Super couple Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley divorced nearly 20 years ago. While their marriage didn’t last, hit songs — or in this case — videos last forever. It was with that spirit that Joel finally dusted off “Uptown Girl” last week at Madison Square Garden while Brinkley was in the front, dancing and smiling along, according to Vanity Fair.
The model, of course, was in the video for the song when it was a hit back in 1983. However, when Joel first conceived the song, Brinkley was only one of the girls he had in mind. Originally, the tune was titled “Uptown Girls,” and Joel was thinking of Brinkley, Whitney Houston and his girlfriend at the time, another super model, Elle Macpherson, at least that’s what he once told Howard Stern. In other interviews, Joel claimed that Macpherson was the sole inspiration, but that was all lost once the video for the Four Seasons-inspired song was released. Brinkley was featured prominently in the clip and for all intents and purposes, she was the “Uptown Girl.”
It was so closely associated with Brinkley that Joel opted to drop the song, which is one of his biggest hits and a fan favorite, from his set list during the his 1994 River of Dreams tour, which took place right around the time the couple split.
It was still even a subject he sought to avoid as recently as last year. He was quoted in The New York Times saying that he enjoyed teaching young musicians who “don’t ask me about what happened with Christie and ‘Uptown Girl.’”
However, Joel seems to have warmed up to the song again. The couple, who are parents to daughter Alexa, have remained friends and both seemed to be in good spirits last week at the Garden. Joel asked his camera crew to get footage of Brinkley dancing and smiling in the front row as he performed the song. Brinkley returned the good vibes by posting a selfie on Instagram, sporting the caption about Joel that read, “He’s still got it!”
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