Your Passion, Our Purpose

Allentown

Well we’re living here in Allentown.
And they’re closing all the factories down.
Out in Bethlehem they’re killing time.
Filling out forms.
Standing in line.
Well our fathers fought the Second World War.
Spent their weekends on the Jersey Shore.
Met our mothers in the USO.
Asked them to dance.
Danced with them slow.
And we’re living here in Allentown
But the restlessness was handed down.
And it’s getting very hard to stay.
Well we’re waiting here in Allentown.
For the Pennsylvania we never found.
For the promises our teachers gave.
If we worked hard.
If we behaved.
So the graduations hang on the wall.
But they never really helped us at all.
No they never taught us what was real.
Iron and coke.
Chromium steel.
And we’re waiting here in Allentown.
But they’ve taken all the coal from the ground.
And the union people crawled away.
Every child had a pretty good shot.
To get at least as far as their old man got.
But something happened on the way to that place.
They threw an American flag in our face.
Well I’m living here in Allentown.
And it’s hard to keep a good man down.
But I won’t be getting up today.
And it’s getting very hard to stay.
And we’re living here in Allentown

Allentown (1982) by Billy Joel

QUICK FACTS

Allentown, Pennsylvania, like many other industrial cities in the United States, had a significant presence of steel mills and related industries. Bethlehem Steel, one of the most prominent steel companies in the region, had a major steel mill located in Bethlehem, adjacent to Allentown.

In the early 1980s, Bethlehem Steel, like many other American steel companies, faced financial difficulties due to competition from foreign steel producers, outdated facilities, and changing market dynamics. Despite the challenges, Bethlehem Steel remained one of the largest employers in the Allentown-Bethlehem area during the early 1980s. Thousands of people worked in the steel mills, and the industry played a crucial role in the local economy.
The 1980s saw labor disputes and strikes in the steel industry, with workers demanding better wages and job security. These strikes affected steel production and contributed to the industry’s overall instability. Bethlehem Steel continued to struggle financially, leading to layoffs and cutbacks.
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