B. Joel's "Uptown Girl" Beat?

I happened to catch “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel on the radio. Suddenly, this time, I noticed the drum beat (for the most part) almost seems like that “fake” clap machine sound. Maybe I am wrong, and it is simply a constant snare drum beat. Maybe some drummers can chime in and give us their opinions. What’s the consensus?

Saw it in one concert. Drummer for the most part was just doing dub-dub… dub-dub-dub.

To me, it sounds like a regular pop drum beat with a snare on two and four, and the kick hitting 1, 3, and 3& (with variants) with a quarter note clap layered over the top. In parts of the song, the claps lay back to only clap on 2 and 4. To me, the claps actually sound pretty natural.

ETA: Here’s an isolated drum track.

I don’t know shit about drumming, but the lil’wrekkers tap dance class danced to it. It was an easy “tap-your-toe and this makes 1” beat. And is exactly why the tap teacher picked it for a bunch of 6yos.
ETA (they also wore tiny little cocktail waitress costumes, but that’s another story)

That isolated track almost sounds like a drum machine. Given the way Joel worked back them - fairly one-man-show - I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a drum machine he’d worked with sketching out the demo and decided to run with it.

Pretty standard rock beat with the double stroke on the three-AND for the bass drum. Adding the claps - and changing them during the chorus - gives it some emphasis that the rest of the drum track lacks. All in all, pretty standard and kinda dull. But Joel rarely tries to sell his rhythm. He’s all about selling personality and bright melody in his songs.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Definitely does not sound like a drum machine to me, especially one from 1983. Joel actually had a great drummer in Liberty DeVitto, though you wouldn’t necessarily know it, as he wasn’t particularly flashy on the Joel tunes.

Don’t know about the clap, but the rest of the drums sound different enough on different hits that I don’t think it’s a drum machine. Plus there’s a lot of the tempo shifting around.

As demonstrated, indirectly, by the ending of Buckaroo Banzai.

Sure it wasn’t a little cigarette girl costume? That’s what my daughter wore. :eek:

I believe Joel wrote this tune as a deliberate tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, who frequently used stomping and clapping in their recordings.

Compare Uptown Girl to the Seasons’ famous Sherry, and you’ll hear what I mean.

I hear clapping over the top of the drums.

By the way, I’ve found that owning drums and playing drums are two different things. :frowning:

Not a drum machine, definitely Liberty playing, and a deliberate (along with the whole album) tribute to soul/Motown music.

P.S. Hi Hoops, good to see you around here again!

Not getting the clap is actually a good thing. :slight_smile: