We Didn't Start The Fire

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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

Poll Results

OptionVotes
I can't take it anymore13
Foreign debts, homeless Vets, AIDS, Crack, Bernie Goetz 7
J.F.K. blown away, what else do I have to say 7
Wheel of Fortune, Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide 4
Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British Politician sex 4
Buddy Holly, Ben Hur, Space Monkey, Mafia 3
Starkwether, Homicide, Children of Thalidomide 3
Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac 3
Rock and Roller cola wars 2
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion 2
Princess Grace, Peyton Place, Trouble in the Suez 2
Maciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye 2
Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnny Ray 1
Ayatollah's in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan 1
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe 1
Chubby Checker, Psycho, Belgians in the Congo 1
U2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy 1
Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dancron 1
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc 1
Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn's got a winning team 1
Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Khrushchev 1
Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again 0
Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock 0
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, Terror on the airline 0
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, Bridge On The River Kwai 0
Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, Television 0
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio 0
Hypodermics on the shores, China's under martial law 0
Dien Bien Phu Falls, Rock Around the Clock 0
Rosenbergs, H Bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom 0
Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball 0
Eisenhower, Vaccine, England's got a new queen 0
Brando, The King And I, and The Catcher In The Rye 0
Hula Hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go 0
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland 0
Hemingway, Eichman, Stranger in a Strange Land 0
Lawrence of Arabia, British Beatlemania 0
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson 0
Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev 0


HI DERE, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:21 (ten years ago) Permalink

All are equal in the eyes of the Lord.

da croupier, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:25 (ten years ago) Permalink

Buddy Holly, Ben Hur, Space Monkey, Mafia

i like to imagine 'space monkey mafia' is one thing

and what, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:26 (ten years ago) Permalink

I was going to split each individual thing out on a seperate line but realized NO.

HI DERE, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:26 (ten years ago) Permalink

so many classic lines

69, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:26 (ten years ago) Permalink

i like having to choose them as a lot

69, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:27 (ten years ago) Permalink

so hard

gff, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:27 (ten years ago) Permalink

TO FIND A GOOD ONE

gff, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:28 (ten years ago) Permalink

I can't take it anymore

front-runner

dmr, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:29 (ten years ago) Permalink

Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British Politician sex

I like how Billy understands that there's such a thing as British polician sex.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:29 (ten years ago) Permalink

I love how there are 30 lines representing something like 15 years (1948-63), and then only 8 lines for the remaining 26 years.

jaymc, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:29 (ten years ago) Permalink

Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British Politician sex

for rhyming those last two

xp!

Simon H., Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:30 (ten years ago) Permalink

yeah i voted for i can't take it anymore

Mr. Que, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:30 (ten years ago) Permalink

jaymc, the point is that the boomers didn't start the fire, that the boomers didn't stop it is just a passing acknowledgement.

da croupier, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:30 (ten years ago) Permalink

If "CHILDREN OF THALIDOMIDE!!!" was separate I'd probably vote for that

da croupier, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:31 (ten years ago) Permalink

Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, Bridge On The River Kwai

This one is kind of poignant.

HI DERE, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:31 (ten years ago) Permalink

as it is I'm stuck between "rock'n'roller cola wars" "dylan, berlin, bay of pigs invasion" and "JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say?!?!!"

da croupier, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:32 (ten years ago) Permalink

"Foreign debts, homeless Vets, AIDS, Crack, Bernie Goetz"

so good!

but i voted for JFK with no second thought

69, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:32 (ten years ago) Permalink

This song should just be "Starkwether, Homicide, Children of Thalidomide" 74 times in a row.

John Justen, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:33 (ten years ago) Permalink

edsel is a no-go

da croupier, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:33 (ten years ago) Permalink

AIDS/Crack is pretty great

Mr. Que, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:33 (ten years ago) Permalink

Actually, I think that's a Front Line Assembly B-side. xpost to myself.

John Justen, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:33 (ten years ago) Permalink

Foreign debts, homeless Vets, AIDS, Crack, Bernie Goetz
may have the best rhyme, but i think i'm voting Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dancron

gabbneb, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:34 (ten years ago) Permalink

Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock

I mean, this line alone is like 1969-77 (sure, you could argue that punk started earlier, but the next line begins with Begin, who became prime minister in 1977 and is probably in there for his role at the Camp David Accords of 1978, anyway).

jaymc, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:34 (ten years ago) Permalink

Chubby Checker/Psycho is great because in the real song, you hear the Hitchcock strings for a second or two and it makes the song even scarier.

Mr. Que, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:35 (ten years ago) Permalink

It's kind of astonishing when you look at the lyrics and remember the awful awful music to which they are set.

HI DERE, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:35 (ten years ago) Permalink

I can't believe I've never done this at karaoke yet. I did "Modern Woman" a month ago, though!

da croupier, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:36 (ten years ago) Permalink

I think we've all done modern woman.

HI DERE, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:36 (ten years ago) Permalink

Buddy Holly, Ben Hur, Space Monkey, Mafia

^^^^^

El Tomboto, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:36 (ten years ago) Permalink

yeah where's the shred solo? after JFK, right?

69, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:37 (ten years ago) Permalink

I went for "J.F.K. blown away, what else do I have to say". It's cheap and lazy, like the rest of the song.

Euler, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:37 (ten years ago) Permalink

Who will be the asshole who creates the "American Pie" poll?

John Justen, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:37 (ten years ago) Permalink

isn't it a keyboard solo/breakdown?

Mr. Que, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:38 (ten years ago) Permalink

keyboards can shred dogg!

69, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:38 (ten years ago) Permalink

TRUE^^^^^^^

Mr. Que, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:39 (ten years ago) Permalink

Now I wish I could vote for the guitar fill that follows "thalidomide"

x-post!

da croupier, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:39 (ten years ago) Permalink

U2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy

J0rdan S., Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:40 (ten years ago) Permalink

i wish i had speakers at work, i would do nothing for the rest of the day except listen to this song/watch the video

Mr. Que, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:40 (ten years ago) Permalink

Who will be the asshole who creates the "American Pie" poll?

This sounds like a dare!

HI DERE, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:40 (ten years ago) Permalink

British Beatlemania

da croupier, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:40 (ten years ago) Permalink

The first time I heard this song was at the barber shop. I was 10 years old and thought that it was like the best thing ever. "He's just saying random stuff!"

jaymc, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:41 (ten years ago) Permalink

the doubling of the "ands" in line 6 is rather awkward

I totally owned Storm Front back in elementary school

da croupier, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:41 (ten years ago) Permalink

shit was deep

da croupier, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:42 (ten years ago) Permalink

I wish I could change my screen name to "Space Monkey Mafia".

HI DERE, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:42 (ten years ago) Permalink

da croupier, it's cool. i too, once sailed the cheesy seas on the Downeaster Alexa.

Mr. Que, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:43 (ten years ago) Permalink

"Santayana goodbye" always gave me a lol/fantasy of killing Joel.

LOVE the "Get a Life" episode where Chris Elliott is stuck upside down on rollercoaster for hours, making up new verses to this.

Dr Morbius, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:43 (ten years ago) Permalink

If I had the know-how I'd do a dub remix of the song, slowing the vocal waaaaaaaay down. The vocal is pretty monotonous so I bet it would scare small kids etc.

Euler, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:43 (ten years ago) Permalink

I wish I could change my screen name to "Space Monkey Mafia".

Sweet sugar cane, on my brain
I don't wanna, I don't wanna Go insane

da croupier, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:44 (ten years ago) Permalink

Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland

Is this one of those "one of these things is not like the other" tests?

HI DERE, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:45 (ten years ago) Permalink

marilyn MONROE

s1ocki, Wednesday, 31 October 2007 19:46 (ten years ago) Permalink

Diamondbacks, Anthrax, Interpol, Sniper Attacks

≝ (Pleasant Plains), Saturday, 6 August 2011 21:11 (seven years ago) Permalink

Iraq, Bush is back, Economy Sunk

Neanderthal, Saturday, 6 August 2011 21:16 (seven years ago) Permalink

Operation Dumbo Drop

billstevejim, Monday, 8 August 2011 05:04 (seven years ago) Permalink

Jackie Charlton, Eoin Hand
Johnny Giles, Ireland
Mick McCarthy, Stephen Staunton
Cascarino
Tony Galvin, Niall Quinn
Packie doesn't let em in
North of Ireland
South of Ireland
Only one can go

Paul McGrath, Back Four
Aldridge got another score
World Cup
English Clubs
Kevin Moran and the Dubs
European Championship
How can we forget the trip
Andy Townsend, Kevin Sheedy
Stapleton's a supersub

We're gonna start a fire
And when Rome is burning
there'll be no returning

We're gonna start a fire
We have Jack to mind us
and the fans behind us

Butragueño, Hungary
We scared the Dutch in Germany
Charlie Hurley, Liam Tuohy
Opel Invest
Ray Houghton, Liverpool
Ronnie Whelan's so cool
O'Leary in the Sunday World
Con is in the press

Stuttgart was no dream
now we have a winning team
Billy Bingham, Budapest
Man of Magic, Georgie Best
Eamon Dunphy writes it down
Dalymount to Landsdowne
English Football in a mess
Trouble on the Terraces

We're gonna start a fire
And when Rome is burning
there'll be no returning

We're gonna start a fire
We have Jack to mind us
and the fans behind us

Dasayev, Sócrates,
Maradona, Ardiles,
Puskás, Bessonov,
René van de Kerkhof,
Hamilton, Jim Magee,
Saint And Greavsie on TV,
Maradona, Hand of God
Brady should be in the Squad

Chris Morris, score draw
Don Givens, Denis Law,
Eusebio, Junior, Ronnie Whelan Senior
Pelé #10
We'll never see his like again
Goikoetxea's meaner
Champions, Argentina

We're gonna start a fire
And when Rome is burning
there'll be no returning

We're gonna start a fire
We have Jack to mind us
and the fans behind us

Netherlands, Egypt
England got a free trip
Pleaded, Seeded
Because of their supporters
Ruud Gullit might be out
Holland wouldn't have a shout
Hoddle and Waddle
Have they got the bottle?
We have England in the draw
And the Dutch like before
One thing that we're grateful for
We didn't get the Mafia

We're gonna start a fire
And when Rome is burning
there'll be no returning

We're gonna start a fire
We have Jack to mind us
and the fans behind us

Seeded in Sicily
Off the coast of Italy
6 hour boat trip
We can take the hardship
But the fans couldn't care
They can travel anywhere
No one else can match the sound
Our supporters bring around
June 11, English Game
We can do the trick again
Egypt next and then the Dutch
Its the second round for us
When we finally get to Rome
No one will be left at home
Aldridge is about to score
Listen to the Irish Roar

We're gonna start a fire
And when Rome is burning
there'll be no returning

We'll bring the Sam Maguire
We have Jack to mind us
and the fans behind us

naked human pyrami (seandalai), Monday, 8 August 2011 15:16 (seven years ago) Permalink

^ The first single I ever bought btw.

naked human pyrami (seandalai), Monday, 8 August 2011 15:17 (seven years ago) Permalink

What exactly is this fire anyway? Was it really caused in part by The King and I, Hoola Hoops, and Brooklyn having a winning team?

I always sort of wondered about this.

EveningStar (Sund4r), Monday, 8 August 2011 15:27 (seven years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I mean, if the premise of the song is "boomers weren't the first to fuck up the world, it goes back at least as far as Harry Truman" I guess I get that... but as my friend put it, "Why would you try to fight Chubby Checker?"

Doctor Casino, Tuesday, 9 August 2011 03:48 (seven years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

You know, the sound of the syllables is really great on this, and it could be a genuinely cool song if Joel had stuck closer to the premise: not saying we Boomers are any great shakes, but just to be clear, we got all rebellious because the world as delivered to us was already fucked up, divided and violent. Not a Forrest Gump "journey through the postwar decades!" history, but a preemptive strike against easy "Greatest Generation" valorization of the graying technocrats, warmongers and consumerist policymakers that set the terms of the postwar struggles and were still hanging around in positions of real power. It gets totally garbled up by including all these boomer-era pros and cons and/or pleasant bequests from older generations (is Buddy Holly really so destructive? Toscanini?), but then, it'd be hard to purge some of those rhymes once they'd made it in.

Doctor Casino, Sunday, 7 September 2014 18:52 (four years ago) Permalink

Easily one of the greatest songs of all time

Master of Treacle, Sunday, 7 September 2014 23:58 (four years ago) Permalink

How many people in 2014 remember (or ever knew) who Bernie Goetz is?

and in his absence, she (Lee626), Monday, 8 September 2014 07:57 (four years ago) Permalink

I do, but only thanks to that one Doonesbury storyline where Mike blunders into a media circus after a subway altercation.

Doctor Casino, Monday, 8 September 2014 12:42 (four years ago) Permalink

six months pass...

http://i.imgur.com/qf0vb6S.jpg

pplains, Sunday, 5 April 2015 20:52 (three years ago) Permalink

four months pass...

Yesssss.....

https://twitter.com/BillyJoel_Bot

Even better because I found it by combing through my work twitter's RT's.

pplains, Thursday, 20 August 2015 14:16 (three years ago) Permalink

lol at yr previous revive

Gorefest Frump (Doctor Casino), Thursday, 20 August 2015 14:58 (three years ago) Permalink

ILX Phrases That Stick In Your Mind

pplains, Thursday, 20 August 2015 15:17 (three years ago) Permalink

shit is this *chronological*? i had no idea.

piscesx, Thursday, 20 August 2015 15:24 (three years ago) Permalink

It jumps back and forth a few years here and there, and sometimes confuses by invoking somebody's death date, but yeah.

Gorefest Frump (Doctor Casino), Thursday, 20 August 2015 15:34 (three years ago) Permalink

ha clarity. that's why i never noticed.

just spent 20 minutes looking up Bernie Goetz. still no idea if he 'did it' or not.

piscesx, Thursday, 20 August 2015 17:20 (three years ago) Permalink

Now there's a fun afternoon project: Rearrange the lyrics, but keep the beat and rhyme.

pplains, Thursday, 20 August 2015 18:04 (three years ago) Permalink

Harry Mantle, Stalin X, Mafia, Chubby Goetz
Hula bomb, Moonstock, British Beatle monkey sex

Gorefest Frump (Doctor Casino), Thursday, 20 August 2015 18:10 (three years ago) Permalink

BELGIANS IN THALIDOMIDE

Gorefest Frump (Doctor Casino), Thursday, 20 August 2015 18:10 (three years ago) Permalink

"'Britney Spears' waffles" search yielded no worthwhile results, very surprised by this.

pplains, Thursday, 20 August 2015 18:14 (three years ago) Permalink

Did find this though.

http://i.imgur.com/E3KGBoX.jpg

pplains, Thursday, 20 August 2015 18:14 (three years ago) Permalink

how could you not realize this was chronological?

Benson and the Jets (ENBB), Thursday, 20 August 2015 18:21 (three years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

@we_didnt_start

johnny crunch, Thursday, 13 October 2016 21:07 (two years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

I spent way too many years wondering who the 'Children of the Little Mind' were (see also 'Bacon Regan').

This Bobo Isn't Going to Honk Itself (Old Lunch), Sunday, 10 June 2018 02:26 (four months ago) Permalink

lol, "Children of the Little Mind" is SO close to being the title of a 1965-era Serious Adult Nonfiction Publication that became synonymous with an era/concern/issue, and thus got namechecked in "We Didn't Start The Fire."

noel gallaghah's high flying burbbhrbhbbhbburbbb (Doctor Casino), Sunday, 10 June 2018 04:04 (four months ago) Permalink

Old Mist Junglin'
TROUBLE IN THE SEWERS

nashwan, Sunday, 10 June 2018 12:48 (four months ago) Permalink

my childhood spoof (warning: very funny!)

Superman and Lois Lane
Spider-Man and Mary Jane
Harry, Larry, Barry, Gary
Jerry, Cary, Billy Zane

geoffreyess, Sunday, 10 June 2018 22:34 (four months ago) Permalink

and the only other part I still remember:

Nair, achy breaky hair, mullet, the electric chair

geoffreyess, Sunday, 10 June 2018 22:35 (four months ago) Permalink

It’s been long enough that someone could do a “Millennial” version/update, starting where the original left off.

i’m still stanning (morrisp), Sunday, 10 June 2018 22:43 (four months ago) Permalink

(Note: I am not actually advocating this idea)

i’m still stanning (morrisp), Sunday, 10 June 2018 22:47 (four months ago) Permalink

a couple days before i faked speaking in tongues, a man in a sport coat stood in front of me and hundreds of other young teens and played a parody/cover of this song titled "we're gonna read the bible"

god i fucking hate this song

obviously DLC (Karl Malone), Monday, 11 June 2018 00:01 (four months ago) Permalink

Boy, now that would be a hard one.

Sons of Simeon, Jemuel, and Jamin,
Ephraim and Manasseh
Ahisamach, Aholiab
Shelumiel, the son of Zurishaddai

pplains, Monday, 11 June 2018 01:48 (four months ago) Permalink

My friend just saw him on a lark at MSG and live-streamed (so to speak) the walk from his seat to the bathroom when Billy started this song.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 11 June 2018 01:50 (four months ago) Permalink

It was always burnin', sister.
World's been turnin'.

Not with a bang but a MAGA (Old Lunch), Monday, 11 June 2018 10:20 (four months ago) Permalink

took me a minute to realise msg didn't refer to monosodium glutamate there

or did it

CARL MARKS PRINCIPAL INVESTING AND ADVISORY SERVICES (bizarro gazzara), Monday, 11 June 2018 10:27 (four months ago) Permalink

a couple days before i faked speaking in tongues, a man in a sport coat stood in front of me and hundreds of other young teens and played a parody/cover of this song titled "we're gonna read the bible"

karl i'm so sorry

CARL MARKS PRINCIPAL INVESTING AND ADVISORY SERVICES (bizarro gazzara), Monday, 11 June 2018 10:27 (four months ago) Permalink

There are also things in the song that I heard correctly but contextualized incorrectly, such as 'Chubby Checker (Psycho)' (suggesting that Chubby had severe mental instability) and 'Hula Hoops Castro' (presumably the daughter of Fidel).

Not with a bang but a MAGA (Old Lunch), Monday, 11 June 2018 11:50 (four months ago) Permalink

'non sequitur list of things set to unengaging music' is a severely underutilized songwriting form imo.

Not with a bang but a MAGA (Old Lunch), Monday, 11 June 2018 12:09 (four months ago) Permalink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rsmq4oJaiM

pplains, Monday, 11 June 2018 13:57 (four months ago) Permalink

'non sequitur list of things set to unengaging music' is a severely underutilized songwriting form imo.

― Not with a bang but a MAGA (Old Lunch)

not by roger waters!

Arch Bacon (rushomancy), Monday, 11 June 2018 14:05 (four months ago) Permalink

Hyperloop
Fash bro
Incel is a no go

nashwan, Monday, 11 June 2018 14:11 (four months ago) Permalink

no votes for leonard bernstein, leonid brezhnev, lenny bruce and lester bangs, hmm.

fact checking cuz, Monday, 11 June 2018 20:46 (four months ago) Permalink

hear me out. what if .. we did start the fire?

you bet, nancy (map), Monday, 11 June 2018 20:50 (four months ago) Permalink

or it pretty much went out and we re-started it

you bet, nancy (map), Monday, 11 June 2018 20:51 (four months ago) Permalink

i wish this song were called "Moments in Time"

you bet, nancy (map), Monday, 11 June 2018 20:52 (four months ago) Permalink

What if this had been one of those songs like "The Horse" by Cliff Nobles where the instrumental was more famous than the side with the lyrics.

People would hear it at a football game and go, "Ever hear the version with the lyrics? It's really weird."

pplains, Monday, 11 June 2018 20:57 (four months ago) Permalink

I know like a thousand times more about the history and culture of the 20th Century than I did when this song came out and I still don't understand like a quarter (maybe even a third) of these lyrics.

Not with a bang but a MAGA (Old Lunch), Monday, 11 June 2018 22:10 (four months ago) Permalink


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