Billy Joel: Only the Good Die Young

This is a kind of funny post because this song is so old. But it always grates on me when I pass over it while sifting through stations – or happen to stop on it. :eek: (And just when I was thinking of posting on it, it popped up on my radio!) I think what gets to me about it is not only that it’s so backward but that there’s a tiny bit of wisdom in it, too. In any case, if anyone is up for joining me, I’m looking forward to putting this song in it’s place. :smiley: (Sorry, it’s not as powerful in the written lyrical form.)

Come out Virginia, don’t let me me wait
You Catholic girls start much too late
But sooner or later it comes down to fate
I might as well be the one
They showed you a statue and told you to pray
They built you a temple and locked you away
But they never told you the price that you pay
For things that you might have done…
Only the good die young

You might have heard I run with a dangerous crowd
We ain’t too pretty we ain’t too proud
We might be laughing a bit too loud
But that never hurt no one
Come on Virginia show me a sign
Send up a signal I’ll throw you the line
The stained-glass curtain you’re hiding behind
Never lets in the sun
And only the good die young

You got a nice white dress and a party on your confirmation
You got a brand new soul
And a cross of gold
But Virginia they didn’t give you quite enough information
You didn’t count on me
When you we’re counting on your rosary

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
Sinners are much more fun…
And only the good die young

You say your mother told you all that I could give you was a reputation
She never cared for me
But did she ever say a prayer for me?

For starters I’m going to be really picky and quote the Catechism:

1856 …But when the sinner’s will is set upon something that of its nature involves a disorder, but is not opposed to the love of God and neighbor, such as thoughtless chatter or **immoderate laughter **and the like, such sins are venial.

1863 Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul’s progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin.

1472 …On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory…

I can go on… Anybody else? How about sinners being more fun? Don’t they suffer by making themselves wretched?

I have got to say that this song has always bothered me. I think
it is disrespectful to our church and beliefs. I do not appreciate
this song or any song that mocks peoples beliefs whether it
was about my faith or anyone else’s for that matter. I would be
lying if I didn’t say I have always hated this song and always
turn it off if I hear it. :frowning:

I used to like this song way back when I didn’t understand it. When it was just “da-da-da da-da only the good die young!” I liked the beat, the musicality, etc. The first time I actually listened to the lyrics though, “hey… .hang on… that’s not right!”

There are a lot of songs like that. At least this one is straight forward about its message though. It’s the ones that sneak in philosophies that are counter to Christian doctrine, but subtly so, and sound good that are more of a problem.

I have always felt this song was less about the Church and more about a man trying to convince a lady to take the next step. But the man is still trying to convince her at the end of the song. I say the church won this battle, and the man had to wait for another day.

There is also two other ode’s to women on the same album as only the good … Just the Way You Are is an expression of pure and simple love, She Always a Women to Me expresses the strength of a woman.

Only the Good… reminds me of all the guys that used to hang around our house to visit my sister. They all left a bit sad.

As a piano player I always liked Billy Joel for the fact that he was/is a great piano player. I’ve even seen him in concert. But I was never really ga-ga over him and once I listened to that song, I’ve decided he’s a jag. So whenever one of his songs come on, I turn it off - even if it’s a song I used to enjoy.

And I’m not typically so hard like that.

So no one’s saying the song has any valid points?

I alkways thought that it was written by a Jewish guy who thought that Catholic girls were hot, much as we thought Jewish girls were hot :smiley: .

I hate this song … and my wife loves Billy Joel so I’ve had to endure hearing it live in concert three times. :mad:

:eek: :frowning:

It’s not about Catholicism or Christianity at all. It’s about a young guy who wants the wrong sort of good time and has decided that religion, since it stands in the way, must be wrong.

He could just as easily have written it to a Hindu, a Mormon, or a nice Orthodox Jewish girl - or any girl whose father wouldn’t let her out!

My wife doesn’t like the song. It was on the radio a couple of weeks ago. I thought is was cute to sing it to her.:o Not a good idea. But I have mended my ways.:blush: Tim

Whenever you hear it, just play this one, and pretend the girl is Virginia:

I got a little change in my pocket
Goin ching-a-ling-a-ling
Wanna call you on the telephone, baby
Give you a ring
But each time we talk
I get the same old thing
Always, "No huggee, no kissee
Until I get a wedding ring."
My honey, my baby
Don’t put my love upon no shelf
She said, “Don’t hand me no lines
And keep your hands to yourself.”

B-b-baby, baby, baby
Why you gonna treat me this way?
You know I’m still your loverboy
I still feel the same way
Thats when she told me a story
About free milk and a cow
She said, "No huggee, no kissee
Until I get a wedding vow."
My honey, my baby
Don’t put my love upon no shelf
She said, “Don’t hand me no lines
And keep your hands to yourself.”

See I wanted her real bad
And I was about to give in
Thats when she started talking about true love
Started talking about sin
I said, "Honey, I’ll live with you for the rest of my life."
She said, "No huggee, no kissee
Until you make me a wife."
My honey, my baby
Don’t put my love upon no shelf
She said, “Don’t hand me no lines
And keep your hands to yourself.”

(words and music by the Georgia Satellites)


Yes. That a jerk laboring under the The-Immediate-Needs-of-My-Groin worldview will say anything to close the deal. Used car salesman are more tolerable.

Ah yes, be fruitful and close the deal. :hmmm:

This is a great song. It is representative of the allure of Satan to get us to come to the other side.

What are Satan’s great lies:

  1. God deprives His followers of fun and happiness. (“rather laugh w/ sinners than cry w/ saints”

  2. Everybody is weak and succumbs to sin (“it comes down to fate”)

  3. Your shallow religion won’t protect you. (“You didn’t count on me When you we’re counting on your rosary”)

  4. Your religion is hypocritical. (mother didn’t like me but did she ever pray for me?)

Finally, I am glad that our Church as the one picked as the obstacle to sin.

Might I add: good girls are waaaay hotter than bad girls. Another reason I can’t understand what my wife sees in this song.

You may and you would be correct sir.

Hah! That song always reminded me of “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights” by Meatloaf!





DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit