We Didn't Start The Fire
We Didn't Start The Fire

We Didn't Start the Fire
"We Didn't Start the Fire" is a song by American musician Billy Joel. Its lyrics include brief, rapid-fire allusions to more than 100 headline events

View Wikipedia Article

"We Didn't Start the Fire"Single by Billy Joelfrom the album Storm FrontB-side"House of Blue Light"ReleasedSeptember 27, 1989FormatRecordedJuly 1989GenreNew wave, pop rockLength4:49 (Album version) 4:29 (Single version)LabelColumbiaSongwriter(s)Billy JoelProducer(s)Billy Joel singles chronology "Baby Grand"
(1987) "We Didn't Start the Fire"
(1989) "Leningrad"
(1989) Music video"We Didn't Start the Fire" on YouTube

"We Didn't Start the Fire" is a song by American musician Billy Joel. Its lyrics include brief, rapid-fire allusions to more than 100 headline events between 1949, the year of Joel's birth, and 1989, when the song was released on his album Storm Front. The song was nominated for the Grammy Award for Record of the Year. The song was also a No. 1 hit in the United States in late 1989.

.mw-parser-output .toclimit-2 .toclevel-1 ul,.mw-parser-output .toclimit-3 .toclevel-2 ul,.mw-parser-output .toclimit-4 .toclevel-3 ul,.mw-parser-output .toclimit-5 .toclevel-4 ul,.mw-parser-output .toclimit-6 .toclevel-5 ul,.mw-parser-output .toclimit-7 .toclevel-6 ul{display:none}Contents History

Joel got the idea for the song when he had just turned 40. He was in a recording studio and met a friend of Sean Lennon who had just turned 21 who said "It's a terrible time to be 21!" Joel replied to him, "Yeah, I remember when I was 21 – I thought it was an awful time and we had Vietnam, and y'know, drug problems, and civil rights problems and everything seemed to be awful." The friend replied, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, but it's different for you. You were a kid in the fifties and everybody knows that nothing happened in the fifties". Joel retorted, "Wait a minute, didn't you hear of the Korean War or the Suez Canal Crisis?" Joel later said those headlines formed the basic framework for the song.[1][2][3]

Joel has said, "I'm a history nut. I devour books. At one time I wanted to be a history teacher". According to his mother, he was a bookworm by the age of seven.[4] Unlike most of Joel's songs, the lyrics were written before the melody, owing to the somewhat unusual style of the song. The song was a huge commercial success and was Joel's third Billboard No. 1 hit. It was nominated for the Grammy Award for Record of the Year.[5]

.mw-parser-output .templatequote{overflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 40px}.mw-parser-output .templatequote .templatequotecite{line-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0}

I had turned forty. It was 1989 and I said "Okay, what's happened in my life?" I wrote down the year 1949. Okay, Harry Truman was president. Popular singer of the day, Doris Day. China went Communist. Another popular singer, Johnnie Ray. Big Broadway show, South Pacific. Journalist, Walter Winchell. Athlete, Joe DiMaggio. Then I went on to 1950 ... It's one of the worst melodies I've ever written. I kind of like the lyric though.[6]

Joel has said, "There's an element of malevolence in the song; it's like waiting for the other shoe to drop."[1] He has mentioned having mixed feelings about the song. "It's a nightmare to perform live, because if I miss one word, it's a train wreck."[7] He has called it a "novelty song" that does not "really define me as well as album songs that probably don't get played",[8] and has also criticized the song on strictly musical grounds. In 1993, when discussing it with documentary filmmaker David Horn, Joel compared its melodic content unfavorably to his song "The Longest Time": "Take a song like 'We Didn't Start the Fire.' It's really not much of a song ... If you take the melody by itself, terrible. Like a dentist drill."[9]

When asked if he deliberately intended to chronicle the Cold War with his song[10] he responded, "It was just my luck that the Soviet Union decided to close down shop ", and that this span "had a symmetry to it, it was 40 years" that he had lived through. He was asked if he could do a follow-up about the next couple of years after the events that transpired in the original song, he commented "No, I wrote one song already and I don't think it was really that good to begin with, melodically."[3]

Music video External video Billy Joel – We Didn't Start the Fire (Official Video), 4:05

A music video for the single was directed by Chris Blum.[11] The video begins with a newly married couple entering their 1940s-style kitchen, and shows events in their domestic life over the next four decades, including the addition of children, their growth, and later, grandchildren, and the eventual death of the family's father. The passage of time is also depicted by periodic redecoration and upgrades of the kitchen, while an unchanging Billy Joel looks on in the background.

Historical events referred to in the song "We Didn't Start the Fire" (1989) "We Didn't Start the Fire" lists historical events in stream of consciousness. Problems playing this file? See media help.

Though the lyrics are rapid-fire with several people and events mentioned in a single word each, there is widespread agreement on the meaning of the lyrics. Steven Ettinger wrote,

Billy Joel captured the major images, events, and personalities of this half-century in a three-minute song.... It was pure information overload, a song that assumed we knew exactly what he was singing about...What was truly alarming was the realization that we, the listeners, for the most part understood the references.[12]

The following events (with Joel's lyric for each appearing in bold) are listed in the order that they appear in the song, which is almost entirely chronological.[13] The lyric for each individual event is brief and the events are punctuated by the chorus and other lyrical elements. The following list includes longer, more descriptive names for clarity. Events from a variety of contexts — such as popular entertainment, foreign affairs, and sports — are intermingled, giving an impression of the culture of the time as a whole. There are 119 items listed in the song.

1940s 1949 1950s 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960s 1960 1961 1962 1963 1965 1968 1969 1970s 1972–75 1976–77

(Note: an item from 1976 is put between items from 1977 to make the song scan better.)

1979 1980s 1981 1983 1984 1988 1989 Derivations

Numerous parodies and takeoffs have been based on the song (often expanding to events that have occurred since 1989), including The Simpsons' parody "They'll Never Stop the Simpsons" at the end of the 2002 "Gump Roast" episode,[16] and the San Francisco a cappella group The Richter Scales' 2007 Webby Award-winning[17] parody "Here Comes Another Bubble." The Cayuga's Waiters, a former a cappella group at Cornell University, previously performed a version entitled "We Didn't Go to Harvard" with constantly changing lyrics to reflect the changing Cornell experience but always mentioning various Cornell and Ithaca landmarks. The band Guns 'n' Moses made a parody of the song called "We Love Barney Fife" that was played frequently on the Doctor Demento radio show, which not only paid tribute to The Andy Griffith Show, it also took advantage of the melody of the refrain being a suitable counterpoint for the Andy Griffith Show theme ("The Fishin' Hole"). The song was also parodied on the episode of the U.S. version of The Office where "Ryan the temp" starts a fire in the office building, and Dwight and Michael change the lyrics of the song to "Ryan Started The Fire". On a 2017 episode of The Goldbergs, Barry rehearses the song for his talent show, but manages to mess up the lyrics; eventually, when he performs it at the talent show, he adapts new lyrics to the song referencing his high school experiences, which is very well received.

Another parody was released in 2010 titled "The Wii Didn't Start the Fire" about the history of video games.[18] "We Didn't Start the Fire" was also used in the American comedy series Parks and Recreation in the seventh season episode, "Leslie and Ron" (aired January 20, 2015), in which Leslie attempts to sing the song in order to get Ron to confess about why he left the parks department.

JibJab set their 2007 year in review song to "We Didn't Start the Fire"'s tune. In early 2009, comedy website CollegeHumor created a parody entitled "We Didn't Start the Flame War" which chronicles a long list of common inflammatory (and often explicit) comments left on content over a wide variety of popular websites by internet trolls.[19]

In 1993, Lenny Solomon and Shlock Rock created a parody entitled "We've Got a Strong Desire", which contains over 5000 years of Jewish history sung in 4 minutes.[20][21] In the Netherlands the Dutch punk rock band Heideroosjes did a parody on their 20-year anniversary album about things that happened over those twenty years in the Netherlands called "De Wereld Draait Door" (The World Keeps Turning). German comedian Otto Waalkes did a parody called "Wir haben Grund zum Feiern" (English: "We have reason to celebrate"), with a list of alcoholic beverages.

An edition of the BBC Three comedy programme Russell Howard's Good News featured a parody of the song detailing numerous items that the Daily Mail newspaper said caused cancer.[22]

Fans of Homestuck uploaded a version of the song called "You Can't Fight the Homestuck", created by Meme Queen Kylee Henke, on YouTube in 2012, chronicling the webcomic's long and convoluted story.[23] YouTuber Daneboe/Dane Boedigheimer, known as creator of the popular comedic Web series Annoying Orange, produced a parody as part of YouTube's Comedy Week in 2013 titled "We Didn't Start the Viral."[24] In a 2013 episode of Family Guy (titled "Bigfat"), after Peter's plane goes down, he asks his friends if there might be a hint on how to start a fire in the song. He proceeds to sing the song but has forgotten almost all of the words and mumbles through it.

Pop band Milo Greene performed a version of the song in June 2013 for The A.V. Club's A.V. Undercover series.[25] In 2015, Sky Sports released their own version of the song to advertise the upcoming 2015 Ashes series, with backing vocals and percussion provided by Elio Pace and his band. Pace has toured and recorded with Joel's original touring band.[26]

In 2014, Neil Cicierega released a mashup album, Mouth Silence. The 17th song, "Space Monkey Mafia",[27] plays lyrics from "We Didn't Start The Fire" and R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" on top of each other, modifying the lyrics of both songs so they sync up, and putting them over an original polka melody.

Since the 2015–16 season, YouTuber Jim Daly created a song of each season's 92 clubs in the Premier League and English Football League to the tune of We Didn't Start The Fire, with the chorus 'Lots of teams in English football, from the Premier League down to those teams in League Two, lots of teams in English football, I'm gonna try to make it through the whole 92'.

Charts Weekly charts Chart (1989–1990) Peak
position Australia (ARIA)[28] 2 Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[29] 7 Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders)[30] 69 Canada RPM Top Singles 2 Dutch Top 40[31] 11 Germany (Official German Charts)[32] 4 Irish Singles Chart 3 Japanese Singles Chart[33] 11 New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[34] 5 UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[35] 7 US Billboard Hot 100[36] 1 US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[37] 5 US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[38] 6

Year-end charts Chart (1989) Position Canada RPM Top Singles[39] 77 German Singles Chart[40] 49 UK Singles Chart 72 Chart (1990) Position Australian Singles Chart 37 Canada Top Singles (RPM)[41] 50 U.S. Billboard Hot 100[42] 35 All-time charts Chart (1958–2018) Position US Billboard Hot 100[43] 354

Personnel See also References
  1. ^ a b Novak, B. J. (October 11, 2005). "Which Office Stars Have the Write Stuff?". TV Guide. Retrieved July 30, 2008..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg/12px-Wikisource-logo.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  2. ^ Rolling Stone – "Billy Joel Starts a Fire" by Sheila Rogers. Retrieved May 4, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Billy Joel Q&A: Tell Us About 'We Didn't Start The Fire?' University of Oxford, May 5, 1994 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx3T8pbDcms
  4. ^ Bordowitz, Hank (2006). Billy Joel: The Life & Times of an Angry Young Man. Billboard Books. pp. 168, 161, 9. ISBN 978-0-8230-8248-3.
  5. ^ "Rock On The Net: 32nd Annual Grammy Awards – 1990". rockonthenet.com. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  6. ^ DeMain, Bill (2004). In their own words: songwriters talk about the creative process. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 119. ISBN 978-0-275-98402-1.
  7. ^ Newman, Melinda (July 26, 1997). "Joel Sees Pop Exit with Greatest Hits 3". Billboard. Cited in Bordowitz (2006), p. 169.
  8. ^ Nadboy, Arie (March 1996). "I am the Edu-Tainer". Island Ear. Cited by Bordowitz (2006), p. 169.
  9. ^ Horn, David (Director) (1993). Billy Joel: Shades of Grey (Motion picture). New York: Thirteen/WNET and Maritime Music.
  10. ^ The start year of 1949 was when the Soviet Union detonated their first atomic bomb, and the end year of 1989 was when the Berlin Wall fell.
  11. ^ Garcia, Alex S. Billy Joel – We didn't start the fire. MVDBase – Music Video Database.
  12. ^ Ettinger, Steven (2003). Torah 24/7: A Timely Guide for the Modern Spirit. Devorah Publishing Company. p. 2. ISBN 1-930143-73-7. Retrieved April 2, 2010.
  13. ^ Joel, Billy. "Lyrics: We Didn't Start the Fire". www.billyjoel.com. Retrieved August 24, 2009.
  14. ^ Bernstein, Adam (May 21, 2008). "Obituaries: Barbara Sears Rockefeller, 91; Miss Lithuania, Millionaire Bride". The Washington Post.
  15. ^ "The 30th Academy Awards – 1958". oscars.org. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  16. ^ Seisman, Matt (April 16, 2009). "We Didn't Start the Song Parody". Techland.com. Time.com. Retrieved May 28, 2010.
  17. ^ "12th Annual Webby Awards Nominees & Winners : Online Film & Video". WebbyAwards.com. 2008. Archived from the original on September 16, 2009.
  18. ^ Serrels, Mark (December 20, 2010). "The Wii Didn't Start The Fire". Kotaku.
  19. ^ ""We Didn't Start the Flame War" – CollegeHumor Video". April 14, 2009.
  20. ^ "Sgt. Shlokers Magical History Tour (1993 Album)".
  21. ^ Adam Drucker (April 22, 2010). "We've got a strong desire". Retrieved March 6, 2017 – via YouTube.
  22. ^ "'Russell Howard's Good News' Cancer song".
  23. ^ "You Can't Fight the Homestuck!".
  24. ^ Kurp, Josh. "'We Didn't Start The Viral' Is A Musical Recap Of YouTube's Greatest Hits". UPROXX Web Culture. UPROXX.com. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  25. ^ "Milo Greene covers Billy Joel". Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  26. ^ "Sky Sports Ashes promo 2015 – We Didn't Start The Fire". YouTube. Sky Sports. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  27. ^ NeilCicieregaMusic (July 19, 2014), Neil Cicierega – Space Monkey Mafia, retrieved April 17, 2017
  28. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Billy Joel – We Didn't Star The Fire". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  29. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Billy Joel – We Didn't Star The Fire" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  30. ^ http://www.ultratop.be/nl/showitem.asp?interpret=Billy+Joel&titel=We+Didn%27t+Start+The+Fire&cat=s (Retrieved September 17, 2012)
  31. ^ Jans, Micha (updated April 23, 2009) Dutch Top 40 1989, MichaJans.nl, Jaarlijsten/1989. Retrieved April 2, 2010.
  32. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Billy Joel – We Didn't Star The Fire". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  33. ^ Oricon Singles Chart Oricon Singles Chart (Retrieved November 2, 2012)
  34. ^ "Charts.nz – Billy Joel – We Didn't Star The Fire". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  35. ^ "Billy Joel: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  36. ^ "Billy Joel Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  37. ^ "Billy Joel Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  38. ^ "Billy Joel Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  39. ^ "Canada RPM Top Singles of 1989". Retrieved August 9, 2010.
  40. ^ "INFINITY CHARTS: German Top 20". uni-wuerzburg.de. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  41. ^ "Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1990". RPM. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  42. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1990". Retrieved September 15, 2009.
  43. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
External links Billy JoelStudio albums Live albums Compilations Singles Other songs Tours Film See also

Custom Search
We Didn\\'t Start The Fire
We Didn't Start The Fire
We Didn't Start The Fire Mp3
We Didn't Start The Fire Vinyl
We Didn't Start The Fire Book
We Didn't Start The Fire Video
We Didn't Start The Fire Billy Joel
We Didn't Start The Fire Instrumental

We Didn\\'t Start The Fire
We Didn't Start The Fire
We Didn't Start The Fire Mp3
We Didn't Start The Fire Vinyl
We Didn't Start The Fire Book
We Didn't Start The Fire Video
We Didn't Start The Fire Billy Joel
We Didn't Start The Fire Instrumental

We Didn't Start The Fire

Project of very low consumption, radiation and bitrate softphones, with the support of the spatial audio, of the frequency shifts and of the ultrasonic communications
Multifunction Audio Filter with Remote Control
More Information
Free the Animation VR

Play to reveal 3D images and 3D models
More Information

WhmSoft Moblog
Copyright (C) 2006-2019 WhmSoft
All Rights Reserved