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We Didn't Start the Fire

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fires are burning again all over the American Southwest. We even had one in Corrales, a little place near enough to Albuquerque to really make the air smoky yesterday.

Billy Joel wrote and recorded this recap of history from 1949 to 1989 - in a 3 minute song.

Per Wikipedia: The idea for the song came about when Joel was talking with someone half his age. The guy was talking about how the world was in such a big mess and it would never be resolved. Joel replied to him "I thought the same things when I was your age". The person replied: "Yeah, but you grew up in the fifties and everybody knows that nothing happened in the fifties." Not impressed by this Joel retorted: "Wait a minute, didn't you hear of Korea, the Hungarian freedom fighters or the Suez Crisis?" He said it was those headlines which formed the basic framework for the song.



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


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


Rosenbergs, 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


CHORUS:
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 aand Prokofiev
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc


Roy hn, 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, Krushchev
Princess Grace, "Peyton Place", trouble in the Suez



CHORUS

Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, "Bridge on the River Kwai"



Lebanon, Charlse de Gaulle, California baseball
Starkweather, homicide, children of thalidomide


Buddy Holly, "Ben Hur", space monkey, Mafia
Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go


U-2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy
Chubby Checker, "Psycho", Belgians in the Congo


CHORUS

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


"Lawrence of Arabia", British Beatlemania
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson


Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex
JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say


CHORUS

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


CHORUS

We didn't start the fire
But when we are gone
Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on...


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