Only the Good Die Young" is a song from Billy Joel's 1977 rock album The Stranger. It was the third of four singles released from the album. The song was controversial for its time, with the lyrics written from the perspective of a young man determined to have sex with a Catholic girl. The song was inspired by a high school crush of Joel's, Virginia Callahan
A classic lusty pop-rock tune from the hit 1977 album, The Stranger, Only the Good Die Young was inspired by a high school crush of Billy Joel’s, Virginia Callahan. The narrator believes that the girl is refusing him because she comes from a religious Catholic family; she believes sex before marriage is sinful. The song was cited as anti-Catholic and was banned by many radio stations. Joel told Performing Songwriter magazine, When I wrote ‘Only the Good Die Young’, the point of the song wasn’t so much anti-Catholic as pro-lus. he minute they banned it, the album started shooting up the.
Captured on the third take, Only the Good Die Young burns with a fiery rock ‘n’ roll spirit, the bright acoustic guitars and zydeco-flavored organ jabs slicing against DeVitto’s propulsive backbeat. The song came out on The Stranger and was no big deal, Joel remembered. But then Columbia decided to put it out as a single, and that’s when there were problems. The song was supposed to be lighthearted. It was taken out of context with the rest of the album. People who only heard that single might’ve thought, ‘Oh, Billy Joel the anti-Catholic gu. On 2005’s career-spanning box set My Lives, there’s an unreleased early reggae take of the song. It’s a cool version, but Liberty DeVitto was right.
Find more of Billy Joel lyrics. It also came on the heels of a time when the memory of sweeping epidemics taking many young lives. The saying "only the good die young" was used to console parents that their lost child was taken because he or she was too good for earth and God wanted them in heaven. Billy didn't make it up, he just borrowed it. In the song, the singer is very simply trying to convince "Virgin"ia that she could avoid an untimely death by allowing him to be her first (it comes down to fate).
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When I wrote ‘Only the Good Die Young,’ the point of the song wasn’t so much anti-Catholic as pro-lust, Billy Joel said. The object of Joel’s affections was one Virginia Callahan, an unrequited crush from his high school days in Levittown, Long Island. In 1999, the piano man reminisced, One of the first gigs I ever played with my high-school band the Echoes, this girl that I had a crush on was looking at me-Virginia. He’d already scored Top 40 hits with Piano Man and The Entertainer and was writing songs for what became his breakthrough album, 1977’s The Stranger. On Only the Good Die Young, he reapproached his crush with these brashly humorous opening lines: Come out Virginia, don’t let me wait. You Catholic girls start much too late. Copied from The Story Behind Billy Joel's "Only the Good Die Young" by Lydia Hutchinson ). 630 views · View 1 Upvoter.
|A||Only The Good Die Young||3:54|
|B||Get It Right The First Time||3:32|
- Manufactured By – CBS Records Canada Ltd.
- Producer – Phil Ramone
|3-10750||Billy Joel||Only The Good Die Young (7", Single, Mono, Promo)||Columbia, Family Productions||3-10750||US||1977|
|CBS 6528, CBS S 6528||Billy Joel||Only The Good Die Young (7", Single, Promo)||CBS, CBS||CBS 6528, CBS S 6528||Germany||1978|
|CBS 6528, CBS S 6528||Billy Joel||Only The Good Die Young (7", Single)||CBS, CBS||CBS 6528, CBS S 6528||Germany||1978|
|3-10750||Billy Joel||Only The Good Die Young (7", Single, Styrene, Mon)||Columbia, Family Productions||3-10750||US||1978|
|3-10750||Billy Joel||Only The Good Die Young (7", Single)||Columbia||3-10750||US||1977|