Slow down, you crazy child
You're so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you're so smart, well, 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

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 doin' 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 awhile
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 can 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?


Lyrics submitted by fletch699, edited by JonasK

Vienna Lyrics as written by Billy Joel

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Vienna song meanings
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98 Comments

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  • +6
    General Comment

    This is such a deep and beautiful song, I can listen to it over and over again.

    The narrator is talking about a young person who still sees life as an adventure and is rushing out in the world, but doesn't take time to enjoy life to its fullest, while that is really the most essential thing. I think lots of people can relate to it. If you take one step at a time, you will get where you want as well; just don't rush in case you miss out on something. This person hasn't realized that yet.

    Life is not a destination, it's a journey.

    Ashley765on July 11, 2006   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    This song means alot to me personally, as it does to many.

    A year ago I found myself crying listening to this as I realized I was yet another child he was saying this too. Since than I've slowed down and take life one day at a time, enjoying it as much as I can. To my horror, I am now 19 and missed out on my child hood but I'll be damned if I miss my 20s.

    I love this song.

    Siouxon December 03, 2007   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    I love this song. I've always had a place in my heart for it, but this past year was my freshman year at college, and especially my first semester I started changing myself - to impress a boy, to impress the upperclassmen - changing myself to what I thought would help me get what I want. I was upset and alone in my dorm one day and this song came on the playlist and I cried and cried.

    To me, this song is about a child who wants so much, and is rushing and trying to change everything to get everything she wants. She has big dreams, and she wants them all realzed now. The narrorator is reminding her that she can't make these things happen.. her dreams, her Vienna, waits for her.

    It may sound silly but this song has leveled me out on many occasions when I probably was about to do something stupid. Or even whenever I'm frustrated with living in a small town or not being able or old enough to do something - it reminds me that I'm 19 and that I have a lot of time to get to my Vienna.

    thegirlin14gon June 11, 2008   Link
  • +3
    My Opinion

    For me the song is about making sure you achieve your dreams but not to worry if something doesn't go to plan. Life will never turn out the way you expect it and therefore you just gotta go at it. So enjoy while your young and remember that adulthood will still be there waiting for you and you won't miss out.

    tjthedjdrummeron April 20, 2012   Link
  • +3
    My Interpretation

    I love this song, every time I hear it it reminds me of myself. I'm in college pre-dental & I want so badly to take all the classes I can and finish as soon as possible... that sometimes I have sleepless nights but I never slow down. When I hear this I just think to myself slow down school is not going anywhere, just take your time... :-) idk lol i'm such a dork lol

    cupcake12on November 11, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    I love this song. I can't believe nobody has posted on this one yet. I heard it for the first time on a rerun of Taxi when I was probably 10 years old. I searched all over the Internet last year until I found it, and then I bought The Stranger album. Anyway, to me, this song is pretty self-explanatory. The narrator is just telling this "crazy child" to enjoy life more. Maybe he's a college student who is freaking out about having to go into the real world soon ("if you're so smart tell me why are you still so afraid?"). He's telling the kid to calm down because there is plenty of time to get life in order. He's encouraging him to keep looking forward to the future ("dream on/But don't imagine they'll all come true") without committing himself to it yet ("you can't be everything you want to be before your time"). Vienna symbolizes some kind of future happiness. It isn't going to pass him by because "Vienna waits for you". This is a really hopeful song. The overall message reminds me of John Lennon's "Instant Karma" - "we all shine on/like the moon and the stars and the sun." Basically, everything is going to be alright.

    LittleBriddieon March 05, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    i read somewhere that billy wrote this song while visiting vienna, after watching an elderly woman proudly sweeping the sidewalk in front of her home. apparently he was inspired by how much old age and wisdom were appreciated there. i think "vienna waits for you" is saying don't be in such a hurry to move life along. everything, including your "vienna," will come in due time.

    lyss222on July 12, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    I just rediscovered this song. Used to listen to the Stranger all the time in high school. I always presumed Billy was lecturing himself in this song.

    benjyedwardson July 28, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    Billy Joel talked about this one on storytellers, his father, whom he didn't met until he was an adult, was living in vienna. When Billy went ot visit him, he saw an old woman sweeping the street, and thought that was horrible. His father said he was wrong, the old ladies life stilled served a purpose, she had something to contribute to the community, not put out pasture. It was a revelation for Billy, that he didn't have to do it all while he was still young, he could slow down and enjoy things a little. The Musical style is influenced by the score of "The Third Man", a fine Orson Welles film. The Crazy child juvenile is Billy Joel.

    dmhaleon October 16, 2009   Link
  • +2
    Song Meaning

    "Vienna" is a metaphor for the rest of your life. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna_(Billy_Joel_song)

    Sinani201on July 07, 2010   Link

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