"Only The Good Die Young" as written by and Billy Joel....
Come out Virginia, don't let 'em wait
You Catholic girls start much too late
Aw but sooner or later it comes down to faith
Oh I might as well be the one

Well, they showed you a statue, told you to pray
They built you a temple and locked you away
Aw, but they never told you the price that you pay
For things that you might have done
Only the good die young
That's what I said
Only the good die young
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
Aw but that never hurt no one

So come on Virginia show me a sign
Send up a signal and I'll throw you the line
The stained-glass curtain you're hiding behind
Never let's in the sun
Darlin' only the good die young
Woah
I tell ya
Only the good die young
Only the good die young

You got a nice white dress and a party on your confirmation
You got a brand new soul
Mmm, and a cross of gold
But Virginia they didn't give you quite enough information
You didn't count on me
When you were counting on your rosary
(Oh woah woah)

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
I tell ya
Only the good die young
Only the good die young

Well your mother told you all that I could give you was a reputation
Aw she never cared for me
But did she ever say a prayer for me? oh woah woah

Come out come out come out Virginia don't let 'em wait
You Catholic girls start much too late
Oh sooner or later it comes down to faith
Oh I might as well be the one
You know that only the good die young

I'm telling you baby
You know that only the good die young
Only the good die young
Only the good
Only the good die young


Lyrics submitted by kevin, edited by fewqacac, Irish Cowboy

"Only the Good Die Young" as written by Billy Joel

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Only The Good Die Young song meanings
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64 Comments

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  • +7
    General CommentFrom The Republican interview

    Q. "Only The Good Die Young" was controversial for the time. Did you know that was going to happen when you wrote it?

    A. We thought we might get some flack for it. I took it to the guys in the band, a couple of them are Catholic and I said "Do you have a problem with this?" and they said "No it's true." There'd been all these novels written and movies made about Jewish guilt and there was nothing about Catholic guilt which to me was the ying to the yang of Jewish guilt. Jewish guilt was all visceral and physical gut guilt. Catholic guilt is all incense and bats in the belfry and mental torment. The point of it wasn't anti-Catholic as much as it was pro-lust. In the end the girl kept her virginity...she remained chaste. When there was all this brouhaha, I was like "What's the problem?" But it did get banned. It got banned at Seton Hall University which was a Catholic college and I think the Archdiocese of St. Louis said "Don't buy this record." As soon as you tell kids they can't have something they want it. I wrote them a letter afterwards saying "Please ban my next record."
    atseabeachon October 17, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentUmmm I don't know why her name is Virginia, but I can see the Virginia=Virgin thing and makes sense for the purposes of the song. Anyways I always just thought the song was about him basically giving his argument to a Catholic girl to get her to have sex with him. He's trying to convince her to not be "good" by telling her that the good die young.
    corinned1018on March 29, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's definitely about wanting to shag some virgin. He makes a few good jabs at the Catholic church in the process, too, but in a way which still comes off as comical and light. My preacher grandfather used to say "only the good die young" when someone young died, as a way to comfort or explain what seemed unacceptable. He used to also say that bad people would live longer because God wasn't done with them yet and they weren't ready for Heaven. lol Do with that what you will...
    neurotic.housewifeon May 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis was my sister's mantra for a season or so... made her happy and feel cute and all that jazz, that it was okay just to relax and have a good time. No sex involved. ;) And we're not Catholic. LoL.
    luckypairofshoeson March 28, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah it is more about sex, in my opinion. It's about anyone who follows blindly a teaching (I think specificially Joel uses religious doctrine) without looking beyond it ("the stained glass curtain you're hiding behind / never lets in the sun").

    It does have sexual overtones of course, but that is the beauty of the song- its many layers and ambiguous meanings :)
    carabiner86on May 10, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthaha this is my mantra too...i was a catholic school girl for years. and i still haven't cut loose. this has kind of been dubbed my song by a few ppl.
    littlewingon January 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat double meaning:

    "You didn't count on me"
    count on = consider or rely on

    "When you were counting on your rosary"
    counting = saying a prayer at each rosary bead
    maharishion January 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe name Virginia is an obvious choice.
    maharishion January 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLol yeah I think you're right maharishi. I love this song...it's so full of life unlike religion...I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
    abc55555on February 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFor a while,"Only the Good Die Young" and "We Didn't Start the Fire" were banned from the radio. It was like,in the early 90's,I think. I forget exactly. I read that somewhere.
    Junoon February 21, 2005   Link

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