♫ She’s Always A Woman ♫

Last night, when I played Elton John’s “Nikita”, at least three of my readers noted that they preferred “Leningrad” by Billy Joel.  I hadn’t heard that one, so I went and listened and … it made me sad, as some songs just naturally do.  Sometimes that’s okay, but not tonight … I don’t need any more sad at the moment.  However, I did decide that some Billy Joel is in order for the day, and so here is one I only played once back in 2019!

Billy Joel wrote this song about his first wife, Elizabeth, whom he was married to from 1973-1982. When they first got together, she was still married to Joel’s drummer Jon Small. Billy was so tormented by his affair that he made a halfhearted attempt to kill himself by drinking furniture polish. Ironically, the rocker was saved by the very man he was betraying when Jon Small rushed him to hospital.

Joel’s then-wife Elizabeth was also his manager and worked in the music industry at a time when very few women did. Billy saw her take a lot of gruff in the working world and get called a lot of names, which led to him writing this song to defend her, in a way. He explained: “If you look at the structure of the song, it says, ‘she can do this to you, she can do that to you, but she’s always a woman to me.’ That was the point of the song: they’re bitching about her, and I’m saying, you can bitch all you want, she’s great at business and she comes home and she’s a woman with me.”

When the American singer-songwriter Pink married motocross racer Carey Hart in Costa Rica, she walked down the aisle barefoot accompanied by this song.  She was always a huge Billy Joel fan, and she got the chance to perform this song with her idol in 2014 at a Billy Joel town hall event hosted by Howard Stern. “I got to see my dad become happy when your songs came on, and we sang them together,” she told him. “It’s changed my life. When I sit down to write a song, my first thought is, ‘this is going to suck, and I’m never going to be Billy Joel.'”

This one rose to #12 in Canada, #17 in the U.S., and #29 in the UK.

She’s Always a Woman
Billy Joel
She can kill with a smile, she can wound with her eyes
She can ruin your faith with her casual lies
And she only reveals what she wants you to see
She hides like a child but she’s always a woman to me
She can lead you to love, she can take you or leave you
She can ask for the truth but she’ll never believe you
And she’ll take what you give her as long as it’s free

Yeah she steals like a thief but she’s always a woman to me
Oh, she takes care of herself, she can wait if she wants
She’s ahead of her time
Oh, she never gives out and she never gives in
She just changes her mind

And she’ll promise you more than the garden of Eden
Then she’ll carelessly cut you and laugh while you’re bleeding
But she brings out the best and the worst you can be

Blame it all on yourself ’cause she’s always a woman to me
Oh, she takes care of herself, she can wait if she wants
She’s ahead of her time
Oh, she never gives out and she never gives in
She just changes her mind

She is frequently kind and she’s suddenly cruel
She can do as she pleases, she’s nobody’s fool
But she can’t be convicted, she’s earned her degree
And the most she will do is throw shadows at you
But she’s always a woman to me

Songwriters: Billy Joel
She’s Always a Woman lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

18 thoughts on “♫ She’s Always A Woman ♫

  1. I don’t know much about Billy Joel’s works other than We Didn’t Start the Fire. He was on the news recently as he helped open a new event space in Niagara, close (enough) to my city. I love the thought behind this song!

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  2. Pingback: ♫ She’s Always A Woman ♫ | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

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