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Only the Pig Tastes Good:
Thoughts on Billy Joel’s “Only the Good Die Young”

2,352 words

Like a lot of kids in my town growing up, I was really into the music of Billy Joel. There was a period in my early teens in which I listened to almost no one else. I loved the attitude, the craft, the variety, the cleverness. And I have to give Joel credit for being the first pop star to whom I seriously listened and whose work I avidly collected. Before hearing his classic album 52nd Street (on vinyl – yes, I am that old), I was completely indifferent to music. Afterwards, I was a different boy. I guess I still am.

By college, I had gotten a little tired of him, and stopped listening for almost two decades. But once I had kids, that all changed. As they got into him, I started to get back into him as well. Sure, he has a lot of clunkers. But when Billy Joel is on, he’s actually pretty good, and I find my adult mind appreciating aspects of his music that the young adult version of myself never did.

“Okay, Spence, this is nice,” I hear you say. “But what does this have to do with White Nationalism, race realism, or saving the white race from extinction?”

Well, after having Billy Joel on my mind a lot lately, I came to realize that one of his vintage songs from the 1970s is actually an insidious little dig at white people. It kills me to think that I have been listening to this song for thirty years and I never noticed it until recently. That’s how inured I was (or I guess still am) to the contempt that some non-whites have for whites as a people.

Yes, I am talking about his top-forty hit from 1978, “Only the Good Die Young.”

Now, this is an ingenious pop song. It’s got a great shuffling beat, catchy hooks, a blistering sax solo, and a pretty mesmerizing bass line, if you listen carefully. The lyrics, however, are what really set the song apart. There’s nothing like it anywhere else. Basically, it’s about a guy trying to goad a Catholic school girl named – fittingly enough – Virginia into having pre-marital sex. It’s an invitation to sin, and it’s remarkable because the girl being invited has never sinned before – at least not in this context. And the song, in its sheer exuberance, seems to celebrate this. At least in “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” you get a feeling for the tragedy and danger involved when the song’s character embraces evil. “Only the Good Die Young,” however, doesn’t call for that kind of introspection. It simply tries to make sinning seem cool while blithely trashing a central tenet of Catholicism.

It’s a famous song, so I am sure many of us know the lyrics. But here are the opening lines for those of us who don’t:

Come out, Virginia, don’t let me wait
You Catholic girls start much too late
Oh, but sooner or later, it comes down to fate
I might as well be the one

Well, they showed you a statue, told you to pray
They built you a temple and locked you away
Oh, but they never told you the price that you’d pay
For things that you might have done

Only the good die young

Here’s another verse which underscores my earlier point:

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

The song was released as a single and immediately drew the ire of Catholic groups, which saw the song as being anti-Catholic. The Archdioceses of St. Louis and Boston put enough pressure on radio stations to effectively ban the song in those cities. Joel also received death threats, especially before playing in St. Louis in 1978.

This may sound harsh, but in reality the Catholic blowback was so feeble that Joel didn’t take it seriously. He played the song twice in St. Louis, and later wrote letters to Catholic officials asking them to ban more of his records.

Joel himself says the song is lighthearted and is pro-lust rather than anti-Catholic. Here’s an interview which tells his side of the story. But what can’t be denied is that the song shows contempt for a religion to which millions of whites have been adhering for two thousand years. Being born Jewish, he may think this is no big deal, but to someone who takes Catholicism seriously, it is. Further, one can criticize or even condemn Christianity for many legitimate reasons, but its proscriptions against pre-marital sex shouldn’t be one of them. This is one instance in which the Christians get it right, since pre-marital sex (among young adults at least) often leads to illegitimacy and the spread of disease, which in turn contributes to poverty and the breakdown of marriages. This is dysgenics in action. Over time, it can bring down entire civilizations. The white illegitimacy rate was in the single digits when Joel was a kid in the 1950s. Now, it is at twenty-nine percent. Apparently, Joel thinks this is less important than singing songs about wanting to get his rocks off with a girl in knee socks and a plaid skirt.

There are plenty of songs in rock-and-roll which celebrate lust. But as far as I know, “Only the Good Die Young” is the only major mainstream rock song that explicitly repudiates Christianity while doing so. This is not an overstatement. Joel denies the existence and purpose of Heaven, he derides things like chastity and prayer, and he openly advocates sinning. What else does he need to do? I would argue that even John Lennon’s “Imagine” is less offensive to Christians, since “Imagine” simply extols the virtues of atheism and a particularly globalist ethical framework. One can be sold on that or not. But what “Imagine” doesn’t do is exhort people to violate ancient and fundamental precepts of their religions in the here and now. It also doesn’t call out a particular religion by name while doing so.

Billy Joel might argue that I am taking his song too seriously or literally. But I will argue that he didn’t take the idea of deflowering pious Catholic girls too seriously, because he never gave a shit about Catholicism to begin with. If he did, he wouldn’t have written the song at all, or he would have taken a more laissez-faire approach to the girl in question, as in in “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by the Beach Boys or (arguably) “Art Lover” by the Kinks. Satirist Tom Lehrer also takes on Catholicism in his song “The Vatican Rag,” but unlike “Only the Good Die Young,” this song is truly lighthearted (“2-4-6-8, time to transubstantiate!”). It doesn’t instruct Catholics to turn their back on their religion or paint Catholicism in a negative light. It just has some fun at the religion’s expense. You’d have to be a little uptight to take offense at that sort of thing. Not so with “Only the Good Die Young.”

Then there’s the pedophilia angle. I understand that Joel is no pedophile, but come on, how could he have been comfortable singing a song about wanting to fornicate with underage girls? “You got a nice white dress and a party on your confirmation,” he sings. In the United States, at least when I was growing up, Catholic kids were in their early-to-mid-teens when they got confirmed. The most charitable interpretation of this song is that the main character is also underage and is ogling his Catholic crush during chemistry class, or wherever. But Joel establishes no context in the song to remove any doubt. Furthermore, he was thirty when the song came out. The main character of the song is just too worldly for me to believe he’s sixteen.

I can thus totally understand why Catholics were so miffed at Joel for writing it. Perhaps the archdioceses shouldn’t have tried to ban the song since, by the Streisand Effect, banning it only caused it to race more quickly up the charts. But some kind of resistance, I believe, was in order. And such resistance is the point of this essay.

Better late than never, right?

If white people back in 1978 had taken racial offense at Joel’s song, that probably would have done more to squelch its popularity than trying to ban it. Back then, nearly all Catholics in the United States were white. Despite its Semitic origins, Catholicism was and still is one of the oldest extant institutions based in Europe. Again, it’s not above fair – or even withering – criticism for its past and present sins. But it cannot be denied that for centuries it helped structure the lives of millions of white people in a positive way. It provided the inspiration for some of the greatest works of art and music ever conceived. Further, the Vatican acted as a bulwark against numerous Islamic invasions of Europe. White people of any religious stripe should have interpreted “Only the Good Die Young” as a smack in the face of one of their own, and they should have responded in kind.

The first response should have been calling Billy Joel a racist. Whether or not this is true is immaterial. The point is to sting your attacker, not to be accurate. Remember, people on the Left routinely accuse people on the Right of racism and rarely care to get their facts straight. So why should we? Being Jewish, Billy Joel is a member of an out-group which deliberately causes trouble for in-group members. He wasn’t talking about Jews or other non-whites. No, he was only talking about white people, and cheering on their moral and evolutionary decline. Hence racist. Such a counter-attack would have damaged his reputation at least a little and served to discourage other people from taking unmotivated swipes at white religions.

The second response should have been for all high-level priests and Christians with influence in politics and the media to organize and do the following:

  • constantly accuse Billy Joel of mocking the teachings of Catholicism and insulting some of the most sacred values of the Catholic religion
  • dedicate full columns in newspapers and magazines to denouncing Joel and his song in the harshest possible language
  • have bishops and cardinals meet with officials of Columbia, Joel’s record label, demanding that they drop Joel from their roster
  • organize a boycott of all of Joel’s work
  • have members of the Catholic Defense League come to Joel’s house and intimidate him into denouncing the song and apologizing for it
  • make threatening phone calls to the home of the song’s producer, Phil Ramone, and everyone else involved in making the song

Oh, wait. I’m sorry, I was mistaken. This was actually how Jewish groups successfully lobbied to the get the immensely popular TV program Bridget Loves Bernie cancelled after only one season in 1973. They even made bomb threats. My bad. Far be it for whites to ever try to emulate Jews in the culture wars. It’s not like Jewish methods actually work or anything.

Seriously, is there any reason why whites should keep their gloves on while Jews insist on keeping theirs off? Can anyone defend this blatant double standard?

Finally, we should fight fire with fire. If no white Christian songwriter is willing to step up and hit back at Joel with an original song, then the least we can do is twist his song around for our purposes. Below is my stab at that. Perhaps those of us who are musical can take this version of “Only the Good Die Young” and run with it on YouTube or social media. Afterwards, we’ll see if the Jews can take it as well as they can dish it out.

Introducing “Only the Pig Tastes Good” by Billy Joel and Spencer J. Quinn. Enjoy.

Mama always told me, don’t eat with a yid
Those bland kosher dishes gonna bring out your id
You can’t have shellfish, you can’t have squid
Might as well chew on wood

Your mom is Rebecca, your daddy is Harv
They gave you a Seder and told you to starve
Oh, but they never gave you a pig to carve
You know that you would if you could

Only the pig tastes good
That’s what I said
Only the pig tastes good
Only the pig tastes good

Can you smell that bacon crackling in its fat?
That’s called a banger and that’s called a brat
My spiced pork loin’s a real coup d’etat
Tastin’ like a real meal should

So kick out your kugel, and ditch the knish
Stop stuffing matzo in gefilte fish
Time to start noshing on a ham and swish
I hope that I am understood

Because only the pig tastes good
I tell you only the pig tastes good
Only the pig tastes good

You ate a leather-tough brisket on Purim with a hamantaschen
I know that you find faults
cooking latkes in schmaltz
And now I find myself laughing at your deep frustration
Oh, you eat like a Jew
While I was eating at the barbecue

Ooh, wooh, wooh

They say you remember all the Hebraic guys
Who fled so quick that the bread couldn’t rise
So now you’re stuck with food that you despise
I hope that I am understood

You know that only the pig tastes good
Oh, oh, baby
I tell you only the pig tastes good
Only the pig tastes good

You say your Rabbi told you that you gotta stay away from the crustacean
Oh, but did he care for you
While you were gagging on your herring stew?

Eww, Eww, Eww

There’s no such thing as kosher gourmet
The Jewish tradition is old anyway
It might be better to throw it away
I hope that I am understood

You know that only the pig tastes good
Tell ya, baby
You know that only the pig tastes good
Only the pig tastes good
Only the pig
Only the pig tastes good

Only the pig tastes good
Only the pig tastes good

Spencer J. Quinn is a frequent contributor to Counter-Currents and the author of the novel White Like You.


  1. charles Krafft
    Posted September 11, 2018 at 2:49 am | Permalink

    My WASPY parents had a couple of snarky Thom Lehrer records tucked in with their collection of boxed brittle Broadway show LPs. I concluded some years ago that Jewish humor is essentially just mockery and shadenfreud. “Only the Pig Tastes Good”- Great parody tune!

  2. James O'Meara
    Posted September 11, 2018 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    I just learned from the internets that although Beethoven’s Ninth was the model for the CD’s time capacity, 65 minutes, the very first commercially produced CD was a Billy Joel album. Conspiracy?

    • Posted September 11, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      In concert, Joel will preface “Pressure” with some of Beethoven’s 9th, to show how he borrowed some of its melody. The song also borrows from B’s “Sonata Pathétique”. In fact, in album’s liner notes, Joel gives co-songwriting credit to “Pressure”, with “music by Joel and L.V. Beethoven”. There are other such tunes that he’s borrowed from the classical masters. Beethoven is his #1 and I believe Brahms his #2 favorite.

      • James O'Meara
        Posted September 11, 2018 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        Ha! I knew they were connected!

      • Spencer J. Quinn
        Posted September 11, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        Yes, Billy Joel is in to classical music. His classical record Fantasies and Delusions was probably better received in the classical world than any other cross0ver effort from a pop or rock artist.

  3. Posted September 11, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink
    • Spencer J. Quinn
      Posted September 11, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Hi Andy

      I enjoyed your “Reconsidering Suicide” piece on Affirmative Right. Thank you for reminding us all of how truly awful Billy Joel can be. I had completely forgotten about the “You’re Only Human”, and for good reason since it’s probably worse than his lamentable “We Didn’t Start the Fire” and “Uptown Girl”. In the 1980s, he was not above feeding his fans schmaltzy bullshit in order to score a hit. Weird Al touches on this in his hilarious demo “It’s Still Billy Joel to Me.”

      But as for your sarcastic comment, ‘And Joel surely knows how bad it can get when you’re pummelled by what Hamlet called the “thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.”’ Well, actually, he does. In the early seventies he tried to off himself by downing a bottle of furniture polish. All the sad sacks in his song “Piano Man” we based on the characters he met in a psych ward when he was recovering.

      But for someone who survived a real suicide attempt to later turn out such superficial pap on the topic of suicide indicates that he was either completely devoid of ideas or was embracing a kind of nihilism that he didn’t have in his 1970s heyday.

      Regardless of this and “Only the Good Die Young” I still view Joel as being much less culturally caustic than Captain Gentile Bruce Springsteen who can’t stop campaigning for leftist candidates and openly supports our enemies. At his best, Springsteen produced greater music, in my opinion. But at least Billy Joel does a better job at keeping his politics to himself.

  4. Marc
    Posted September 11, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    An obvious act of racial and cultural warfare.
    And as J O’M has pointed out in the past – when called on it, the response is “kidding!!!.”

  5. Spencer J. Quinn
    Posted September 11, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Hi Troll King,

    Yes, and “Only the Pig Tastes Good” has no malice in it either. It’s not anti-Semitic. It’s pro-pork.

    I suspect that Joel’s not having the requisite respect for one of the central tenets of Catholicism is malice enough.

    Glad you enjoyed the parody.

    • Gnome Chompsky
      Posted September 13, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      I am somewhat younger, never having lived there, never much liked the music of (((Joel))).

      Heard the song, it is a bit catchy. Never noticed the lyrics, except ‘only the good die young’, which in retrospect, must have launched a few suicides (who like me, never had listened to the lyrics), in attempt to prove the point of the title.

      I appreciated your link to his interview, and tale of psych. hospital and Piano Man, interesting.

      Suspect that your reference to ‘plaid skirt’ should have been ‘pleated skirt’.

      You know, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, etc. Plaid doesn’t have much to do with school umiforms for girls.

      Some time after reaching adulthood, I met this old hippy who was a fanatic for (((Frank Zappa))). Sure, as a hater of hippies (now, still), difficult, but Zappa did have some good songs, and the old hippy was not a bad person.

      One which was very hateful towards Catholic Girls (the title), was really nasty, falsely ascribing traits that are more common among (((Zappa’s tribe))) to the Catholic girls (e.g. ‘Tiny little moustache’).

      Zappa tried to balance it with a lame song about Jewish princesses, did not work at all, the lyrics were dull and inoffensive, as was the arrangement.

      I can only conclude from it all that Jewish male lust for shiksas is particularly inflamed by girls and women who are Catholic. Plenty of examples from cinema, too.

  6. Dave
    Posted September 12, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Reminds me of the time an old bishop chanced to sit next to an old rabbi on a long train ride, and in their conversation asked the rabbi if he had ever tasted the flesh of a pig. “Well, once when I was young and foolish, I ate a slice of ham on a dare. Now tell me, have you ever enjoyed the pleasures of a young woman?”

    “Well, once when I was a dissolute young man, I fell into such sin,” the bishop confessed.

    “Better than ham, isn’t it?”

  7. metoo
    Posted September 13, 2018 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    It’s been decades since someone’s done a righteous parody like yours. What passes for parody in our times is merely appropriating the music and lyrical structure of other creators to produce a funny song. A righteous parody, however, targets a bad creation and uses its own structure to mock it.

    The Jewish entertainment industry has mocked Christianity for a hundred years while receiving no in-kind pushback. Our talented alt-right musicians need to take up parodies such as yours rather than wasting their time on their funny faux parodies.

    As pointed out, in Joel’s song, he seeks sex with the goyim, and he mocks his target’s Catholic upbringing for being an obstacle to his sexual desire. In true Jewish fashion, rather than admit that his desire is a selfish interest, he instead promotes it as a superior moral code. At one point, he even descends to the Jewish tactic of accusing the goyim of hypocrisy.

    You said your mother told you, “all I could give you was a reputation”/ ah, she never cared for me/ did she ever say a prayer for me

    Yes, Virginia, your Catholicism demands love for the “other,” so if you don’t violate your own moral code, you’re a hypocrite. Same old Talmudic logic played out in thousands of Hollywood films. And those films, of course, were produced with the sexual exploitation of the goyim.

    Recently, some casting-couch shiksas have expressed their regret in the metoo movement. And what about the Christie Brinkley Uptown Girls wasted in marriage to those whose creative talents are directed to eliminating their genetic stock? If the Billy Joel’s get their way, at some point there won’t be paeans to Blonde Over Blue.

    • alexei
      Posted September 17, 2018 at 1:34 am | Permalink

      Speaking of hypocrisy… It is enough to imagine how BJ himself would’ve reacted to hearing identical song with Catholic girl replaced by a good, orthodox Jewish lass, sang by a singer of pretty much any non-Jewish stock.

      • metoo
        Posted September 19, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        If Spencer were so inclined, he could also parody Uptown Girl into a Bat Mitzvah girl who’s looking for a redneck man.

        Bat Mitzvah girl/ You know I wouldn’t buy her pearls

        You May Be Right could be flipped so the guy is normal, and the girl is the lunatic (a pycho-meds SJW Jewess).

        It just may be a Shabbos Goy (vice lunatic) you’re looking for

  8. Gnome Chompsky
    Posted September 13, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    BTW, just noticed that the scansion of Mr. Quinn’s parody and the original precisely matches that in The Boys are Back in Town, by Thin Lizzy. I notice it because it is at the moment a song a friend’s band regularly covers (although they don’t speak much English, so they drop the more difficult verses, but also knowing the original, it is exactly the same scansion).

  9. Les
    Posted September 14, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Billy Joel has taken to appearing at concerts wearing a yellow star and promoting holocaust propaganda.

  10. Sandy
    Posted September 20, 2018 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Up in Canada Henry Makow comes up with some off the wall stuff. His two articles on Leonard Cohen read like something out of an old Graham Greene novel. But if you are into Cohen (he is a pretty good crooner) and politics you might enjoy these? (Its all Greek to me).

  11. Posted September 21, 2018 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    I’m sure you could do a whole essay on “Uptown Girl” as well…

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