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’s 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
Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev
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
Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, 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
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
J.F.K. blown away, what else do I have to say
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 shore, China’s under martial law
Rock and Roll, cola wars, I can’t take it anymore.
The verses from the song ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ which lists notable and notorious people, places and events from the years 1949 – 1989. It was taken from the album ‘Storm Front (1989) by Billy Joel.
I used to know that off by heart! What’s more, I can remember most of the people and events mentioned…
I always smile when Bridge on the River Kwai comes up. One of my favourite films. I recognise quite a few of them but I did have to look up Walter Winchell, Peyton Place, Edsel is a no-go, Sally Ride, Panmunjom and Studebaker. He really did fit a lot into the song haha.
It really is quite something. Always been a big fan of history so great to see someone highlight how much it matters.
Ditto on the River Kwai reference! Of course, I was one of the few in my age group at the time who knew what it was LOL
One of the best epics ever. An astonishing film. What other war films do you like?
The Great Escape is my all-time favorite. Though the war is very second hand, the after effects of it in “On the Beach” were very strong (though I like the book much more). And of course, “Dr. Strangelove” from another point of view.
I’ve never really thought about others, war films and westerns are two that I don’t really think about, though I guess I do watch some after all 🙂
How about you?
Not seen ‘On the Beach’. Sounds intriguing. Paths of Glory, Apocalypse Now, Twelve O Clock High and Full Metal Jacket. I need to do a war quiz soon. I’ve only done a Vietnam one.
Apocalypse Now, of course, how did I forget that?
It’s still a great song. My students still enjoy hearing it after all these years. 🙂
It won’t date 🙂
I am obsessed with this song. 😀
How much could you do from memory at a karoake?
Hmm. That’s a tricky question. I would only being willing to do karaoke if I’d had a few, but if I’d had a few it’d probably affect my memory…so basically, I have no idea. Hahaha.
I would helpfully speed up the words for comic effect too (evil cartoon laugh)
Well hmph! I’m never going to karaoke with you now! Lol. 😉
I LOVE this songs (and all Billy Joel for that matter)
When this first came out, I taped it off the radio and tried writing done all the words. I knew most of the references, but had to use an Encyclopedia to figure out the rest [days before the internet :)]
25 years later, it’s still one of my favorite Billy Joel songs and I still know it all h heart.
I even saw this one performed live at the Storm Front concert in Feb ’89 in the Pontiac Silverdome 🙂
Wow. It really is an amazing achievement to get so much into one song. And to remember all the lyrics too ha.
Yep. I also loved history as a kid, so that and having Billy Joel giving a lesson to a great tune was amazing for me. 🙂
I remember reading that he wanted to be a history teacher.
I think I heard that too at some point
I have always found the sound of this song more fascinating than the lyrics – the way Joel manages to string all of those names together, how quickly he does it, etc.
Very true. Must be a nightmare to sing live ha.
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Can’t help but tap my feet to this song.
It’s just wonderful. And a useful history lesson.
Exactly, how many songs have a real history in them?
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