The Ballad Of Billy The Kid

Album: Piano Man (1973)
  • From a town known as Wheeling, West Virginia
    Rode a boy with a six gun in his hand
    And his daring life of crime
    Made him a legend in his time
    East and west of the Rio Grande.

    Well he started with a bank in Colorado
    In the pocket of his vest, a Colt he hid
    And his age and his size
    Took the teller by surprise
    And, the word spread of Billy the kid

    Well he never traveled heavy
    Yes he always rode alone
    And he soon put many older guns to shame
    And he never had a sweetheart
    And he never had a home
    But the cowboy and the rancher knew his name

    Well he robbed his way from Utah to Oklahoma
    And the largest could not seem to track him down
    And it served his legend well
    For the folks they loved to tell about
    When Billy the kid came to town.

    Well one cold day a posse captured Billy
    And the judge said String him up for what he did.
    And the cowboys and their kin
    Like the sea, came pouring in
    To watch the hanging of Billy the kid.

    Well he never traveled heavy
    Yes he always rode alone
    And he soon put many older guns to shame
    And he never had a sweetheart
    But he finally found a home
    Under the boot hill grave that bears his name.

    From a town known as Oyster Bay Long Island
    Rode a boy with a six pack in his hand
    And his daring life of crime
    Made him a legend in his time
    East and west of the Rio Grande. Writer/s: BILLY JOEL
    Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 8

  • Richard from Somerdale , NjAs someone probably said below this, the boy with a six-pack in his hand is not Billy Joel, but a bartender from Long Island. He wrote it in the "Songs in the Attic" notes.
  • Randy from Reading, PaI think some of you take thinks too literally. I read an interview where he said he also wanted to do a movie sountrack but no one every asked him to. So this was his attempt. Yes and he knows the Rio Grande runs East to West, but North to South didn't have the same punch in the context of the lyrics.
  • Charles from Glenside, PaIt appears to me that the Rio Grande runs predominantly from NW to SE, I gleaned this from an Atlas of the USA. Perhaps I'll consult a 'geology book' later on if any conflicts arise regarding any rock formations or strata along it's course.
  • Bill Crawford from Oro Valley, AzThe Rio Grande does flow north to south from southwest Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico.Please update your geology books in NJ and we do drive cars not ride horses here in the west also :)
  • Mike from Hamilton, NjThe song says "East and West of the Rio Grande" but the Rio Grande runs East to West, so it would have to be "North and South of the Rio Grande" to be accurate.
  • Olivia from Webster Gro Ves, MoAll of this is true except this isn't written about billy joel, its written about someone else he knew named billy
  • Jason from Hicksville, OhVery true...the Billy from Oyster Bay is not B.J.! If you look in the liner notes from the "Songs In the Attic" album, you'll see where he talks about that. You know, something interesting about Billy the Kid is that most of his life is a mystery. Very little is known about him! No one knows really where he was born or really what his parents names were. There are theories and such, but nothing factual. Some say BtK was born in Mahattan, others say different. BUT, as inaccurate as the song is, historians have said there was a time when BtK was sentenced to a hanging. On the day of, however, he escaped and moved south! If you're interested in the Kid you can read up on him at or as well! Interesting stuff!
  • Me from There, PaNo, the boy from Long Island refers to a bartender Billy used to know named Billy also.
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