HEYOOOOOOO so I’ve mentioned in the past a few times the idea of re-writing Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” to “update” it for current events.
Well, I just turned 30, so I figured why not try to re-write it so that it covers the past 30 years?
So I gave it a shot. A few things worth noting:
- Joel had 40 years’ worth of stuff in his song; I have 30. Does that make a difference? Dunno.
- The biggest, most impactful event in Joel’s original timeline (at least as far as the song is structured) is JFK’s assassination (“JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say?”). The biggest, most impactful event in my timeline is definitely 9/11. Unfortunately, it does not fit into the song’s timeline very nicely. It’s a whole verse before the JFK line and the way the verses are structured (I tried to give each verse a set number of years), it kind of just falls in the middle of one of them. So not as good.
- Did I miss some major events? Surely. I tried to get a decent variety, but I suspect I missed a few things that would be obvious to include for other people.
- I tried to stay true to his cadence for all of the lines, but a decent number of mine are different than the original.
- This version absolutely sucks compared to the original.
OKAY, HERE WE GO. And as if it needs to be said, this is sung to the tune of “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”
Berlin Wall, Gorbachev, Syringe Tide, World Wide Web
Roger Rabbit, Cold War, Freddie Mercury
Reno, Nafta, Rodney King, World Trade Center Bombing
NAFTA, Exxon, Windows, united Germany
Chunnel, Hubble, Desert Storm, war on drugs, Morris Worm
Seinfeld, Waco siege, Space Shuttle Discovery
Friends, Game Boy, dino “Sue,” Hurricane Andrew
Clarence Thomas, GPS, a fatwa for Rushdie
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
O.J. Simpson, Amazon, Oklahoma City Bomb
Hale-Bopp, boy band pop, Dolly the sheep
Harry Potter, Princess Di, Toy Story, Columbine
Napster, Euro, Ted Kaczynski
ExxonMobil, Sarajevo, Mark McGwire, Galileo
Nunavut, Albright, Titanic, baseball strike,
AOL, Deep Blue, Mad Cow, Google
Bill Gates, Y2K, Clinton and Lewinsky
Bush beats Gore, hanging chads, iPods are the new fad
Airplanes hijacked, 9/11 attacks
War on Terror, Taliban, U.S. invades Afghanistan
Homeland, anthrax, and the Patriot Act
Iraq War, Saddam Hussein, Stock exchange, Bush again
Columbia, protests, North Korea nuke test,
SARS, Mir, YouTube, Muhammed, Pluto,
Facebook, Wikipedia, Hurricane Katrina
Michael Jackson, Avatar, Large Hadron Collider
H1N1, Sully on the Hudson
Mars Curiosity, Europe gets some record heat
Arab Spring, Bin Laden, Flash Crash, Horizon
Bitcoin, iPhone, exoplanets, Eurozone
Obama, WikiLeaks, Occupy Wall St.
Sandy Hook, Michael Brown, Baumgartner faster than sound
Water crisis down in Flint, Donald Trump is president
Higgs Boson, CharlieHebdo, Martian liquid H20
Putin, Snowden, Zika virus, Cubs win
ISIS, Brexit, Harambe, Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
Ebola, eclipse, Vegas shooting, Space X
Record-breaking hurricanes, government shutdown again
Anti-vaxxers, climate change, the whole world has gone insane
I mentioned this to Nate a while back, but I figured I’d put it on here, too, just so that I’d maybe actually follow through with it.
I’m going to be 30 next year, which is…weird.* But anyway, I thought it would be kind of a cool thing to take Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire and re-write it so that it covers the events of the last 30 years. Partially because the original song covers about 40 years and I don’t want to wait another decade, and partially because I’d like the challenge of rhyming “fuck, we elected Trump” with something.
So yeah, I’m going to try to do that by this time next year! Hopefully we won’t get Trump’d in the meantime.
*It’s not bad, just weird. I don’t mind the idea of aging, I just don’t feel like I’ve lived for almost 3 decades. I feel like I’m still 19 or something.
Today as my mom and I were driving around, Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire came on over Shuffle. I commented, “I wonder what this song’s Wikipedia page looks like?”
Therefore, this week’s WeeklyWiki = We Didn’t Start the Fire!
I think this is a really interesting song, both because of all the events it contains but also because Billy Joel was able to rhyme everything. Haha, I think that’s awesome. Says Wiki” “Unlike most of Joel’s songs, the lyrics were written before the melody, owing to the somewhat unusual style of the song.”
And: “I had turned forty. It was 1989 and I said “Okay, what’s happened in my life?” I wrote down the year 1949. Okay, Harry Truman was president. Popular singer of the day, Doris Day. China went Communist. Another popular singer, Johnnie Ray. Big Broadway show, South Pacific. Journalist, Walter Winchell. Athlete, Joe DiMaggio. Then I went on to 1950 […]. It’s one of the worst melodies I’ve ever written. I kind of like the lyric though.”
It’d be interesting to see such a song written today.