She's Right On Time

Album: The Nylon Curtain (1982)

Songfacts®:

  • Until he wrote the anti-war "Christmas In Fallujah," this was the closest Joel came to writing a Christmas song. It takes place during the Christmas season and is about a guy who is waiting for his girl to arrive. She's late as usual, but the singer realizes that he, too, is deeply flawed and appreciates everything his girl has to offer. So for him, she's right on time. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ken - Louisville, KY
  • Joel has an affinity for many of his lesser-known songs, and he loves this one. Appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in 2017, he listed it among his Top 5.

Comments: 5

  • Michael from HoustonI've loved Billy since I was 15. I'm 30 now and I continue to find his music more and more relatable as I grow older. The song, at this point in my life, has three meanings.

    1) Obviously, the music metaphor. It's awesome to meet a woman that plays music AND is good at it.

    2) The more obvious meaning of the song is that his lady is late, but he acknowledges his faults and knows that she puts up with his misgivings as much as she does. She's right on time = she's right for me, both the good and bad

    3) "I had to wait forever, but better late than never" some men, particularly of Joel's success, start really taking off later in life. Sometimes, you don't meet that great woman or have a career that takes off until later than a lot of men. A lot of men at that point are doing the safe thing: marrying a girl they met in college or early 20s, getting fortified in their careers, having kids. Billy was running a little late on all that...though signed to Columbia since 1974, he really didn't take off until The Stranger and really didn't become a household name until "Glass Houses". I see the song as telling yourself to be patient for that success. Yes, you've made you're mistakes and that life is ultimately meaningless, but, when you meet that great female you instantly connect with OR you hit that level of success you've been working so hard for, it all feels right in the moment. Hence....she's right on time.
  • Kevin from KentuckyAnyone know the name of the girl in the video?
  • Bob Young from Farmington, MiThe chorus harmonies seem to be quite the nod to the verses on The Beatles "If I Needed Someone".
  • Rachel from North Jersey, NjOh yeah, and I finally FINALLY got to hear it live when he played it during the new year's eve concert 200 at MSG.
  • Rachel from North Jersey, NjI love Billy joel and everything he ever did. there is not one song I don't like and this one is my all time favorite. I love it.
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