Driving home from the beach on Sunday, Liz and I were rocking out to some serious 80s music. Who doesn’t love a good 80s tune? When “We Didn’t Start the Fire” came on, the two of us were both singing along at the top of our lungs and both of us, despite being separated in age by several years, knew every single word. Yes, I realize that it was a novelty song, but for my generation, it is, and always will be, an iconic song.
I clearly remember the year when “We Didn’t Start the Fire” came out. Mr. Teklits told our honors World History class that we could earn extra credit if we researched what each event in the song was, what year it happened, and wrote it all out. I listened to it over and over again to get all of the events written down (ah, a time before the internet, when getting the lyrics to a song wasn’t as easy as Googling!). But what I cherish most is the memory of sitting with my Grandpop after a Monday night dinner talking to him about the list of items. Grandpop was a research farmer, but his mind was incredible. He knew so much about everything. He patiently sat with me, going through each event, telling me what he recalled about them and explaining how they impacted the world. I will never hear the song without smiling and thinking about Grandpop.
Anyway, as Liz and I talked about the song, I thought, “Man, wouldn’t it be cool if Billy Joel did an updated version?” It’s been 22 years since the song was released and there’s been so much that could be written into song lyrics. And if you’re one that runs with the idea that the song is about the constant state of turmoil in the world…well, what could be better fodder than today’s current happenings?
So what do you think, Billy Joel? Can you crank out an updated version? I can pretty much guarantee you that it will be a hit…novelty or not. And if you need help writing the lyrics, drop me a line. I’m a heck of a rhymer.