Billy Joel - Allentown

First performance: 16/10/2008


Coverinfo

Bruce performed the song only once:
 
2008-10-16 - HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM, NEW YORK CITY
 
During "Change Rocks" benefit show for Barack Obama's presidential campaign . Bruce and Billy Joel do a mixture of Joel and Springsteen songs. Patti Scialfa, Roy Bittan, India Arie, John Legend were also present.
 
With John Legend: IF YOU'RE OUT THERE With Billy Joel and his band, Patti Scialfa, and Roy Bittan : MOVIN' OUT (ANTHONY'S SONG) / A MATTER OF TRUST / ALLENTOWN / NEW YORK STATE OF MIND / RIVER OF DREAMS / PEOPLE GET READY (with John Legend and India Arie) / SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED I'M YOURS (with John Legend, India Arie, and Barack Obama)
 
 
 

Songinfo

"Allentown" is a song by American singer Billy Joel, which was the lead track on Joel's The Nylon Curtain (1982) album, accompanied by a conceptual music video. When Joel first started writing the song, it was originally entitled "Levittown", after the Long Island town right next to Hicksville, the town in which Joel had grown up. He had originally written a chord progression and lyrics for the song, but struggled for a topic for the song. Joel remembered reading about the decline of the steel industry in the Lehigh Valley, which included the cities of both Bethlehem and Allentown. While the steel industry was based in Bethlehem with none of it in Allentown, Joel titled the song "Allentown" because it sounded better and it was easier to find other words to rhyme with "Allentown."
 
 
 

Other cover versions

Bruce on the artist

Billy Joel on Bruce Springsteen :
 
Bruce and Billy Joel are long time friends : Joel’s favorite song 
 
Billy Joel performed 12 times together with Bruce
 
 
 
2018-07-18 Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY
2012-11-02 Rockefeller Center, GE Building, Studio 6A, New York City, NY
2011-10-01 Beacon Theatre, New York City, NY
2009-10-29 Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY
2008-10-16 Hammerstein Ballroom, New York City, NY
1999-03-15 Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City, NY
1995-04-12 Carnegie Hall, New York City, NY
1992-11-10 Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
1988-01-20 Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City, NY
1987-12-13 Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY
1974-12-14 Auditorium, New Brunswick, NJ 
 

Lyrics

Well we're living here in Allentown
And they're closing all the factories down
Out in Bethlehem they're killing time
Filling out forms
Standing in line
Well our fathers fought the Second World War
Spent their weekends on the Jersey Shore
Met our mothers in the USO
Asked them to dance
Danced with them slow
And we're living here in Allentown

But the restlessness was handed down
And it's getting very hard to stay

Well we're waiting here in Allentown
For the Pennsylvania we never found
For the promises our teachers gave
If we worked hard
If we behaved
So the graduations hang on the wall
But they never really helped us at all
No they never taught us what was real
Iron and coal
And chromium steel
And we're waiting here in Allentown

But they've taken all the coal from the ground
And the union people crawled away

Every child had a pretty good shot
To get at least as far as their old man got
But something happened on the way to that place
They threw an American flag in our face

Well I'm living here in Allentown
And it's hard to keep a good man down
But I won't be getting up today

And it's getting very hard to stay
And we're living here in Allentown