Billy Joel: Allentown Meaning
Song Released: 1983
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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...
anonymous Aug 7th, 2014 8:43pm report
It's about how the unions drove america into the ground by asking for rediculous wages, 13 week vacations, and unsupportable retirement benefits while they new the entire industry in the US was having it's ass handed itself by foreign competition. Instead of doing what true Americans do they chose to get all they could and then run. I never grew up near the steel business but Aluminum lived in my back yard. I've watched the unions do it time and again. I go to the site of the Bethlehem Steel company regularly. I cry every time. Work for it America. We DO know how.
anonymous May 20th, 2014 5:29am report
The song is a little bit more about Bethlehem than Allentown and the closing of Bethlehem Steel Corp and the depression the entire Lehigh Valley felt from the countries second largest steel producer closing. For those who do not know Bethlehem and Allentown are adjacent cities in the Lehigh Valley. Its also important to note that the *knocking* that echos at the end of the song mimics the sound of the steel factory that could be heard from quite a distance from Bethlehem Steel.
anonymous Sep 27th, 2011 9:33am report
It's a good song, but it's about depressed workers who got fired and can't work and anymore 'cause "they've taken all the coal from the ground."
anonymous Jul 4th, 2011 7:25am report
Allentown is about the destruction of the middle class, but more than that, the destruction of the era of industrial America.
How good paying jobs at factories are being sent overseas and replaced by meaningless, low paying, low skilled jobs if any jobs at all. America is no longer a nation that produces anything, but a nation that collects debt.
allentown is a city in the lehigh valley of pennsylvania that suffered a deep recession when they closed many of the steel plants in the 80s. unemployment went through the roof and the city was on the brink of going under. billy wrote about the days before and after the closings allentown is near the ocean in new jersey so a lot of families had summer cottages along it. but those days are gone as factories dot the landscape and i mean huge factories making cookies- beer and high tech. a lot of people take exception with the songs billy writes because he never went through the expeiences eg; goodnight saigon, he never served. downeaster alexa he never fished for a living and people that have gone through these events resent him implying he did.
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