Billy Joel serenades ex-wife Christie Brinkley with 'Uptown Girl' before their daughter joins him

29 April 2024, 14:31

Billy Joel sings Uptown Girl to ex-wife Christie
Billy Joel sings Uptown Girl to ex-wife Christie. Picture: Getty/Christie Brinkley

By Tom Eames

Billy Joel's recent appearance at his long-standing Madison Square Garden residency turned into a family event.

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The Piano Man took the stage on Friday, April 26, for the 147th show of his distinguished career at the famous venue.

The performance was made even more special as Billy Joel was joined by his daughter Alexa Ray Joel, according to Us Weekly.

Christie Brinkley and Billy Joel in 1990
Christie Brinkley and Billy Joel in 1990. Picture: Getty

During a nostalgic segment of the evening, the performer, originally from New York City, sang 'Uptown Girl' to his former wife Christie Brinkley. Initially inspired by his relationship with supermodel Elle Macpherson, the song ultimately evolved to celebrate Brinkley, whom he would later marry.

As Joel delivered the iconic tune, the 1980s supermodel was seen dancing and swaying to the rhythm, her enjoyment amplified when shown on the large overhead monitor, bringing a broad smile to her face.

Originally, Joel had named the song 'Uptown Girls,' reflecting a time when he was hanging out with Macpherson, Brinkley, and Whitney Houston. In a 2010 interview with Howard Stern, Joel shared that he modified the song to focus solely on Brinkley, renaming it 'Uptown Girl' after his relationship with Macpherson ended.

Uptown Girl- Billy Joel at MSG with Christie Brinkley!

The lyrics from his ninth studio album An Innocent Man (1983), depict a downtown man attempting to woo a sophisticated uptown girl. Brinkley also appeared in the music video, where Joel and his backup singers, dressed as auto mechanics, dance around a garage with her as she arrives in a Rolls-Royce.

The video includes a poster of Brinkley, promoting 'Uptown Cosmetics,' and concludes with Joel and Brinkley riding off on a motorcycle.

'Uptown Girl' achieved significant success, peaking at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks in late 1983 and reaching the top spot in the UK for five weeks, marking Joel's only number-one hit there. Inspired by the 1950s sound of Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons, it was the second best-selling single of 1983 in the UK, just behind Culture Club's 'Karma Chameleon'.

Joel and Brinkley married in March 1985, roughly a year and a half after 'Uptown Girl' was released, and welcomed their daughter nine months post-wedding. However, they divorced in 1994.

Alexa Ray, now 38, joined her father on stage to perform 'To Sir, With Love' (1967) and 'Say Goodbye To Hollywood' from her father's fourth album Turnstiles (1976).

Billy Joel announced in June 2023 that he would conclude his MSG residency, which began in January 2014 with a commitment to play monthly, in July 2024 with his 104th performance in the series.

This will mark his 150th appearance at MSG. With his recent show being the 147th, only three more concerts remain in his residency at the renowned venue.