Angry Young Man Lyrics - Billy Joel

Review The Song (19)



There's a place in the world for the angry young man
With his working class ties and his radical plans
He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl,
He's always at home with his back to the wall.
And he's proud of his scars and the battles he's lost,
He struggles and bleeds as he hangs on the cross-
And he likes to be known as the angry young man.

Thank you! Oh, oh, yo yo yo oh oh

Give a moment or two to the angry young man,
With his foot in his mouth and his heart in his hand.
He's been stabbed in the back, he's been misunderstood,
It's a comfort to know his intentions are good.
He sits in a room with a lock on the door,
With his maps and his medals laid out on the floor
And he likes to be known as the angry young man.

I believe I've passed the age of consciousness & righteous rage
I found that just surviving was a noble fight.
I once believed in causes too, I had my pointless point of view,
Life went on no matter who was wrong or right, ohhhhh

And there's always a place for the angry young man,
With his fist in the air and his head in the sand.
And he's never been able to learn from mistakes,
He can't understand why his heart always breaks.
His honor is pure and his courage as well,
He's fair and he's true and he's boring as hell!
And he'll go to the grave as an angry old man.

Whoa, and there's always a place for the angry young man
With his working class ties and his radical plans
He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl,
He's always at home with his back to the wall.
And he's proud of his scars and the battles he's lost,
He struggles and bleeds ‘til he hangs on the cross
And he likes to be known as the angry young man.

Oh oh oh, yo yo yo oh oh






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Perfect exemplar for the early years of Billy Joel | Reviewer: Lee Brown | 8/14/12

This has always been one of my favourite Billy Joel songs. I love the structure of the music, with the repeating musical phrase starting at various points on the scale and the crisp, busy lyrics. Joel tells a story clearly and succinctly about something that is not the usual fodder for popular songs. This song, unlike most pop songs, could stand alone as a poem; in fact, in structure and content, it reminds me of Dorothy Parker. Yet despite the poetic aspect, the song is so up-tempo that it's actually difficult to get all the lyrics sung and still keep up with the music... somewhat like some of the Tom Lehrer songs Joel undoubtedly heard during his formative years. Finally, the best part of all is the final two lines: "...and he's fair and he's true and he's boring as hell /And he'll go to the grave as an angry old man." This is a wonderfully glib summation for a song that is clearly as much about himself as about the angry young men it appears to disdain. All in all, it is a clever, delightful and thought-provoking piece.

simple message | Reviewer: Ryan in L.A. | 4/7/11

I agree with Ian's comment; this song is basically saying "chill out" and "set your priorities straight." A life that is spent focusing on right & wrong will lead to anger and loneliness and no one will give a damn about your martyrdom. Most of Joel's lyrics are semi-autobiographical and follow this same theme. "Vienna" has a similar message.

I like Joel's lyrics because they are simple and straightforward and require little analysis. He avoids being too 'preachy' by reminding us that these are his own demons:

("You probably don't want to hear advice from someone else. But I wouldn't be telling you if I hadn't been there myself" - from 'You're Only Human', which he wrote about his suicide attempt)

Joel has always struggled with his anger so it makes sense to see the theme pop up again and again. He wrote "Angry Young Man" when he was about 26 and still coming to terms with his success. I think he still struggles with it today and evidently has turned to alcohol.

I don't understand the comments which seem to twist these lyrics into some kind of 'right/left wing' political argument. Joel has written some politically charged songs but this isn't one of them.




the good nd the bad | Reviewer: Anonymous | 3/3/10

this song is stupid i kant understand how i found dis website of all the utha websitwss i lokked up 4....no im playin it was funny and amising and i think im gonna play that for my friend to hear....it so fun to listen to and i bet ppl who view it seemed to be attracted to it by their emotions ....

For Honest Hank, et al | Reviewer: Joe | 2/15/09

First, this song was not done concurrently with the war in Iraq. It was from the "Turnstiles" album, before Billy Joel hit it big with
The Stranger." So he really could have been an angry young man when he wrote it, or a formerly angry young and now middle-aged man who then felt he knew better...

I used to be that Angry Young Man | Reviewer: ML | 1/27/09

I saw Billy open his concert here in Brisbane with this song on 4th Dec 08, & also when he performed alongside Elton John in Sydney back in March 98- always appropriate with such a hard-hitting tune and lyrics !

I can relate to this song SO much, cos in my earlier life I WAS that Angry Young Man described for so long- esp with all the major issues I had with anger and hatred from my highschool days onwards, which I lived and breathed and was proud of being so angry and hateful, for many yrs. But now, a decade later, I can relate to the writer's introspective lyrics that "I believe I've passed the age, of consciousness and righteous rage", because as a Christian now I've just moved on from being that messedup angry character- amen

Simple message | Reviewer: Ian | 11/11/08

Simple message really in this song. The things that you got so worked up about when you were young seem so meaningless and a bit embarassing when you reflect on them in later life.
The message is two fold. For the young it's chill out a bit, don't get so wound up over things that you may come to disregard when you're older.
To the middle aged, like me!, it's a lesson to put aside those things that upset you, let them go, and the rest of your life will be much happier for having done so.
Great song, but most of Billy Joel's songs are anyway.

The Flag and Fisted Glove | Reviewer: Hammerlix | 8/16/08

Forty years ago, 2 young American athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood on the winners' podium at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics and silently raised their fists in a black power salute. At a time of unprecedented Civil Rights upheaval and just months after Martin Luther King's assassination, the plain and simple truth was something had gone terribly wrong in America. But for their part in acknowledging this truth, these two young Americans were quickly suspended from the Team and banned from Olympic Village. In the same 1968 Olympic games, a young American boxer won gold. With the thought that only in America could a poor young man with a troubled past find his way to greatness, a 19 year old George Foreman danced around the ring waving the American flag... he was quickly berated as an "Uncle Tom".
Looking back, these three brave young men were giving us two parts of one message: There is something wrong (so raise your fists), but we have the tools to fix it (so raise your flag)!
Billy Joel's popular song reflects his own youthful naiveté as well as his negative and boring shallow views at the time he wrote it. God bless the angry young men and women. And God bless the agents of change and later, the reflective, wise old people they will one day be.

Brilliance of Billy Joel | Reviewer: Bob | 7/1/08

Winston Churchill defined a fanatic as someone who will never change his mind and can never change the subject.

Billy Joel says essentially the same thing with an equally brilliant two-liner:

"And he's fair and he's true and he's boring as hell-
And he'll go to the grave as an angry old man."

This guy's music is so good that we often overlook the lyrics, which are even better.

If you're not angry, you're not paying attention! | Reviewer: CJ | 5/31/08

Having reached middle age, and having been a young activist, I think I really get this song from both sides. Simply put, Billy is saying that priorities shift. Once you are entirely responsible for your own well-being - there's no college, no parents, no commune... the amount of time you put into causes and intellectual debate and fighting for justice necessarily declines.

"I found that just surviving was a noble fight." Because of what makes the angry ones angry, just surviving IS a noble fight for a lot of us. Frankly, we get TIRED. We raise our kids, we care for our parents until they pass, then we turn around and wonder where the fire went. (We didn't start the fire, remember? <grin>) We fell into the establishment and are now too far past it to fight our way back out.

Thank the gods for the angry and young - they force us to question the moldy, time-honored "truths." Thank the gods for the angry and old - they have the perspective to realize when "this too, will pass." Somewhere in the middle, not surprisingly, lies Middle America. Middle aged, middle income, middle intensity.

Anyone offended by the line, "my pointless point of view," please remember that Billy is not above turning a lyric antithetical if there's a good alliteration to be made, or it fits the phrase well. Sometimes it's just about songwriting.

I do think we should all still be angry. As much in 2008 as in 1978. There is a LOT to be angry about, and if we lose the angry young ones, who will look us old folk in the eye and say, "Well? What are you willing to do to help things change? So what if it's always been that way - if it's wrong, it should be righted." It is the young who keep us accountable to those commitments we made at age 20 not to stand for injustice.

Just as it was then, the young ones have to poke pretty hard to get some of us out of our rocking chairs. Let's hope they don't give up too soon.

Peace guys.

Angry? Me? | Reviewer: labor organizer | 1/12/08

The fallacy of this song is that it assumes that any left-winger who works for social change (and has "working class ties" and "radical plans")is angry or self-righteous. There are angry young and old men (and women too) at all points on the political spectrum. Have you watched FOX news or commentary lately?.

I have been working for progressive social change probably since around the time Billy Joel "believed in causes too" and I consider myself lucky. I have even made a modest income doing it. I'm certainly not angry most of the time.

So in words of E.S. Embree, an organizer for the IWW (International Workers of the World) who was lynched by an ANGRY right-wing mob early in 20th century "the end in view is well worth striving for, but in the stuggle itself lies the happiness of the fighter." Amen

My Theme Song | Reviewer: Steve | 11/8/07

If there was ever a song that could be called my theme song this would be it. Especially the line And he's never been able to learn from mistakes,
So he can't understand why his heart always breaks. One of my favorite Billy Joel song's.

Shades of Grey | Reviewer: Anonymous | 10/28/07

Billy is no longer a "young man". It comes a time in every persons life that you start to see "Shades of Grey". Not about hair color, but one sees the other side of the fence. Billy hit the nail on the head with MANY of his songs.

It's on Turnstiles | Reviewer: Anonymous | 10/17/07

It's a great song. Anyone who can't see that is either an angry person themselves or has no soul.

Angry Young Man | Reviewer: Honest Hank | 5/28/07

This is a great song about those who refuse to see that every argument has two sides. It has been around for nigh on 30 years so don't give me the rich man pretending to have a conscience stuff. I believe Billy's songs are always a very close reflection of his personal life at the time he wrote it, without being banal or heart on the sleeve. It was written in the 70's or early 80's and must be listened to and appreciated in that context. Now if only someone can tell me the album that it was on, cos I was sure I had it on vinyl and seem to have lost it...

Genius | Reviewer: Missie | 5/21/07

I love this song.
It makes so much sense and a lot of you people can or could relate
to this song.


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------ Performed by Billy Joel

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------ 11/22/2014

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