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Billy Joel - Allentown - Lyrics Meaning

Allentown was released as a single in 1982.

Originally, Billy Joel was trying to write a song called "Levittown", the place where he grew up. The only problem is that there was nothing to write about Levittown. Although the song came to be called "Allentown", it is more about Bethlehem. Still other parts of the song, like the line, "and they've taken all the coal from the ground" refer to other parts of Pennsylvania. The coal mining towns are a few hours north and west of Allentown.

In 1982, Billy Joel read an article about how the fall of the steel industry was having an adverse effect on the Lehigh Valley, and so he decided to write about the Lehigh Valley. The song is about unemployment Of the major town in the area, Allentown is the one that has the best sounding name.

When Billy Joel was a fairly new artist in the 70's, he played a show in a small Lehigh Valley venue. A man at the concert talked to Joel and told him that he'd probably make it big and never come back to the area. Joel never forgot that.

Meanings of other songs by Billy Joel:
Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)