Tag Archives: Billy Joel

Sunday Song Suggestions #18…

We Didn’t Start the Fire Billy Joel – 1989

This song came out at a time when I was really finding my way with my musical tastes and preferences. I was familiar with some of Billy Joel’s work, but he was someone I thought of as belonging to my parents’ generation. We Didn’t Start the Fire was what really put him on the map for me.

This is certainly a unique song with a unique concept, and it became one of Joel’s most popular singles. The lyrical history lesson – which is presented almost exclusively as a series of names, places, and events – takes us from his birth year of 1949 to 1989, the year of the song’s release. The staccato rhythm of the verses shouldn’t work, but somehow it does. It’s deceptively clever and well put together.

We Didn’t Start the Fire is a song that I have long hoped would be given an update. It would be simple (from a lyrical standpoint) to record a second iteration, where all the content described is from the last thirty years instead of the preceding forty… but apparently ol’ Billy is not too keen on the idea.

Songs For January…

Deep And MeaninglessI'm Your Baby TonightNew York State of Mind

Deep and Meaningless – 2005 – Rooster
One of the best songs from a vastly underrated British indie band. This is from their self-titled debut offering. Great, poignant words. It’s a shame they burned out after only two albums.

I’m Your Baby Tonight – 1990 – Whitney Houston
The biggest and best female voice of the eighties started off the nineties with this classic. As far as I’m concerned, this is possibly the most difficult pop song to perform live. Ever.

New York State of Mind – 1976 – Billy Joel
Billy Joel is a master of the melody, but he has always been somewhat overshadowed by his contemporaries, which is a shame because – lyrically – he always has a lot to say.