"Lonely Boy" written by Andrew Gold...
He was born on a summer day 1951
And with a slap of a hand
He landed as an only son
His mother and father said what a lovely boy
We'll teach him what we learned
Ah yes just what we learned
We'll dress him up warmly and
We'll send him to school
It'll teach him how to fight
To be nobody's fool

Oh what a lonely boy
Oh what a lonely boy
Oh what a lonely boy

In the summer of '53 his mother
Brought him a sister
And she told him we must attend to her needs
She's so much younger than you
Well he ran down the hall and he cried
Oh how could his parents have lied
When they said he was an only son
He thought he was the only one

Oh what a lonely boy
Oh what a lonely boy
Oh what a lonely boy

Goodbye mama, goodbye to you
Goodbye papa I'm pushing on through

He left home on a winter day 1969
And he hoped to find all the love
He had lost in that earlier time
Well his sister grew up
And she married a man
He gave her a son
Ah yes a lovely son
They dressed him up warmly
They sent him to school
It taught him how to fight
To be nobody's fool

Oh what a lonely boy
Oh what a lonely boy
Oh what a lonely boy


Lyrics submitted by richie

"Lonely Boy" as written by Andrew M. Gold

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Lonely Boy song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is about a kid with very over-protective parents, by the lines "we'll teach him what we learned, Ah yes JUST what we learned" and "dressed him up warmly" suggest that they are trying to shield him from the parts of the world that they don't approve of. They tell him that he must be sheltered so much because he's their only son, which he accepts because he will have all of their love and attention. Then, they have another child and give all of their attention to it instead of him, yet continue to shelter him. He lives out his life as a minor very lonely because he is sheltered into loneliness and has no one that fully loves him. When he turns 18 (51-69), he left the family home, hoping to find someone to love him and make up for the sad and lonely life he had growing up.
    La_Grange57on July 15, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is about the jealousy that most children feel when they're no longer the youngest and their parents attention is focused on a new sibling. Unfortunately for some reason this guy apparently never got over that feeling, which is kind of sad really.
    Assgasmon January 20, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIf anyone knows about Andrew the meaning is quite simple. Andrew was born on August 2, 1951 . This is of course referring to Andrew himself. Then his sister was born in 1953, don't have the exact date, but this is referred to in the song as well
    musiqlovron November 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere's something about this song. I can't place it, but it hits my ear like a great pop song. Love it.
    RogerClyneon April 28, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about family planning lols. Wait, what?

    Normally you'd think having a sibling would make you less lonely, but somehow it didn't work out that way for this guy. Even though it's a substantial chunk of the lyrics of this song, it somehow comes off to me as just like, one example of how even something that should have been great for him didn't quite work out like it was supposed to.

    Like a lot of families these days, they just end up moving far apart and he watches the cycle repeat itself from who knows how many hundreds of miles apart. Instead of a payoff where he ends up really close with his sister, they just have to live out their separate lives, far apart.

    So in the very beginning of his life, he resents his sister for the attention she got, and somehow he can never shake a guilty feeling for that, and then when they are older, he misses her badly and how physically and also emotionally far apart they have become. And you get this sense that there's this big journey implied in between, where just mentioning this family stuff is like a big secret, the kind of thing you might just barely guess at as being the thing in the corner of somebody's eye, as they stare off into the distance over a beer.

    I just saw Atlanta's "Yacht Rock Review" in Athens GA and this was one of their best numbers!

    Also, guess who went home losers tonight...GA TECH, that's who! They had it projected on a big screen, it was totally epic. The dorks lose again wooooooo looooosersss WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
    LouEx2Obbon November 28, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAbout a boy who was very loved then had to learn to live without his parents, at least figuratively.
    RoseTeaCup1216on January 20, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAgree with La_Grange57. It's a very instructive song which has stuck with many people ever since they heard it, way back when.
    sdz896542on January 20, 2016   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionI remember this song well as when it was a hit, I was a little boy who suffered from a lot of depression. I knew when I listened to the lyrics that my younger brother's birth was NOT the cause of my loneliness, so I recognized that this song's lonely boy, and perhaps other lonely boys (and girls) out there had different reasons for feeling desperately alone and unloved.

    Don't worry, I'm mostly okay now, but thanks for saying "awwwww!' in your mind.

    I was, in fact, loved as a boy. For various reasons, I had periods when I did not FEEL loved.

    What struck me about this song at the time is how ridiculously short and simple it was.

    He was born first and an only child for two years, thought it was made him special,. put all his emotional self-esteem eggs in that basket (at age two, really?) then a sister's birth upsets his worldview and sense of self.

    Okay, that is unfortunate, one would hope he'd welcome the new addition and rejoice at gaining a playmate.

    For this emotional hurdle to somehow fester and form him into a cold, unloving jerk who bolts for the door the second he reaches 18 is pathetic and quite disturbing....but then....

    It ends.

    The story just ends.

    I know his sister has a family ()a son at that) and she follows her parents' child-rearing philosophy and "the cycle continues", the "wheel turns" and all that, but it's over. The song just ends.

    All I can think the end is saying is that possibly Andrew Gold deeply regrets that his EARLY childhood confusion that "only son" meant "only one" prevented him from having a meaningful, loving relationship with his sister and quite possibly any woman and so he is left childless while his sister has managed to procreate.

    He is now very lonely indeed, as an adult and is coming to grips with the reasons why.

    Still, it is too short. There is no resolution. But then, perhaps Andrew Gold himself had not yet had a resolution to his dilemma at the time he wrote the song. One can only hope it was cathartic for him and his life improved.

    With that, I think I'll check him out on Wikipedia since it's nearly 40 years later...

    Ha! Here's what Wiki says:

    "Although Gold put personal references in the lyrics to "Lonely Boy" (including his year of birth), he admitted in an interview that it was not autobiographical: "Maybe it was a mistake to do that, but I simply put in those details because it was convenient. I hadn't been a lonely boy at all — I'd had a very happy childhood."

    Also, since Gold died of heart failure in 2011, we cannot ask him "WTF?" about this song since if it wasn't autobiographical at aside from his birth date, what was this song really about?
    CravenImageson May 29, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentD's explication: The protagonist, the "Lonely Boy," got conscripted and never returned from Vietnam.

    Meanwhile his sister had a son thus completing the Circle of Life.

    Ultimately he [LB] suffered inexorably the fate of destiny.

    Therefore it wasn't fear or isolation from family, etc., it was the foreboding knowledge of existential doom, unusual in youth.
    dmarloweon April 30, 2017   Link

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