by Robert Wilkinson
Besides being a profound Zen Koan, it’s also a great song for our “Saturday Night Attitude” dance tune!
I always wondered what that phrase meant. What are "the good?" What is "young?" While we are truly "Young Ones Everlasting," what's up with the phrase “Only the good die young?” Where did it come from? Who was it about? So I poked around, and found this from Yahoo Answers:
The long history of the saying began with the ancient version, 'Whom the gods love dies young,' and a touching story of how the proverb originated. As told by the Greek historian Herodotus in 'History' (c. 445 B.C.), the story concerns two especially favored youths who, replacing two missing oxen, hitched themselves to a cart and carried their mother to a festival for the goddess Hera. At the temple, the grateful mother asked Hera to reward her sons with the greatest gift anyone might receive, whereupon her sons lay down to sleep and never woke again."
The most recent version, 'The good die young,' can be traced back to William Wordsworth's 'The Excursion' and the lines, 'The good die first, And they whose hearts are dry as summer dust burn Burn to the socket'." From "Wise Words and Wives' Tales: The Origins, Meanings and Time-Honored Wisdom of Proverbs and Folk Sayings Olde and New" by Stuart Flexner and Doris Flexner
The song got banned in a lot of markets as it was perceived to be a bit risque’ for public consumption. When I listened to the lyrics again, I found a few verses interesting in their universality. Sometimes a bit of irreverence is called for in the face of the chains of mental slavery. Here are a few pieces:
Well, They showed you a statue, told you to pray
They built you a temple and locked you away
But they never told you the price that you pay,
Things that you might have done...
Only the good die young
That's what I said
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…
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
Oh woah baby
I tell ya only the good die young.
So for your dancing enjoyment, here’s Billy Joel rockin’ out live in his prime with our Saturday Night Attitude, “Only the Good Die Young”
And now a few more danceable numbers!
From Tokyo 2006, ”It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me”
From Shea Stadium 2008, “You May Be Right”
Also from Shea 2008, “My Life”
From 1978, Billy live in his prime performing ”Movin’Out” (Glad I knew you, Sergeant O'Leary...)
One of his all-time rockers! This is the original 1989 music video of “We Didn’t Start the Fire”
Here's a great medley back when he had big hair! For your enjoyment, from 1978 on "The Old Grey Whistle Test," Billy rockin' a great performance of "Miami 2017" and "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)"
We'll bring it all home with Billy performing our Saturday Night Attitude tune at 1985 Farm Aid face to face on dual pianos with Randy Newman! Kick it up!! "Only The Good Die Young."
Billy has plenty of “Saturday Night Attitude” for several dances! Keep dancing, since it’s good for the heart and it seems the good, both young and old, are checking out and leaving the building in accelerating numbers these days. Here's to you, Sue.
© Copyright 2013 Robert Wilkinson