[edit]

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

Tracklisting[edit]

  • United Kingdom
CD1
  1. "Uptown Girl" (Radio Edit) - 3:06
  2. "Angel's Wings" (2001 Remix) - 4:14
  3. "Uptown Girl" (Video) - 3:14
CD2
  1. "Uptown Girl" (Radio Edit) - 3:06
  2. "Uptown Girl" (Extended Version) - 5:02
  3. "Behind The Scenes Footage & Band Messages"
DVD
  1. "Uptown Girl" (Video) - 3:14
  2. "Behind The Scenes Footage & Band Messages"
  • Japan
  1. "Uptown Girl" (Radio Edit) - 3:06
  2. "Uptown Girl" (Extended Version) - 5:02
  3. "Angel's Wings" (Original Version) - 4:02
  4. "Close Your Eyes" - 4:32
  5. "Uptown Girl" (Video) - 3:14
  6. "Behind The Scenes Footage & Band Messages"

Charts[edit]

Chart successions[edit]

Preceded by
"It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy featuring Rikrok
Irish IRMA number one single
10 March 2001 (6 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Survivor" by Destiny's Child
Preceded by
"It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy featuring Rikrok
UK number-one single
March 11, 2001 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Pure and Simple" by Hear'Say

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Billy Joel - Uptown Girl". Discogs. 
  2. ^ "Channel Five Interview" on YouTube
  3. ^ "Billy Joel Visits. 11/16/10. 7:55am". Howard Stern archive. Marksfriggin.com. November 16, 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Billy Joel Website Interview
  5. ^ Dean, Maury (2003). Rock N' Roll Gold Rush. Algora. pp. 137–138. ISBN 0-87586-207-1. 
  6. ^ Ami Sedghi (4 November 2012). "UK's million-selling singles: the full list". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  7. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Billy Joel – Uptown Girl". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  8. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Billy Joel – Uptown Girl" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  9. ^ "Ultratop.be – Billy Joel – Uptown Girl" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  10. ^ Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada
  11. ^ "Billy Joel: Uptown Girl" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  12. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  13. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Billy Joel search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  14. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Billy Joel – Uptown Girl". Top 40 Singles.
  15. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Billy Joel – Uptown Girl". VG-lista.
  16. ^ ""Uptown Girl" on the South African Singles Chart". Springbok Radio. January 13, 1984. Retrieved September 25, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Billy Joel Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Billy Joel.
  18. ^ "Billy Joel Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Billy Joel.
  19. ^ * Zimbabwe. Kimberley, C. Zimbabwe: singles chart book. Harare: C. Kimberley, 2000
  20. ^ UK certifications Bpi.co.uk (Retrieved 2 September 2008)
  21. ^ "BPI Certified Awards". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  22. ^ The nation’s favourite Westlife tracks revealed!
  23. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Westlife – Uptown Girl". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  24. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Westlife – Uptown Girl" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  25. ^ "Ultratop.be – Westlife – Uptown Girl" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  26. ^ "Ultratop.be – Westlife – Uptown Girl" (in French). Ultratip.
  27. ^ "Danishcharts.com – Westlife – Uptown Girl". Tracklisten.
  28. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc (2001-03-24). "Billboard". 
  29. ^ "Westlife: Uptown Girl" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  30. ^ "Lescharts.com – Westlife – Uptown Girl" (in French). Les classement single.
  31. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  32. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Westlife – Uptown Girl". Top Digital Download.
  33. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Westlife search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  34. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Westlife – Uptown Girl". Top 40 Singles.
  35. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Westlife – Uptown Girl". VG-lista.
  36. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Westlife – Uptown Girl" Canciones Top 50.
  37. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Westlife – Uptown Girl". Singles Top 60.
  38. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Westlife – Uptown Girl". Swiss Singles Chart.
  39. ^ "Westlife: Artist Chart History" UK Singles Chart.
  40. ^ Radio 1 Official Chart of the Decade, as broadcast on BBC Radio 1 on Tuesday 29th December 2009, presented by Nihal

External links[edit]