Lonely Boy

Album: What's Wrong With This Picture? (1977)
Charted: 11 7

Songfacts®:

  • The song follows the life of a child who is neglected by his parents after the birth of a younger sister. Many assume this song to be autobiographical of Andrew Gold, yet the artist has denied this, despite great similarities between the lyrics and Gold's own life. The lyric, "He was born on a summer day in 1951" matches Gold's August 1951 birthday, and "In the summer of '53 his mother/Brought him a sister" matches his sister's birthday. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Robert - Oklahoma City, OK
  • Linda Ronstadt sang backing vocals on this track, marking a role reversal for the singers: Gold backed Ronstadt (on keyboards, guitar and vocals) on her albums Heart Like a Wheel, Prisoner in Disguise and Hasten Down the Wind.

Comments: 15

  • Pez from FloridaMark From King's Park from Delaware, You are correct sir. I think when he recorded the song he goofed the line. It should have been 63, not 53. A 12 year old would think his parents have lied, a 2 year old doesn't know they are alive....
  • Lars Ingebrigtsen from Perez Zeledon, Costa RicaThis song helped me understand my own life. Hit me like a ton of bricks in 1977 and it still chokes me up. I searched 36 years for the love I lost in my earlier times.
  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenAlthough Gold put personal references in the lyrics (including his year of birth), he admitted in an interview that it was not autobiographical: "Maybe it was a mistake to do that, but I simply put in those details because it was convenient. I hadn't been a lonely boy at all. I'd had a very happy childhood."
  • Mark From King's Park from Delaware So my point is simple, he was 2 yrs old when his sister was born?? How much can a 2 year old child ( infant??) possibly comprehend. I believe that the author of this was not being literal and maybe was looking back on his childhood, possibly getting the facts a little bit mixed up...
    But ultimately I can't believe I've not only wasted time reading most of the comments but then I actually went on to write my own.
  • Sharon from IowaSounds like it's about a narcissist. I kept waiting for more material in the subject to make the subject relatable but nope, it's just that his parents had another kid.
  • Sir Bass Of Clef from Lower RegisterRegardless of Andrew Gold’s inspiration or comparison to his own family dynamic, the impressive production of the final product clearly did not fail the artist.
  • Jay G from Fairfax, VaI think its neglectful parenting. The give away is the line, "We'll dress him up warmly and,
    We'll send him to school, It'll teach him how to fight". So he got shipped off to boarding school and had to learn to fight for himself, hence the title, "Lonely Boy". Then he gets a sister who is doted on and he doesn't understand why he was shipped off and she wasn't.
  • Clemence from New YorkThis was one of those "WTF?" songs for me when I finally paid attention to the lyrics. So it's a personal tragedy that he had a sister two years younger? And his parents "promised him" when he was born that he would be the "only son" and they lied, dammit! They lied! First of all, his parents didn't promise anything - he was a newborn. Second of all, this is literally untrue because he was still the only son. Third of all, having a sibling doesn't mean losing all of your parents' love. It does mean you'll have to share.

    If he thinks that is lonely, try being an only child and an introvert! Of course not all siblings get along, but many many of them later realized how lucky they were to have a built in playmate.
  • Delibird from Out There SomewhereMaybe if the "lonely boy" had been taught to love instead of being taught to fight, he would have loved his little sister instead of hating her for simply existing. He sounds like a spoiled brat (which is more the fault of the parents than the boy). A sad song about bad parenting.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 30th 1977, Andrew Gold performed "Lonely Boy" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    One month earlier on March 13th, 1977 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #83; and on June 5th, 1977 it peaked at #7 (for 3 weeks) and spent 21 weeks on the Top 100...
    He had three other records make the Top 100; "That's Why I Love You" (#68 in 1976), "Thank You For Being A Friend" (#25 in 1978), and "Never Let Her Slip Away" (#67 in 1978)...
    Singer Marni Nixon was his mother (she was the singing voice for Natalie Wood in 'West Side Story', Deborah Kerr in 'The King and I', and Audrey Hepburn in 'My Fair Lady ') and his father, Ernest Gold, won an Oscar as the musical composer for the movie 'Exodus'...
    Sadly, Andrew Gold passed away on June 3rd, 2011 at the young age of 59 (heart failure).
  • Michael from Cincinnati, OhChristian band The Almost covered this song on their 2013 album "Fear Inside Our Bones".
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxA liner note from Gold himself (in his 'Best of' collection) says, 'The question I'm most frequently asked is whether its about me. Yes (but not the way you think).'
  • Gary from Chandler, AzI think it is simply the viewpoint of a young immature boy, who had previously enjoyed the full attention of his parents. Not one of neglect.
  • Craig from Newcastle, AustraliaThe lyric about the year of birth, 1951, probably synchronises perfectly with the music and rhythm, so it would have been tricky for the writer to change the dates.
    Craig, Newcastle, Australia
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxWhether it was autobiographical or not, you can bet his family wasn't thrilled with it. And if it wasn't, he could have at least changed the dates.
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