This Is The Time

Album: The Bridge (1986)

Songfacts®:

  • Depending on your perception, this song is either a touching rumination on the beauty of life and the important moments spent with loved ones, or a piece of mawkish schmaltz. The chorus is about looking back on the good times with appreciation and gratitude, making it a perfect song for proms, graduations, and just about any occasion where memories are shared:

    This is the time to remember
    'Cause it will not last forever
    These are the days to hold on to
    'Cause we won't, although we'll want to


    The verses are more specific, telling a vague story about a walk on the beach beside an old hotel, and then returning there years later.

    When he wrote the song, Joel was married to Christie Brinkley and settling in to domestic life after years of turmoil, which explains the lines:

    Did you know that before you came into my life
    It was some kind of miracle that I survived


    Joel and Brinkley divorced in 1994 after nine years of marriage.
  • Joel talked about this song in a 1997 interview with Billboard: "One of the most difficult things to maintain is a relationship, and that's really what this song is about: 'Let's remember this good time, because we're going to remember this when times get tough.' It didn't mean I thought we should stay in that moment, because I said, 'It will not last forever.'"
  • This reached #18 on the Hot 100, but went to #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, Joel's seventh #1 on that tally.
  • Joel doesn't play this song very often, but he does bring it out for special occasions. At his Madison Square Garden concert on October 21, 2015, he played it with John Mayer.

Comments: 1

  • Groovus Maximus from Boston, MaAnother breathtakingly beautiful, supremely nostalgic effort on Joel's part -- to imply or insinuate that it's mawkish, maudlin or even remotely jejune is an insult to the man! From the gentle waves of the smooth intro, very evocative of the coast, a sweetly sentimental story unfolds, slowly blossoming like the petals of a flower as Billy effortlessly transports us to the scene of that stroll by the 'old hotel' and what it meant (and continues to mean) to the lovers. Add in David Brown's superb clean jazz guitar work and the subtle swing of DeVitto & Stegmeyer's locked-in rhythm section and you have an instant classic to savor for years to come, as I have for over half my life...
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat WorldSongwriter Interviews

Jim talks about the impact of "The Middle" and uses a tree metaphor to describe his songwriting philosophy.

Protest Songs

Protest SongsMusic Quiz

How well do you know your protest songs (including the one that went to #1)?

Francesca Battistelli

Francesca BattistelliSongwriter Interviews

The 2011 Artist of the Year at the Dove Awards isn't your typical gospel diva, and she thinks that's a good thing.

P.F. Sloan

P.F. SloanSongwriter Interviews

P.F. was a teenager writing hits and playing on tracks for Jan & Dean when he wrote a #1 hit that got him blackballed.

80s Music Quiz 1

80s Music Quiz 1Music Quiz

MTV, a popular TV theme song and Madonna all show up in this '80s music quiz.

Which Restaurants Are Most Mentioned In Song Lyrics?

Which Restaurants Are Most Mentioned In Song Lyrics?Song Writing

Katy Perry mentions McDonald's, Beyoncé calls out Red Lobster, and Supertramp shouts out Taco Bell - we found the 10 restaurants most often mentioned in songs.