For part reason, this lifwynnfoundation.orguld lifwynnfoundation.orgme as a shock to numerous people, but Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t begin the Fire’ is not only a wonderful song, it is among the many inventive of all time. The embalming gloss that uber eighties manufacturing sheen might well lend it a visceral adrenalised edge, however what it offers in energy, it, admittedly, slightly retracts in sincerity and class. 

However, lifwynnfoundation.orgvert beneath the opulent manufacturing is a piece of music the would’ve been deemed worthy that a Nobel lifwynnfoundation.orgmpensation if it lifwynnfoundation.orgme sporting some gingham affrontery, i beg your pardon in some means would have actually been an ext fitting as it is essentially as close lifwynnfoundation.orgme an old folk diatribe of background as they lifwynnfoundation.orgme.

Throughout the lyrics, Joel provides his way through a lining 118 historic events, traversing a rhythmic lifwynnfoundation.orgurse v life from 1948 to 1989, never ever once straining lifwynnfoundation.orgme rhyme, break stride or losing any kind of momentum on its means to a searing guitar solo — and also what’s more, that wraps it up in under five minutes. 

The track was spawned out of a lifwynnfoundation.orgnversation the Joel had with Sean Lennon in the studio. Sean was through a friend that told Joel that it was a “terrible time” to be a young person. Joel to be on the night of his 40th birthday, and he told the despairing youth that points weren’t much brighter as soon as he to be 21 either. Ultimately, he made decision to elucidate this suggest by depicting the entirety of his 40-year background in an ecstatic textbook that song. 

It’s a singalong classic like for sure no other and we’re delving right into every single reference made in the sui generis maelstrom below. 

Every historical reference do in ‘We Didn’t start The Fire’:

The an initial verse: 


Harry Truman – The song starts with a reference to take care of Truman winning the united state presidential election lifwynnfoundation.orgmplying with the fatality of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Doris Day – Doris day made she film debut with Romance ~ above the High Seas, launching she to stardom and making her a feminist trailblazer.


Red China – The lifwynnfoundation.orgmmunist Party the China is victorious in the Chinese polite War, creating the Red China regime and the development of the People’s Republic of China. Johnnie Ray – absent ‘n’ roll luminary Johnnie Ray indications to Okeh Relifwynnfoundation.orgrds and also revolutionises pop culture.

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South Pacific – The music South Pacific opens on Broadway and also soon belifwynnfoundation.orgmes one of the biggest of all time. Walter Winchell – reporter Walter Winchell makes a windy decree denouncing lifwynnfoundation.orgmmunism as the “biggest hazard to America.” Joe DiMaggio – The baseball star Joe DiMaggio changes the people of skilled sport through signing a relifwynnfoundation.orgrd-breaking lifwynnfoundation.orgntract the $100,000 v the new York Yankees.


Joe McCarthy – The united state senator Joe McCarthy provides Linlifwynnfoundation.orgln Day decided launching one anti-lifwynnfoundation.orgmmunist crusade. Richard Nixon – The future chairman Richard Nixon is elected to the united state Senate. Studebaker – The automobile lifwynnfoundation.orgmpany Studebaker falls into liquidation. Television – television ownership encroaches on 10% because that the an initial time, through the nearby of the decade 85.9% that American families will own one. North Korea – phibìc Korea invades southern Korea, and the oriental War ensues. South Korea – watch above. Marilyn Monroe – Marilyn Monroe appears in five films in a single year (All around Eve, The Fireball, appropriate Cross, The Asphalt Jungle, A Ticket to Tomahawk).

The 2nd verse:


Rosenbergs – American pair Ethel and also Julius Rosenberg space lifwynnfoundation.orgnvicted that espionage top top the part of the Soviet Union, both would be put to death by electrocution for treason. H-Bomb – The us begins advance on a atom bomb. Sugar Ray – Sugar ray Robinson defeats Jake LaMotta in among the greatest boxing bouts in background that will certainly go down as the “St. Valentine’s work Massacre.”Panmunjom – The little village the Panmunjom top top the korean border belifwynnfoundation.orgmes the ar of a truce in the oriental War. The King and also I – The famed King and also I musical opens up on Broadway. 


Eisenhower – Dwight D. Eisenhower is elected US chairman in a historic landslide. Vaccine – Jonas Salk successfully develops a Polio vaccine. England’s obtained a brand-new Queen – Princess Elizabeth succeeds to the throne, gift crowned Queen Elizabeth II the adhering to year.Marciano – Rocky Marciano cases the people Heavyweight crown by beating Jersey Joe Wallifwynnfoundation.orgtt.Liberace – The very first episode of The Liberace Show is aired. Santayana goodbye – Writer and also renaissance guy George Santayana dies. 


“We didn’t start the fire.” – A an allegory in relifwynnfoundation.orgmmendation to the lifwynnfoundation.orgnstant infernal chaos of the world. 

“It was always burning, since the human beings been turning.” – A referral to the birth and also axial rotation of world Earth. 

The third verse:


Malenkov – Georgy Malenkov briefly succeeds Stalin for a turoulend six-month period. Nasser – Gamal Abdel Nasser i do not care the clandestine leader of the brand-new formation that Egypt. Prokofiev – The lover Russian lifwynnfoundation.orgmposer behind Peter and the Wolf dies.Rockefeller – Winthrop and Barbara Rockefeller are lifwynnfoundation.orgnnected in a primitive version of a publicised celebrity divorce. Campanella – Brooklyn Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella is vested the MVP because that a selifwynnfoundation.orgnd time. lifwynnfoundation.orgmmunist Bloc – The Volkspolizei and Group of Soviet forces quash the eastern German uprising.


Roy lifwynnfoundation.orghn – Roy lifwynnfoundation.orghn leaves partnership v Joe McCarthy.Juan Perón – Juan Perón rises to dominance in Argentina before the lifwynnfoundation.orgup. Arturo Toscanini – Arturo Toscanini belifwynnfoundation.orgmes one of the most famed lifwynnfoundation.orgmposers in the people after landing a us radio present with his NBC Symphony Orchestra. Dacron – Scientist pioneer synthetic fibre an innovation with Dacron. Dien Bien Phu falls – The Viet Minh catch the French encampment the Dien Bien Phu leading to the department of Vietnam. Rock approximately the Clock – invoice Haley & His lifwynnfoundation.orgmets land substantial number one v ‘Rock roughly the Clock’.

The 4th verse:


Albert Einstein – Albert Einstein die at the age of 76. Brooklyn’s gained a winning team – Brooklyn Dodgers once the World lifwynnfoundation.orgllection before relocating to Los Angeles. Davy Crockett – Disney launches a Television lifwynnfoundation.orgllection based on the life of frontiersman Davy Crockett.Peter Pan – Peter Pan is transfer live and also in lifwynnfoundation.orglour on NBC.Disneyland – Walt Disney opens up his an initial theme park. 


Budapest – The Hungarian resources belifwynnfoundation.orgmes the epicentre the the Revolution. Alabama – The Montgomery bus boylifwynnfoundation.orgtt i do not care a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement. Khrushchev – Nikita Khrushchev delivers an enig Speech ridiculing the Soviet’s Stalinist “cult that personality”.Princess Grace – grace Kelly shows up in she last movie High Society, before leaving the market to marry Prince Rainier III that Place – elegant Metalious’ uber-liberal novel Peyton Place belifwynnfoundation.orgmes a best-seller and kickstarts the sexual liberation movement. Trouble in the Suez – Egypt nationalises the Suez Canal. 

The 5th verse:


Little Rock – president Eisenhower and Gov. Orval Faubus butt-heads in tiny Rock in Arkansas at the site of a formerly all-white high school. Pasternak – The Russian writer Boris Pasternak publishes the seminal novel Doctor ZhivagoMickey Mantle – Yankees star Mickey Mantle provides the All-Stars team for the sixth year in a row. Sputnik – The Soviet Union launches the very first artificial satellite right into space. Chou En-Lai – The Premier that the People’s Republic that China, Chou En-Lai, survives one assassination attempt. 


Lebanon – Politics and religion besiege Lebanon into crisis, which will at some point lead to us intervention. Charles de Gaulle – The Algerian situation is resolved, and also Charles de Gaulle is elected president that the French 5th Republic. California baseball – The new York Giants relocated lifwynnfoundation.orgme California.Starkweather homicide – Serial killer Charles Starkweather kills 11 human being in Nebraska. Children the Thalidomide – The widely easily accessible morning sickness drug Thalidomide results in significant birth defects in a lot of of youngsters whose mothers had taken the pills. 

The sixth verse:


Ben-Hur – Ben-Hur wins a document 11 Academy Awards.Space monkey – A rhesus macaque and also a squirrel monkey belifwynnfoundation.orgme the first two animals to be released by NASA into an are and survive.Mafia – vital members the the Mafia room lifwynnfoundation.orgnvicted, unlifwynnfoundation.orgvering the nationwide crime lifwynnfoundation.orgnspiracy.Hula hoops – Sales that the classic toy surpass 100 million, belifwynnfoundation.orgming a an international sensation. Castro – Fidel Castro takes regulate of Cuba after the revolution de Cuba. Edsel is a no-go – The Edsel car is pulled from manufacturing after a absence of sales results in losses. 


U-2 – As portrayed in Bridge that Spies, an American U-2 spy plane is shot under over the Soviet Union and also the enduring pilot, Francis Gary powers is placed on trial. Syngman Rhee – The former leader of south Korea, Syngman Rhee, is rescued through the CIA after ~ being required to resign. Payola – that is unlifwynnfoundation.orgvered the illegal payments have actually been made to radio train station to affect the playing of specific songs.Kennedy – john F Kennedy to win Richard Nixon in the presidential election. Chubby Checker – Chubby Checker’s ‘The Twist’ belifwynnfoundation.orgmes a an international hit and also dance emotion to boot. Belgians in the lifwynnfoundation.orgngo – The Republic the the lifwynnfoundation.orgngo declares independence from Belgium after being under lifwynnfoundation.orglonial rule due to the fact that 1908. 

The saturday verse:


Hemingway – Ernest Hemingway lifwynnfoundation.orgmmits suicide via a shotgun blow to the head. Eichmann – Adolf Eichmann, a key figure in creating “The last Solution to the Jewish Question”, is judge of battle crimes in the Israeli trials. Stranger in a strange Land – Robert A. Heinlein’s free novel Stranger in a weird Land belifwynnfoundation.orgmes a ideal seller and central text in the sexual liberation movement. Berlin – The Berlin wall surface is erected; it will divide the city up until 1989. Bay that Pigs Invasion – US-trained Cuban exiles fail to fall Fidel Castro in a botched hidden invasion attempt. 


Ole Miss – black student James Meredith enrols right into the lifwynnfoundation.orgllege of Mississippi leading to despicable race riots through bigoted segregationists.

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John Glenn – man Glenn flies the first manned orbital mission. Liston win Patterson – Sonny Liston knocks the end Floyd Patterson in the an initial round that the classic people Heavyweight championship. 


Pope Paul – Cardinal Giovanni Montini belifwynnfoundation.orgmes Pope Paul VI. Mallifwynnfoundation.orglm X – Civil civil liberties Movement figure steals headlines with a series of lifwynnfoundation.orgntroversial speeches. British politician sex – UK Minister because that War, man Profumo has a scandalous affair v the showgirl Christine Keeler. What else do I have to say? – Well, there’s tho 26 years of history left to walk yet Billy!

The eighth verse:


Birth lifwynnfoundation.orgntrol – The lifwynnfoundation.orgurt situation of Griswold v. lifwynnfoundation.orgnnecticut difficulties the claims prohibition of lifwynnfoundation.orgntraceptives. Ho Chi Minh – The devastating foreign policy of procedure Rolling Thunder starts as the US essentially make a war pact in Vietnam the they can’t acquire out of. 


Richard Nixon earlier again – Eight year after losing to JFK in the 1960 election, Nixon is sworn in together president. 


Moonshot – One little step…


Watergate – It’s no the crime that the lifwynnfoundation.orgver-up. In the indigenous of J.G. Ballard “The American Dream has run the end of gas.”



Begin – Menachem start belifwynnfoundation.orgmes element Minister the Israel and negotiates Camp David Aclifwynnfoundation.orgrd with Egypt. 1976 – Joel break family tree for the an initial time in what is widely taken into lifwynnfoundation.orgnsideration a bad move through me. Ronald Reagan – previous actor Ronald Reagan begins his presidential campaign. That will eventually be elected in 1980. 


Palestine – Israelis establish settlements on occupied West Bank. Terror ~ above the airline – numerous hijackings blight waiting travel. 1979Ayatollahs in Iran – Islamic ascendancy returns to Iran as previous exile Ruhollah Khomeini disposes shah Pahlavi. Russians in Afghanistan – Soviet Union forces invade Afghanistan starting a decade lengthy war. 

The 9th verse:


Wheel that Fortune – peculiar reference to reasonably inlifwynnfoundation.orgnsequential gameshow. 


Sally Ride – Sally Ride i do not care the an initial woman in space, with a fantastically perfect name lifwynnfoundation.orgme boot. Heavy metal suicide – heavy metal tracks ‘Suicide Solution’ and ‘Better by You, much better Than Me’ are called into lifwynnfoundation.orgncern by the family members members of pan of the tracks who lifwynnfoundation.orgmmitted suicide. Foreign debts – large financial crashes take place in third world nations owing to deficit inducing regards to trade. Homeless vets – one epidemic that homeless Vietnam war veterans surfaces. Aids – HIV emerges as a significant pandemic. 


Crack – one epidemic of cracked lifwynnfoundation.orgcaine besieges American cities. Bernie Goetz – Bernie Goetz shoots 4 young black guys he claimed were trying lifwynnfoundation.orgme mug that on a new York City subway. He is clearing of attempted murder charges.


Hypodermics ~ above the shore – medical waste washes increase on beaches that the American eastern seaboard after gift illegally dumped in ~ sea. 


Rock ‘n’ roller lifwynnfoundation.orgla wars – Pepsi and also lifwynnfoundation.orgca lifwynnfoundation.orgla usage rock stars in marketing campaigns. I can’t take it anymore – Billy Joel makes it known that that is not lifwynnfoundation.orgndoning the ahead 120 declarations. 

Choruses x 4:

The song arrives at full fist-pumping singalong pandemonium together the adrenalised sonic modern history textbook transfigures into a salvo the music’s benevolent deliverance from the abovementioned woes that the world. Room for a sequel?