THE GIRL IN THE SONG – PART 3.- Bob Dylan, Phil Collins, Toto, Billy Joel, The Knack.


Bob Dylan – It Ain’t Me Babe, Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right, Sara, Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, Love Minus Zero, No Limit, and Abandoned Love. girl33

Joan Baez thought that the song It Ain’t Me Babe, clearly wasn’t the nicest gift Dylan could have given her, the two had met in 1961, when Baez was an up-and-coming folk singer and Dylan was a nobody from Hibbing, Minnesota. Desperate to make his break in the music biz, Dylan worked like crazy to get Baez’s attention, he eventually ended up going on tour with her, which is how he first became famous, but later he would very publicly spurn her.

Between 1961-63 Dylan was besotted with Suze Rotolo, who would appear with Dylan on the iconic cover of his album Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963), arm-in-arm huddled against the winter cold of New York’s West Village.girl26She was said to be the inspiration for the Dylan classic Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right., when Dylan insisted that she have an abortion after falling pregnant to him, but the couple parted soon after.

Dylan dated Baez for a short time, but a flaming row whilst on tour in Europe would end their relationship and Dylan would marry Sara Lowndes in 1965 (below), six months after ditching Baez, and then dedicate several songs to Lowndes including Sara, Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, Love Minus Zero, No Limit; Abandoned Love, and Blood on the Tracks, which all neatly traced the trajectory of their marriage, which ended in 1977.girl34

Phil CollinsIn The Air Tonight

Phil Collins showbiz career started as a child actor with parts in the Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night and the role of the Artful Dodger in the West End musical Oliver!, (below with Jack Wild on the right), the fact that his mother was a London casting agent no doubt ensured young Phil’s early success. girl37He knew Andrea Bertorelli as a fellow student at the London stage school, and they would later be reunited after a Genesis concert in Vancouver in 1974 and married a year later (below with little Joely), settling down in the UK where Collins adopted Andrea’s daughter Joely from an earlier failed marriage, a second child, Simon arrived in 1976. girl38The touring schedule for Genesis was very hectic, the band were toppermost of the poppermost, and Phil was the undisputed leader of the group after Peter Gabriel departed in 1975.  But Andrea was lonely and while she was having the family home refurbished began an affair with the painter-decorator, the marriage was already in trouble due to Phil’s long absences on tour, and according to Andrea, his infidelity and controlling behaviour towards her.girl40Upon returning home from tour Collins found his home empty and his family departed. That night he recorded In The Air Tonight on his home tape deck and drum machine, improvising a few sombre piano chords, and without writing anything down, he channeled all his anger and pain into creating his career-defining hit. Notable for its icy synths which tip toe through the intro, until the resounding percussion crashes in, courtesy of producer Hugh Padgham’s gated reverb drums, it was a sound that came to define the music of the 80’s, and sent Collins solo career into hyperspace.When Collins performed the song on BBC’s Top of the Pops he perched a paint pot and brushes on top of his controls, in a wry nod to his ex-wife’s lover.


Conventional wisdom had it that either Toto guitarist Steve Lukather or drummer Steve Pocaro wrote the band’s huge hit Rosanna, as both musos had co-habited with the actress Rosanna Arquette while the band was writing and recording their fourth album Toto 1V in 1983. girl44But in reality the song was written by Toto keyboardist David Paich (below), who had never co-habited with Arquette, but had been inspired by three other girls that he knew, who became the composite for the song.david paichArquette was a constant presence in the studio bringing the band refreshments during the recording sessions and her first name became the convenient lyric for a recurring three – note phrase during the verses ” take you all the way… Rosanna, Rosanna”, so Paich appropriated “Rosanna” and it became the song title.The promo video is a gritty street scene with the band performing the song while dancer Cynthia Rhodes, who would later co-star in the movie Dirty Dancing, twirls around the set; her future co-star in that movie, Patrick Swayze also appears briefly towards the end of the clip, removing his red leather jacket and shaping up for a clash between two West Side Story-style gangs.      

Billy Joel – Uptown Girl

Billy Joel originally wrote Uptown Girl about his Australian supermodel girlfriend Elle MacPherson, who was 19 years-old, and co-habiting with the piano man at the time. Soon after the pair broke up, Joel won the heart of another supermodel, Christie Brinkley. girl46The song was released in 1983, two years before the two tied the knot, so it seems that both women probably inspired the lyrics. The song is about an average “downtown” man, a.k.a. Joel, who falls for beautiful and sophisticated “uptown” women, Christie appears in the promo video sashaying with grease monkey Billy, and on a billboard sign above the garage, while Elle appears in a pinup photo inside Billy’s locker in the garage, in the opening scene.elleThe song was originally titled Uptown Girls because Joel was also squiring many of the most famous women of the ’80s, including Whitney Houston, at the time. Joel has also commented that the melody, and harmony arrangement was inspired by the falsetto hits of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the legendary Jersey Boys, hit makers of the 60’s and 70’s. Joel and Brinkley married in 1985 and divorced in 1994. Joel (4), Brinkley (4) and McPherson (2) were definitely the trifecta in the matrimonial stakes with 10 marriages between them , so far!


The Knack – My Sharona

girl48It was love at first sight when Doug Fieger laid eyes on Sharona Alperin, he was 27 at the time and she was 16, and beneath the bright up tempo beat, and insistent bassline of the melody, the lyrics revealed a tale of lust and longing “ Never gonna stop, give it up/ Such a dirty mind/ Always get it up for the touch of the younger kind”. She appeared on the cover of the single, which became one of the biggest debut hits by any band, a song that Fieger claimed to have written in under 30 minutes, it was of course 1979’s  My Sharona. rogue traders8Fieger and Alperin were together for four years, even briefly engaged, but went their separate ways in 1983. Fieger died prematurely in 2010, with Sharona by his side, but Alperin went on to become a celebrity realtor in Los Angeles and currently promotes her listings on her website,, and her ringtone is, you guessed it, My Sharona.

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