Watch Billy Joel Sing “Uptown Girl” to Ex-Wife Christie Brinkley More than 40 Years After He First Wrote It About Her

More than four decades since its release, Christie Brinkley is still Billy Joel‘s “Uptown Girl.” Joel sang the song to his ex-wife during his Madison Square Garden concert in New York City on Friday, April 26. The former supermodel and wife of Joel’s, Brinkley was in the audience for one of his MSG residency shows and posted a video on Instagram the day after the concert of her dancing and singing along to the 1983 hit.

Released on Joel’s ninth album An Innocent Man in 1983, “Uptown Girl” went to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The music video, directed by Jay Dubin, who worked on most of Joel’s videos at the time, featured Brinkley as a sophisticated, upper-class Uptown Girl” to Joels’ blue-collar mechanic.

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[RELATED: Behind the Meaning, and Women, of the Billy Joel Classic “Uptown Girl”]

At the time “Uptown Girl” was released, Joel and Brinkley were dating. Both married in 1985 and had a daughter Alexa Ray before divorcing in 1994.


40 years later and your ex man is still grinning at you like that while he sings the song he wrote about how rich and hot you are? Voodoo clam #fyp #billyjoel #christiebrinkley #madisonsquaregarden

♬ original sound – carly

During Joel’s April 26, daughter Alex Ray also took the stage to perform his 1976 song “Say Goodbye to Hollywood,” and the Lulu classic ‘To Sir With Love” from 1967 Sidney Poitier film of the same name, which she dedicated it to her father. “Thanks for singing us a song [Billy Joel] and [Alexa Ray Joel],” shared Brinkley on her social media of their performances. “You’ve got us feeling alright. Just a few snippets from a magical evening at the Garden.”

[RELATED: The Story Behind How Freddy Wexler Helped Billy Joel Write Songs Again, and “Turn the Lights Back On”]

In 2014, Joel also surprised Brinkley, who was in the audience during the start of his MSG residency, with a performance of “Uptown Girl.”

Being surrounded by supermodels partly inspired the lyrics to “Uptown Girl.” Joel got the idea for the song after a night in St. Barts in 1983, while hanging out with Brinkley, Whitney Houston, and his then-girlfriend model Elle Macpherson, and called it “Uptown Girls.”

NEW YORK – APRIL 25: (L-R) Christie Brinkley, Alexa Ray Joel, and Billy Joel attend the premiere of “Last Play At Shea” during the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival at the Tribeca Performing Arts Centre on April 25, 2010, in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

Initially written about his relationship with Macpherson, the song later shifted around his soon-to-be wife Brinkley. “We all met at the same time,” said Brinkley, who was on location at the time in St. Barts for a shoot with Macpherson, along with a then up-and-coming artist Houston when everyone ended up hanging out with Joel.

Though there was some discrepancy on whether Joel originally wrote “Uptown Girl” for model and former girlfriend Macpherson, Joel told Howard Stern that the song was about Brinkley.

“I started dating Christie and rather it be about all these different girls,” said Joel, “she became the ‘Uptown Girl.’ I started writing it about one person.”

In 2015, Brinkley also put the rumors to rest. “Well if that’s true,” said Brinkley on whether the song was about Macpherson, “then why wasn’t she in the video?”

Photo: Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images

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