Tag Archives: we didn’t start the fire

Tunes Tuesday: We Didn’t Start the Fire

Copyright JC Politi Photography

I received a lot of encouragement and support from last week’s Tunes Tuesday, so I think we will keep the series going. Again, this series will be exploring lyrics that tell a story as well as any poetry ever could.

This week, I have chosen the song “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, by Billy Joel. Each Billy Joel song tells a different story, so I am sure this will not be my last Billy Joel song.

But the lyrics to this particular song have always made me think the man is an absolute genius with words – the song provides a complete history lesson in under five minutes!

Copyright JC Politi Photography

What do you think? Did Bill Joel miss any important events or people during the time-span covered by this song?

Your challenge this week, should you choose to participate, is to come up with a few lines to update the song, since it stops in the year 1989. Don’t worry if it doesn’t rhyme, unless, of course you want it to! Just think about what you would include in a two minute song to encapsulate the past 20 years.

My best attempt at a start:

Facebook, MySpace, Twitter feed
Home foreclosures, Corporate greed…

We Didn’t Start the Fire
Billy Joel

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnny Ray,
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio

Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, Television,
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

Rosenberg, H-Bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, The King And I, and The Catcher In The Rye,

Eisenhower, Vaccine, England’s got a new queen,
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiov,
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc

Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dacron,
Dien Bien Phu Falls, Rock Around the Clock

Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn’s got a winning team,
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland

Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Khrushchev,
Princess Grace, Peyton Place, Trouble in the Suez

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac,
Sputnik, Zhou Enlai, Bridge On The River Kwai

Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball,
Starkweather Homicide, Children of Thalidomide

Buddy Holly, Ben Hur, Space Monkey, Mafia,
Hula Hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go

U2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy,
Chubby Checker, Psycho, Belgians in the Congo

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Hemingway, Eichmann, Stranger in a Strange Land,
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion

Lawrence of Arabia, British Beatle mania,
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson

Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British Politician sex,
J.F.K. blown away, what else do I have to say

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again,
Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock

Begin, Reagan, Palestine, Terror on the airline,
Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan

Wheel of Fortune, Sally Ride, heavy metal suicide,
Foreign debts, homeless Vets, AIDS, Crack, Bernie Goetz

Hypodermics on the shores, China’s under martial law,
Rock and Roller cola wars, I can’t take it anymore

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning since the world’s been turning.
We didn’t start the fire
But when we are gone
It will still burn on, and on, and on, and on…

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire…

This is a great video that shows the song with the year identified – again, a great history lesson:

Thanks so much for reading! I would love to hear your thoughts.

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