Why Did Billy Joel Write We Didn’t Start the Fire?

Why Did Billy Joel Write We Didn’t Start the Fire

Released on November 10th in 1989, the song “We Didn’t Start the Fire” is a meaningful song written by pop icon Billy Joel. As part of the “Storm Front” music release, it talks about various issues that touched the life of the singer. As one of the highly interesting songs in music history, it is good to know the reason why Billy Joel wrote that beautiful song.

The Reason for Writing the Song

Why did Billy Joel Write “We Didn’t Start the Fire?” Joel said that he wrote the song because he really likes history a lot. In fact, he once mentioned in an interview that if he did not become a musician, he would probably love to become a history teacher. Right after it was released, the song’s catchy melody and meaningful lyrics easily got the attention of many people. The song catapulted its way to the top of the music charts in the U.S.

The Grammy Awards noticed the song right away. It was nominated for the prestigious ‘Record of the Year’ category. Likewise, it also became the third number one hit for Joel. A music video was produced for this song, which Chris Blum directed. It was all about a middle-class couple aspiring for that elusive American Dream. The video also demonstrated the tumultuous society during the latter half of the 20th century.

Other Important and Highly Interesting Details about the Song

The unique style used to write this song was called stream of consciousness. It was comprised of various unrelated images combined within a half-sung, half-spoken and rapid-fire style of vocals. This song has different kinds of historical events within the lyrics including hot issues pertaining to sports, foreign affairs and popular entertainment. Overall, there are 121 events mentioned including the World Series championship run of the New York Yankees led by Joe DiMaggio, the invention of the gossip column in newspapers and the award-winning Broadway musical “South Pacific.”

There are other interesting historic events mentioned in other verses of the song such as the popularity of Marilyn Monroe, the war between North Korea and South Korea as well as the emergence of television as a highly efficient tool in advertising. In addition, it also talked about the death of philosopher George Santayana, the victory of Rocky Marciano against Jersey Joe Walcott and the controversial novel “The Catcher in the Rye,” by J. D. Salinger. Other notable events mentioned in the song include the Death of Albert Einstein, the death of U.S. actor James Dean and the opening of Disneyland.

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