'Uptown Girl': Not Actually About Christie Brinkley...

And more sometimes surprising stories behind the songs
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2010 11:39 AM CDT
Stories Behind the Songs: Billy Joel's 'Uptown Girl' About Elle MacPherson, Not Christie Brinkley
American electric folk hero Bob Dylan (born Robert Zimmerman) and singer, songwriter Joan Baez in Embankment Gardens, London.   (Getty Images)

Inspired by Taylor Swift, who regularly pens songs about her real-life boyfriends, the New York Daily News lists six stories behind six classic songs. Most come from new book The Girl in the Song by Michael Heatley and Frank Hopkinson:

  • Billy Joel, “Uptown Girl”: Contrary to popular belief, this song is about Elle MacPherson, not Christie Brinkley. Joel dated MacPherson before Brinkley.
  • Bob Dylan, “It Ain’t Me Babe”: The singer had an affair with Joan Baez in the ‘60s—and then penned this song as a kiss-off to her. She returned the favor with “Diamonds and Rust.”

  • Leonard Cohen, “Chelsea Hotel No. 2”: Penned after a sexual encounter with Janis Joplin at the Chelsea Hotel—before which she admitted to him that she’d rather have hooked up with Kris Kristofferson. (Line from the song: “You told me you preferred handsome men.”)
  • The Kinks, “Lola”: This song, about a drag queen, is supposedly about Candy Darling—who also supposedly dated Kinks leader Ray Davies.
For the complete list, click here—or click here for more songs that are secretly about other celebrities. (Read more Elle MacPherson stories.)

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