Mr. Allsop's terrific video tribute! 

"We Didn't Start the Fire"

The History Behind Billy Joel's Song

Updated June 16, 2009 

Originally released on the STORM FRONT album, "We Didn't Start the Fire" is an excellent education tool for teachers and students! Below are the song's lyrics. Click on the links within the lyrics for info on the major events of the 20th century!

"We Didn't Start The Fire" by Billy Joel

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

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

Josef Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc

Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, dacron
Dien Bien Phu and "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 
JFK, 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
Ayatollolah'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 Roller Cola Wars, I can't take it anymore


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

A super video of the song: Billy Joel - "We Didn't Start the Fire"