BillyJoel.comBack in 1982, Billy Joel scored a hit with "Allentown," turning the Pennsylvania city into a metaphor for the decline of American manufacturing. Now the town is poised to celebrate its 250th anniversary, and they're looking to rework Billy's hit into something a bit more cheery.
According to the Allentown Morning Call, an Australian musician named Barte Shadlow, who's lived in the area for nine years, is part of a team that's been tapped to compose new lyrics for "Allentown." He tells the paper that the original song "painted a kind of gloomy picture," adding, "The song is 30 years old, a lot has happened in 30 years, and it would be nice if we could rework the song to show what's changed."
As for who will perform the new version of "Allentown" -- scheduled to debut September 29 during the city's 250th celebration weekend -- that hasn't yet been decided. A business consultant who's overseeing the 250th celebration tells the paper, "It would be a hope that Billy Joel decides to pay tribute and do it." They've reached out to Billy's people, says the consultant, but nothing has been set up.
According to the paper, Allentown residents have a "love-hate relationship" with Billy's original hit. As the writer points out, "It's nice to have the name of your city playing on every radio in the country, but not so nice to have the city used as a symbol of America's crumbling industrial economy."
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