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Gasp! Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” Wasn’t Christie Brinkley After All

Lyndsey Parker
Stop The Presses!

Pop music's catalog is teeming with songs inspired by real-life women, and a new bombshell book, The Girl In The Song, details 50 female muses behind some of modern music's most iconic recordings, including the Kinks' "Lola," Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," George Harrison's "Something," Leonard Cohen's "Chelsea Hotel No. 2," the Knack's "My Sharona," Pink Floyd's "See Emily Play," and Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me Babe." Some of the book's findings are surprising (Neil's ditty was about Caroline Kennedy; the Kinks' Ray Davies wrote about Warhol-affiliated drag queen Candy Darling; Leonard sang about Janis Joplin). But perhaps the book's biggest shocker is that Billy Joel's smash "Uptown Girl" wasn't written about his then-wife Christie Brinkley, who famously played the titular character in that song's video...but by another '80s supermodel, Elle Macpherson.

[Photo: 44-year-old Elle still rocks the red carpet]

According to The Girl In The Song authors Michael Heatley and Frank Hopkinson, Billy was vacationing in the Caribbean when something happened to that only occurs during rock-star vacations or maybe in Penthouse Forum letters: He ran into Elle, his future missus Christie, and a then-unknown model/singer named Whitney Houston, all of whom were staying at the same hotel. Billy actually first dated the Australian Elle, not all-American beauty Christie, after that encounter, and Elle was in fact the model who inspired Billy's doo-woppy hit (which was then titled "Uptown Girls," plural). Later, Billy moved on to Christie, switched the song title to be singular, cast Christie in the "Uptown Girl" video, and made her his wife for the next nine years.

[Gallery: '80s supermodels, then and now]

You know, we wonder if Christie knew at the time that she wasn't really the uptown girl her downtown-man husband had in mind all long. Well, if she didn't know it then, she certainly does now.

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