Uptown, Uptempo Woman — Randy Edelman

No Words, No Song
8 min readMay 13, 2022
Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

Today Randy Edelman is a well-known film and TV composer, but back in the mid-1970s he wrote and performed one of my favourite songs.

Although “Uptown, Uptempo Woman” wasn’t a global smash hit by any means, and just squeaked into the UK Top 30 for a couple of weeks in 1976, in my opinion it’s one of the finest songs, musically and lyrically, to make an appearance in the UK pop charts.

“Uptown, Uptempo Woman” tells a story, which I always like, but the structure and delivery of the song is a work of art. Our curiosity is fired up right out the starting gate…

It started out in innocence
The way that most things do

What an opener…if that’s not the sign of a great story to follow, I don’t know what is.

Nobody wants to turn the dial to a different radio station after hearing that. What exactly started in innocence? And what happens next? These are the questions our minds start looking for answers to just a few seconds in…

It started out in innocence
The way that most things do
A thousand people crammed in one place
But the only face was you

Ah, it’s our old friend, love at first sight…a favourite topic for songwriters through the ages.

But by this point, we’re already slightly confused. The lyrics seem like a really nice start to a traditional love song, but the musical accompaniment is a good deal more melancholy than loves songs tend to be, as a rule.

We’re only four lines in and we’re already intrigued. The lyrical set-up is a nicely crafted piece of “love at first sight” writing. But we also have a melancholy tune running underneath those words. Whatever else this is, it’s probably not another paint-by-numbers love song.

Straight away, we suspect we’re going to get two stories for the price of one here — first the falling in love, then the broken heart…

As a side note, Randy Edelman’s piano playing, as you might expect from someone who served his musical apprenticeship in the orchestra pits of Broadway theatres, is exemplary. I played the piano for long enough as a kid to recognise the little runs he works into “Uptown, Uptempo Woman” are devilishly hard to play, yet Randy Edelman carries them all off…

No Words, No Song

Without words, it’s just a nice tune. Add words — now you’ve got a song. And songs can change your world. I write about some that changed mine.