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The Longest Time
Billy Joel Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Oh, oh, oh
For the longest time
Oh, oh, oh
For the longest
If you said goodbye to me tonight
There would still be music left to write
What else could I do
I'm so inspired by you
That hasn't happened for the longest time

Once I thought my innocence was gone
Now I know that happiness goes on
That's where you found me
When you put your arms around me
I haven't been there for the longest time

Oh, oh, oh
For the longest time
Oh, oh, oh
For the longest
I'm that voice you're hearing in the hall
And the greatest miracle of all
Is how I need you
And how you needed me too
That hasn't happened for the longest time

Maybe this won't last very long
But you feel so right
And I could be wrong
Maybe I've been hoping too hard
But I've gone this far
And it's more than I hoped for

Who knows how much further we'll go on
Maybe I'll be sorry when you're gone
I'll take my chances
I forgot how nice romance is
I haven't been there for the longest time

I had second thoughts at the start
I said to myself
Hold on to your heart
Now I know the woman that you are
You're wonderful so far
And it's more than I hoped for

I don't care what consequence it brings
I have been a fool for lesser things
I want you so bad
I think you ought to know that
I intend to hold you for the longest time

Overall Meaning

Billy Joel’s song Longest Time is a song about love that has lasted so long that the singer finds it difficult to explain. The song expresses how the singer has found happiness and inspiration from the love of his life. The song starts with a statement of eternal love, and that the singer would still have music to write if he ever lost his love. This is to say, he is so inspired by the love they share that the essence can never leave him.


In the subsequent verses, the singer expresses his happiness for the love he has found. He remembers when he thought his innocence was gone, but he was wrong because happiness goes on, and that’s where he found his soulmate. He affirms that the woman in his life is the greatest miracle of all, and both she and the singer need each other. For the singer, this is something that hadn't happened "for the longest time."


The pre-chorus changes slightly for the second verse, where the singer expresses his doubts about the future of their love. However, the singer is ready to take the chance and expresses how he is grateful for what he has, and the woman he has become. He repeats that he is a fool for everything else, except loving his partner.


In conclusion, the song Longest Time is written from the perspective of someone who has found happiness and inspiration from a long-lasting love, and how the future is uncertain but how he is willing to take the chance because he wants to hold his love for the longest time.


Facts about the song:


1) The song was released in 1984 and subsequently won a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.
2) Vocal percussion is an important part of the song, with Joel and his backing vocalists using their voices to create percussive sounds.
3) In the video for the song, Billy Joel and his backing vocalists can be seen snapping their fingers and tapping their chests, replicating the sound of a drum kit.
4) Longest Time peaked at number 14 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.
5) The song was inspired by doo-wop, a musical genre popular in the 1950s and 60s, and features prominent use of harmonies and a capella-style singing.
6) The song is considered by some to be an homage to The Beach Boys and The Four Seasons.
7) The music video for the song features appearances by several members of the cast of the TV show Cheers, which was popular at the time.
8) The melody of the song was apparently inspired by Joel's admiration for the songs of the Four Seasons and Frankie Valli.
9) The song was featured in the soundtrack for the movie Mr. Holland's Opus.
10) Joel has mentioned that he found the song difficult to sing live due to the vocal range required to perform it.


Chords (Guitar):
Intro: G C G D7 G
Verse 1:
G7 C G D7 G C G D Em
Oh, oh, oh for the longest time
G7 C G D Em B C G D7sus4 D7
Oh, oh, oh for the longest time
G7 C G D7 G C G D Em
If you said goodbye to me tonight
G7 C G D Em B C G D7sus4 D7
There would still be music left to write
G7 C G D7 G C G D Em
What else could I do? I’m so inspired by you
G7 C G D Em B C G D7sus4 D7
That hasn’t happened for the longest time.


Line by Line Meaning

Oh, oh, oh
Repeating sound effect to highlight the start of the song and evoke a pleasant feeling


For the longest time
Expressing the duration of the feeling the singer is about to describe


Oh, oh, oh
Repeating sound effect to evoke the same feeling as before


For the longest
Abbreviating the previous line to fit the rhythmic pattern of the song


If you said goodbye to me tonight
Hypothetical statement suggesting that the singer feels strongly attached to someone


There would still be music left to write
Indicating that the singer's creativity is fueled by their emotional connection with the other person


What else could I do
Rhetorical question suggesting that the singer's inspiration is beyond their control


I'm so inspired by you
Expressing the source of the singer's creativity and emotional well-being


That hasn't happened for the longest time
Highlighting the exceptional nature of the singer's current state of mind


Once I thought my innocence was gone
Recalling a past state of mind characterized by disillusionment


Now I know that happiness goes on
Expressing a newfound confidence in the durability of happiness


That's where you found me
Attributing the singer's current happiness to the influence of the other person


When you put your arms around me
Describing a specific moment of emotional connection with the other person


I haven't been there for the longest time
Highlighting the exceptional nature of the singer's current emotional state


I'm that voice you're hearing in the hall
Metaphorically likening the singer to a voice that echoes through the other person's mind


And the greatest miracle of all
Emphasizing the miraculous nature of the connection between the two people


Is how I need you
Expressing the intensity and necessity of the singer's emotional attachment to the other person


And how you needed me too
Reciprocating the emotional connection between the two people


That hasn't happened for the longest time
Reiterating the exceptional nature of the singer's current emotional state


Maybe this won't last very long
Admitting the possibility of transience in the current emotional state


But you feel so right
Expressing the singer's strong emotional attraction to the other person


And I could be wrong
Acknowledging the possibility of being mistaken about the other person's emotional significance


Maybe I've been hoping too hard
Admitting the possibility of excessive emotional investment in the relationship


But I've gone this far
Asserting the singer's determination to continue the relationship despite the risks


And it's more than I hoped for
Expressing the singer's satisfaction with the current state of the relationship


Who knows how much further we'll go on
Expressing uncertainty about the future of the relationship


Maybe I'll be sorry when you're gone
Admitting the possibility of regret in case the relationship ends


I'll take my chances
Indicating the singer's willingness to risk emotional pain for the sake of the relationship


I forgot how nice romance is
Expressing the singer's appreciation for the positive aspects of romantic relationships, despite their potential difficulties


I haven't been there for the longest time
Reiterating the exceptional nature of the singer's current emotional state


I had second thoughts at the start
Admitting the possibility of hesitation or doubt at the beginning of the relationship


I said to myself
Reporting the singer's internal monologue


Hold on to your heart
Advising the singer to be cautious with their emotions


Now I know the woman that you are
Asserting the singer's better understanding of the other person's character


You're wonderful so far
Expressing the singer's appreciation for the other person's positive qualities


And it's more than I hoped for
Repeating the same expression of satisfaction with the relationship as before


I don't care what consequence it brings
Expressing the singer's disregard for potential negative outcomes of the relationship


I have been a fool for lesser things
Admitting the possibility of having made mistakes in the past


I want you so bad
Asserting the strength of the singer's emotional attachment to the other person


I think you ought to know that
Expressing the singer's desire for the other person to understand their emotional state


I intend to hold you for the longest time
Asserting the singer's plan to maintain the emotional connection with the other person indefinitely




Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group, Capitol CMG Publishing
Written by: BILLY JOEL

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
To comment on or correct specific content, highlight it

Most interesting comments from YouTube:

@coolcat6303

Here’s a little background on the song:

The song is a tribute to the doo-wop sounds of the '50s that Joel loved, complete with lyrics about being crazy in love with a girl and is presented in the style of Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers.

The song features Joel on all vocals and that required him to cover a lot of range. The original plan was to bring in a vocal group to sing it with him, but that didn't work out. Joel's producer, Phil Ramone, told Billy their best option was for him to do it all himself. So they recorded 14 different tracks of Billy singing in various ways and then mixed them all into the song.

Joel was hesitant because he didn't want all the voices to sound like they came from one person, so he envisioned himself as various characters and gave them different vocal styles.

"I did what I call method singing," he told Sirius XM in 2016. "I imagined myself as a skinny Italian kid from Newark, and then I did another voice and I thought of myself as a big Black football player with a real deep bass voice. And then I thought of myself as a Pat Boone kind of singer. Mix all those voices together so it doesn't all sound like one guy.



@EoinFC

Oh, oh, oh
For the longest time
Oh, oh, oh
For the longest
If you said goodbye to me tonight
There would still be music left to write
What else could I do
I'm so inspired by you
That hasn't happened for the longest time
Once I thought my innocence was gone
Now I know that happiness goes on
That's where you found me
When you put your arms around me
I haven't been there for the longest time
Oh, oh, oh
For the longest time
Oh, oh, oh
For the longest
I'm that voice you're hearing in the hall
And the greatest miracle of all
Is how I need you
And how you needed me too
That hasn't happened for the longest time
Maybe this won't last very long
But you feel so right
And I could be wrong
Maybe I've been hoping too hard
But I've gone this far
And it's more than I hoped for
Who knows how much further we'll go on
Maybe I'll be sorry when you're gone
I'll take my chances
I forgot how nice romance is
I haven't been there for the longest time
I had second thoughts at the start
I said to myself
Hold on to your heart
Now I know the woman that you are
You're wonderful so far
And it's more than I hoped for
I don't care what consequence it brings
I have been a fool for lesser things
I want you so bad
I think you ought to know that
I intend to hold you for the longest time



@uncoverthetruth8365

Bro

As much as I heard this song in life

I just decided to look it up
And saw billy Joel and thought it was a mistake

Cuz I KNEW this was something from the 50’s

And u mean to tell me

This was billy Joel doin a parody throw back all this time ???

I’m done



@christopherflorence5886

"Oh, oh, oh
For the longest time
Oh, oh, oh
For the longest
If you said goodbye to me tonight
There would still be music left to write
What else could I do
I'm so inspired by you
That hasn't happened for the longest time

Once I thought my innocence was gone
Now I know that happiness goes on
That's where you found me
When you put your arms around me
I haven't been there for the longest time

Oh, oh, oh
For the longest time
Oh, oh, oh
For the longest
I'm that voice you're hearing in the hall
And the greatest miracle of all
Is how I need you
And how you needed me too
That hasn't happened for the longest time

Maybe this won't last very long
But you feel so right
And I could be wrong
Maybe I've been hoping too hard
But I've gone this far
And it's more than I hoped for

Who knows how much further we'll go on
Maybe I'll be sorry when you're gone
I'll take my chances
I forgot how nice romance is
I haven't been there for the longest time

I had second thoughts at the start
I said to myself
Hold on to your heart
Now I know the woman that you are
You're wonderful so far
And it's more than I hoped for

I don't care what consequence it brings
I have been a fool for lesser things
I want you so bad
I think you ought to know that
I intend to hold you for the longest time"



@sunitafisher4758

🌸 "The Longest Time"

Woah, oh, oh, oh
For the longest time
Woah, oh, oh
For the longest

If you said goodbye to me tonight
There would still be music left to write
What else could I do
I'm so inspired by you
That hasn't happened for the longest time

Once I thought my innocence was gone
Now I know that happiness goes on
That's where you found me
When you put your arms around me
I haven't been there for the longest time

Woah, oh, oh, oh
For the longest time
Woah, oh, oh
For the longest

I'm that voice you're hearing in the hall
And the greatest miracle of all
Is how I need you
And how you needed me too
That hasn't happened for the longest time

Maybe this won't last very long
But you feel so right
And I could be wrong
Maybe I've been hoping too hard
But I've gone this far
And it's more than I hoped for

Who knows how much further we'll go on
Maybe I'll be sorry when you're gone
I'll take my chances
I forgot how nice romance is
I haven't been there for the longest time

I had second thoughts at the start
I said to myself
Hold on to your heart
Now I know the woman that you are
You're wonderful so far
And it's more than I hoped for

I don't care what consequence it brings
I have been a fool for lesser things
I want you so bad
I think you ought to know
That I intend to hold you for the longest time

Woah, oh, oh, oh
For the longest time
Woah, oh, oh
For the longest time
Woah, oh, oh
For the longest time
Woah, oh, oh
For the longest time
Woah, oh, oh
For the longest time...



All comments from YouTube:

@spiceyslicey

Billy Joel tosses his lit cigarette onto the floor covered in trash
later
Cop: "Hey, did you start this fire?"
Billy: deep breath

@cdw-bx8ro

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnny Ray, South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio

@wahdude4811

Get out of here ryan Now It's "Billy Started The Fire"

@cindyzhan7867

"I've been a fool for lesser things"

@goodcommunitylife

Did Billy get arrested for starting the fire?

@briand.6030

It was always burning
Since the world's been turning...

135 More Replies...

@TheDragoneNole

Ok guys, I've waited 20 years for this, just like we practiced, no mistakes...

@hollyh9877

HIMYM 4 life!

@CulturalToast

*I've
*waited
*practiced

@marcieboyt6796

Finally, another HIMYM fan

More Comments

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