“They say there’s a heaven for those who will wait.
Some say it’s better but I say it ain’t.
I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.
The sinners are much more fun…
You know that only the good die young.”
‘Only the Good Die Young’ is a song from Billy Joel from the album The Stranger (1977). The song was controversial for its time, with the lyrics written from the perspective of a young man determined to deflower a catholic girl.The object of Joel’s affections was one Virginia Callahan, an unrequited crush from his high school days.In an interview with the American magazine Performing Songwriter, Joel said: “When I wrote ‘Only the Good Die Young,’ the point of the song wasn’t so much anti-Catholic as pro-lust.” But however he thought the single release wasn’t a big deal, there were a lot of people offended by the lyrics. First it was only a college radio station, but soon after also thearchdiocese of St. Louis and eventuallythe Catholic leadership across the United States were banning the song. This all backfired, becausethe minute they banned it, it starting shooting up in the charts.When his The Stranger tour brought him in St. Louis in 1978, he received death threats warning him against performing the song.Joel hit back with a vengeance: he played it twice and got the whole audience to sing along.
William Martin Joel is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. In 1973 he scored his first hit song with ‘Piano Man’ and kept going ever since with over 30 hits in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. All of which he wrote himself. Despite the fact that he stopped writing and releasing new music since 1993 (except for two songs in 2007), he continues to tour. He has sold more than 150 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. Not bad for a manwho ever thought he would make a career as a pro boxer.