Billy Joel

I actually wrote the song first as “well, it’s 9 o’clock on a Saturday.” That bit. Then I said, You know what? It needs some kind of an introduction to kind of set the mood and set the flavor. So I just played this kind of cocktail lounge thing, the hustle and bustle of waitresses going by – that kind of thing.

I was thinking of the Four Seasons, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and when I was thinking “Uptown Girl!” I was trying to sing like Frankie Valli. They had a song called “Ragdoll,” which was about a poor girl and a rich guy. So I just flipped it around and made it about a rich girl and a poor guy.

I’ve always said about 50% of what happens at a concert has to do with the audience. If you play for a dead audience you’re gonna stink. If we play for a great crowd we’re much better. You want ’em to make noise. It’s kinda like sex, if they don’t make noise, you ain’t doin’ it right.

I started just concentrating on songwriting when I was abut 20; I’d been in rock bands six or seven years, kinda got that out of my system, I said, “ok, you ain’t gonna be a rock star, you don’t look like a rock star, it probably ain’t gonna happen. So what you should do is write songs and maybe other people will do your songs.”

One of the last times that we played in the area before I wrote “Allentown,” I remember a guy coming up to us and saying, “You’re never coming back here.” I said, “Why do you say that?” He said, “Well, you’re probably gonna become a big star. Nobody who ever becomes big comes back here.” And I felt so sad for this kid, he seemed so bitter about it. I said, “Well, I’m coming back, no matter what.”

I run into people from the Lehigh Valley and Allentown all over the world, and they’re obviously doing pretty well. They say, “Oh, it’s pretty nice there now and there’s a lot of new businesses that have come into the area.” Nobody’s telling me, “Yeah, I left.” Everybody says, “You know, I’m there. It’s great. It’s really nice there, and you made our town famous.”