Billy Joel

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.”

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.