Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start the Fire
Many songs talk about some contemporary history. Maybe the trend started in the 70s with John Lennon, and passed through many British authors like Tears for Fears, or Springsteen in the U.S.A., and many others. But in 1989 (an absolute milestone year, and we will soon see it), Billy Joel crushed every record! He wrote a history book from 1949, his birthdate, to date.
And that’s the lyrics of “We didn’t start the fire”: a long list of characters and political situations of his (then) 40 years of life. He wrote the song after a friendly talk with Sean, JohnLennon (again!)’s second son. And Sean is unaware of many things that he has not witnessed. There’s all the America of the Marylins and Di Maggios, JFK, Nixon, Watergate, Reagan… Stalin and Kruschev, Aisa, from the Korea war with Panmunjom agreements to Vietnam, Ayatollahs in Iran and Russians in Afghanistan. And also Fidel Castro, Bay of Pigs, the Lebanon, de Gaulle and Queen Elizabeth.
A sort of nursery rhyme that Joel does not consider among his best songs, but a real favorite of his fans. Because they don’t feel responsible for receiving such a complicated world, victim of a fire started by someone else. And also this concept is absolutely modern and current, even after 30 years!
And how beautiful is the video, with the newly married couple getting adult and growing the family over the next 40 years?
Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Krushchev
Princess Grace, "Peyton Place", trouble in the Suez
We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
Billy Joel on Wikipedia