#890: ‘Only The Good Die Young’ – Billy Joel

I owe a lot of my music taste to my parents, as I’ve undoubtedly said before. However, my mother was the one who helped to build my taste the most. With her open-minded attitude to music, and a wide and varying taste, I owe a lot to the musical education I gained from her. One artist that she listened to quite a lot was Billy Joel. Therefore, by extension, I also listened to Billy Joel a lot.

My mother had managed to acquire a small handful of Billy Joel records over the years, and then when Billy Joel’s first and second greatest hits compilations were released on CD, she acquired that too through her strangely successful methods of winning radio station competitions. When I began to truly listen to music, I borrowed this greatest hits compilation and absolutely devoured it. Sure, most of the songs were ones I’d heard on the radio plenty of times before, but this allowed me to go beyond that, and hear others that I wasn’t quite aware of.

One track that caught my …ear, was ‘Only The Good Die Young’. Considering I was raised Catholic, I was somewhat surprised by the message portrayed in the song. See, I had never been raised in a strict Catholic tradition, so the ideas of young, innocent Catholic girls was never exactly something I was familiar with – heck, most of the ones I knew were more promiscuous than the non-religious. Maybe it had something to do with an oppression of basic human desires?

While I’d always found it humorous that pressure from religious groups managed to get this song banned upon its release, only to see an increase in its popularity, I always thought it was strange that the entirety of this song is Billy Joel trying his best to convince a girl to get with him. As Billy Joel said, it’s less of a ‘anti-religion’ song, and more of a ‘pro-lust’ song.


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