This song is about Billy's mother, Rosalind Nyman Joel. Rosalind was very supportive of her son and supported his musical ambitions, which Billy was thankful for. Rosalind died on July 13, 2014 at age 92.
Part of the song goes:
Oh Havana I've been searching for you everywhere And though I'll never be there I know what I would see there I can always find my Cuban skies In Rosalinda's eyes
Ironically, Billy Joel would actually get to visit Havana less than six months later. In early March 1979, he performed in Cuba at the Karl Marx Theater, along with Kris Kristofferson, Weather Report, RitaCoolidge, and Billy Swan. The three day music festival was known as Havana Jam.
Rod from Tupelo, MsI heard an interview with Billy and he said this is a love song his dad should have written to his mom. Her name is Linda but it didn’t fit the song or something. This is actually one of my favorite songs of his and probably my favorite on this album.
Garry from ReynoldsSkeptical about the Houston theory given he recorded a song called "Rosalinda" at WMMR Philadelphia in April 1972, long before "Rosalinda's Eyes". More plausible is that he noticed her name was Rosalinda, thought it was neat coincidence, and sent her the album.
Mark Van Buren from TucsonThis song may have references to his mother but he did not write it about her. In 1977 I was working at the Shamrock Hilton in Houston Texas and I worked with a front desk associate named Rosalinda who had the most beautiful eyes. Billy Joel checked into the hotel and met Rosalinda and it was obvious that he was so impressed with not only her eyes but the entire young lady. Long story short, he wrote the song and sent her a signed copy of the album and she showed it to me. That's a fact and it is truly a beautiful song. I doubt anyone else knew about this but Rosalinda and I. You can believe the story about his Mom but I know the real story.
Pt from Bellmore, NyJL - Billy Joel refers to Cuba in this song because Billy's father and mother spent some time in Cuba (after escaping the Nazis in Europe) before emigrating to America. They apparently maintained a fondness for Cuba. This is quite possibly his most underrated song.
Randy from Reading, PaI never appreciated this song til one day I was stuck in traffic coming out of New York City. It came on the radio station and in that setting the song just clicked for me.
Ed from San Antonio, TxThis song reminds me of my college days when Billy Joel was very popular. Driving with my friends listening to "Rosalinda's Eyes".
Jl from Palm Beach, FlYes, Rosalinda refers to his mother, but why does he refer to Cuba? His mother, Rosalind Nyman, was born in England, to a Jewish family (Philip and Rebecca Nyman). So where's the Cuban connection? Thanks for the help!
Ros from Perth, AustraliaCan anyone send me a score of the song? I would really appreciate it!
Me from There, PaRosalinda refers to his mother... Billy stated that this song should have been written by his father for his mother...