BILLY JOEL: "Allentown" Gets Rebooted
Billy Joel's song "Allentown" is getting new lyrics as the Pennsylvania city it depicts celebrates its 250th anniversary.
Billy Joel's song "Allentown" is getting new lyrics as the Pennsylvania city it depicts celebrates its 250th anniversary. But Billy isn't working on the new words -- Australian-born actor and musician Barte Shadlow is. Allentown's newpaper The Morning Call says his goal is to reflect Allentown's turnaround since the song's '80s chart heyday. Shadlow, who has hosted the HGTV series Renovations and was a carpenter on the NBC and Discovery Kids program Trading Spaces, has just under two months to finish the job. The city wants to debut the rebooted "Allentown" September 29th during the official celebration of its 250th anniversary.
Shadlow, who has lived in Eastern Pennsylvania for over a decade, admits Joel's original version -- produced during a decade of closing steel mills and auto plants in the region -- "painted a kind of gloomy picture. [But] a lot has happened in 30 years, and it would be nice if we could rework the song to show what's changed."
Shadlow and local businessman David Olson have reached out to Billy about performing the song at the city's celebration. But they have yet to hear back.