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Old 08-21-2004, 06:54 AM
Ogministrator
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Location: Palo Alto, CA
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Could someone explain Billy Joel - Innocent Man lyrics?

I came across Billy Joel's - Innocent Man for the first time the other day, and loved the song. I'm trying to understand the lyrics of the song.

So far I've understood that he's singing to a girl who has lost faith and trust due to a past relationship, and he says he's been in a similar relationship but survived it and now would do whatever it takes to build their relationship from scratch. Innocent Man seems to refer to the fact that he didn't cause her all this pain that she has inside.

There are some parts that I haven't entirely understood. Specifically:

"Some people see through the eyes of the old
Before they ever get a look at the young"

What does he mean by this ?

"And although this is a fight I can lose
The accused is an innocent man
I am an innocent man"

Which fight ? The fight to win her ? Why can he afford to lose this fight ?

"Some people just accept the world as it is
But I'm not willing to lay down and die
Because I am an innocent man"

What relevance does being an innocent man have on his not accepting the world as it is ?

Could someone please explain this song to me ? Any background or inspiration that led to the writing of this song would get bonus points.

Thanks so much. I've been listening to this song over and over recently. Lovely song.
Old 08-21-2004, 07:21 AM
I Am the One Who Bans
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Brooklyn
Posts: 78,234
Quote:
Originally Posted by xash
"And although this is a fight I can lose
The accused is an innocent man
I am an innocent man"

Which fight ? The fight to win her ? Why can he afford to lose this fight ?
Does he mean 'can afford to,' or does he just mean that sometimes the innocent get screwed because that's how the world is?

Quote:
"Some people just accept the world as it is
But I'm not willing to lay down and die
Because I am an innocent man"

What relevance does being an innocent man have on his not accepting the world as it is ?
I would guess he means it would be easier to stop fighting against whatever he's accused of and give up. That's how the world is, sometimes you get blamed for stuff you didn't do, etc. But he's not willing to take the easy way out.
Old 08-21-2004, 08:39 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Back in the South, y'all
Posts: 6,938
Quote:
Originally Posted by xash
"Some people see through the eyes of the old
Before they ever get a look at the young"

I've always taken these lines to mean two different things. First, that some people never really trust others and refuse to give themselves a chance to experience life, even when they are young. Second, that there are some who enter any new (young) relationship expecting it to be just like the last (old) relationship, so they never give it a chance - instead, they avoid those new relationships because of what happened before.

I tried hunting for information about the song, but didn't come across anything. Doesn't mean it's not out there though.
Old 08-21-2004, 09:01 AM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 6,602
Quote:
Originally Posted by xash
"And although this is a fight I can lose
The accused is an innocent man
I am an innocent man"

Which fight ? The fight to win her ? Why can he afford to lose this fight ?
Yes, the fight to win her, and even though he knows he might lose, he's still going to make an effort to win. I don't take it to mean he can afford to lose, but that he might lose.

Quote:
"Some people just accept the world as it is
But I'm not willing to lay down and die
Because I am an innocent man"

What relevance does being an innocent man have on his not accepting the world as it is ?
I think it means he's not just going to accept her distrust, he's going to fight to help heal her. He has done nothing to hurt her, and since he's perceptive enough to know that her past hurts are causing the present problem, he's willing to work with her to overcome the past, not just give up on a chick with serious baggage.
Old 08-21-2004, 02:26 PM
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Location: Olympia, Washington
Posts: 5,632
See also "Through the Long Night" from Glass Houses.
Old 08-23-2004, 11:23 AM
Ogministrator
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Posts: 4,133
Thanks guys (sorry I didn't come back to this thread earlier). It makes more sense now. Lsura, that's very insightful, I didn't think of it that way.
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