Billy Joel—Second Wind

I’ve always been a huge Billy Joel fan and have always wondered why this song never became as popular as I think it should have been. Yes, it went to #9 on the charts but it seems to be an afterthought in a discussion of Billy Joel’s greatest songs.

You’re Only Human (Second Wind) was written in 1985 and performed by Joel for the express purpose of preventing teenage suicide. I love the music and the message is a powerful one. I hope that it helped people in despair who were thinking of ending it all. According to Wikipedia:

Joel was asked if he could write a song about suicide in the hopes of promoting its prevention in teenagers. He agreed, but was concerned about his original draft which took a downbeat tone that he thought would in fact encourage kids to end it all. In response, Joel created a new song with a bouncy joyous beat and lyrics that stress personal forgiveness and optimism about life.

The song appeared in Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits in 1985 and became a top ten hit, peaking at #9 on the Billboard chart. During the song, Joel audibly laughs after briefly hesitating during one of the verses. He decided to keep the mistake in the recorded version as it seemed to illustrate his point in the song about personal fallibility.

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Click here to see all my posts about suicide prevention.


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4 Responses to “Billy Joel—Second Wind”

  1. Kim Wencl Says:

    Phil – Billy Joel and Elton John are teaming up and going on the road together! They will be at the Excel Center in St. Paul on May 5th. Tickets go on sale on Saturday, 1/24 at 10:00 am! Anna and I are going to try to get tickets.

  2. Deb Reilly Says:

    Hi Kim,

    I got to go to the ‘Face to Face’ Billy Joel and Elton John concert in 1994 in NY. It was fantastic. Since we all improve with age, I’m sure they’re even better and you’ll have a fabulous time!

  3. Kim Wencl Says:

    Hi Deb, Wow, I bet that was an incredible experience! I’m sure these concerts will be equally so. The hardest part is going to be getting the tickets! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Hi, Deb and Kim! I got to see Billy Joel and Elton John in the early 90s as well. Love Billy Joel!

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