13 Meanings
Add Yours
Share

Leningrad Lyrics

Viktor was born in the spring of '44
And never saw his father anymore
A child of sacrifice, a child of war
Another son who never had a father after Leningrad

Went off to school and learned to serve the state
Followed the rules and drank his vodka straight
The only way to live was drown the hate
A Russian life was very sad
And such was life in Leningrad

I was born in '49
A cold war kid in McCarthy time
Stop 'em all at the 38th Parallel
Blast those yellow reds to hell
And cold war kids were hard to kill
Under their desks in an air raid drill
Haven't they heard we won the war
What do they keep on fighting for?

Viktor was sent to some Red Army town
Served out his time, became a circus clown
The greatest happiness he'd ever found
Was making Russian children glad
And children lived in Leningrad

But children lived in Levittown
And hid in the shelters underground
Until the Soviets turned their ships around
And tore the Cuban missiles down
And in that bright October sun
We knew our childhood days were done
And I watched my friends go off to war
What do they keep on fighting for?

And so my child and I came to this place
To meet him eye to eye and face to face
He made my daughter laugh, then we embraced
We never knew what friends we had
Until we came to Leningrad
Song Info
Submitted by
Submitted on
May 03, 2001
13 Meanings
An error occured.

Amazingly powerful song; genius from a rocker. Musically, this song is stunning because the construction adds so much to the lyrics. Note that the passages dedicated to the USSR are written in (D) Major, a key of joy and optimism, while the passages on the good ol' USA are in D Minor. Where is the retrospective pathos and tragedy in this song? Brilliant.

An error occured.

This song is probably an anti-war message to remove the hostility between the soviets and the americans, as exhibited by," Haven't they heard we won the war What do they keep on fighting for?" for the russians and then he repeats this line for the Americans when he says,"And I watched my friends go off to war What do they keep on fighting for?" The lyrics then state, "We never knew what friends we had Until we came to Leningrad." This line encompasses the main idea of the song that both sides of the war have been taught that the other side is evil, because of propaganda; but to the contrary, they share the same struggles and found this out when they finally met each other.

Song Meaning

The song was released in 1989, the same year the Berlin Wall fell.

If I knew something you didn't than you had better not come 'round these parts within the next few mintues 'cause I'm goin' to strip down and run naked screaming around the yard as I make Woot Woot noises! Yes, Baby!!!

It was actually released on 30th October 1989. And the Berlin Wall fell ten days later, on 9th November. If I didn't know better, I'd say this song is what caused it.

An error occured.

This is a true story of when Billy Joel went to Lenigrad during the Cold War. He met a clown, who's job was to make people laugh in the midst of all the pain and depression.

"He made my daughter laugh, then we embraced"

He was amazed at how this man could make it daughter laugh through all the drama so we wanted to learn more about him. He did and he made a sotry about it.

An error occured.

this is such a sad and beautiful song

An error occured.

This is pretty self-explanatory; it's about a longtime fan from the USSR that he met when he went on tour there in the late 80's (read up on significance of the tour). He was a clown by profession.

An error occured.

I think there is alot to what suckmykiss said, but I think there's an additional element. Billy refers to his life back in the US, being a "cold war kid in McCarthy time," and its similarities to Viktor's life in the Russia of Lenin, Stalin and Gorbachev. While the song is an acknowledgement of respect for a fan, it also tells the fan "hey, I can definitely sympathize with you. stay strong, brother."

An error occured.

Except there's alot of poetic licence in that, Don. There's really no way for someone who grew up free to relate to what the Soviet citizens had to go through

An error occured.

What can you really say about this song? Admittedly, yes, that's what it means... But, really, you can barely even put this songs into words. This is one of Billy Joel's most moving songs, and it struck me as incredible.

An error occured.

What can you really say about this song? Admittedly, yes, that's what it means... But, really, you can barely even put this songs into words. This is one of Billy Joel's most moving songs, and it struck me as incredible.

An error occured.

What he grew up to beleive was his sworn enemy actually turned out to be his friend. The song is especially poignant given that the Cold War ended soon after.

An error occured.