What Was Billy Joel’s Creative Process for the Hit?
The idea for the song stemmed from a conversation he had with a friend of musician Sean Lennon. At the time, Joel was 40 years old, and the young man was 21.
He told Joel, “It’s a terrible time to be 21.” Joel replied that when he was 21, the Vietnam war and civil rights problems made everything seem awful.
Lennon’s friend said, “But it’s different for you. You were a kid in the fifties, and everybody knows that nothing happened in the fifties.” Joel’s reply included references to various historical events from the time, including the Korean War.