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Vienna
Song

Vienna

Billy Joel
Album:
The Stranger

Song meaning of Vienna by Billy Joel and what it is about


Joel was motivated to write poetry by his father, who abandoned the family when Joel was a young boy, and by trips to Vienna. Joel claims that "Vienna" is a metaphor for ageing, although it's also possible that he was thinking unconsciously about his father. In an interview from 2008, he discussed the song's message in general terms, saying that ..."you don't have to squeeze your whole life into your 20s and 30s trying to make it, trying to achieve that American dream, getting in the rat race and killing yourself. You have a whole life to live. I kind of used 'Vienna' as a metaphor, there is a reason for being old, a purpose".


He also said: "We treat old people in this country pretty badly. We put them in rest homes, we kinda kick them under the rug and make believe they don’t exist. They [the people in Vienna] don’t feel like that. In a lot of these older places in the world, they value their older people and their older people feel they can still be a part of the community and I thought 'This is a terrific idea' – that old people are useful – and that means I don’t have to worry so much about getting old because I can still have a use in this world in my old age. I thought 'Vienna waits for you…'"


In the decades since the song's initial debut as a B-side, its popularity has increased significantly. Joel's song has amassed over 450 million plays on Spotify alone, making it his fourth most listened song by 2023.


Song Lyrics of Vienna by Billy Joel


Slow down, you crazy child

You're so ambitious for a juvenile

But then if you're so smart

Tell me why are you still so afraid? Mm

Where's the fire, what's the hurry about?

You'd better cool it off before you burn it out

You've got so much to do

And only so many hours in a day, hey

 

But you know that when the truth is told

That you can get what you want or you can just get old

You're gonna kick off before you even get halfway through, ooh

When will you realize Vienna waits for you?

 

Slow down, you're doing fine

You can't be everything you wanna be before your time

Although it's so romantic on the borderline tonight, tonight

Too bad, but it's the life you lead

You're so ahead of yourself, that you forgot what you need

Though you can see when you're wrong

You know you can't always see when you're right

You're right

 

You've got your passion, you've got your pride

But don't you know that only fools are satisfied?

Dream on, but don't imagine they'll all come true, ooh

When will you realize Vienna waits for you?

 

Slow down, you crazy child

And take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while

It's alright, you can afford to lose a day or two, ooh

When will you realize Vienna waits for you?

 

And you know that when the truth is told

That you can get what you want or you could just get old

You're gonna kick off before you even get halfway through, ooh

Why don't you realize Vienna waits for you?

When will you realize Vienna waits for you?

Release Date

1977

Songwriter/s

Billy Joel

Producer/s

Phil Ramone

Label/s

Columbia Records

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