This Must Be The Place- “Allentown”- Billy Joel song- off of one of my favorite Billy Joel albums is “Allentown” from “The Nylon Curtain in 1982. The single wasn’t as successful as earlier Joel singles- only reaching #17 on the Billboard Hot 100- chart. It did go to #1 in New Zealand.
“Allentown” deals with the decline and closure in the early 80’s of Bethlehem Steel and how the residents of the area dealt with the closure- and about the decline in general of the rust-belt areas of the United States in the late 70’s -early 80’s. I grew up in a steel industry area and like Allentown- the towns along the Ohio River from Pittsburgh on town were hit hard. Luckily the mill where my father worked was able to stay afloat for a couple more decades and he was able to retire before they closed. All of my friends growing up- their fathers worked in the mill. A lot of my friends were depending on those jobs being theirs when they grew up- and some felt very cheated when their time came and there were no jobs waiting there for them. I never had ambitions to work there. I saw how my father hated his job and got no satisfaction out of it- and he certainly didn’t want that for me. When I hear them talking about a possible recession in the country- the area where I grew up and live- has been in a recession for four decades. Nothing new.