Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

We Didn't Start the Fi-ya!

Billy Joel is awesome.  If you don't agree, I'm not sure we can be friends anymore.

My dad raised me on the Storm Front cassette.  I am pretty sure my sisters and I wore that thing out choreographing dances to its many great songs.  So of course when I saw a Storm Front CD floating around my dad's house, I "borrowed" it for awhile.  It's one of the only CD's in my car, so it gets put it on long drives when we lose access to every radio station worth listening to.  And it gets put in when Alex really wants to listen to a CD, which is fairly often.

Alex's to-preschool song used to be "Trashin' the Camp" from Tarzan.  But I damaged the CD compilation on which it was featured.  But I'm proud to announce he has a new favorite, and I pretty much beam with pride when I hear his husky little voice rockin' out to "We Didn't Start the Fire."  It's the way he really kicks the second syllable of fire.  Ya know... fi-ya.  Love it.

I have to admit, there are some questionable lyrics, and I'll need to do a bit of explaining as the kids catch more of the lists.  I'm hoping they don't hear individually definable words for awhile, especially not in the "British politician sex..." line.  And "JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say?" will probably need to be explained sooner than later.  That one's pretty catch-able.  But, considering the kids also love Ke$ha... yeah.

I've loved tthe "fi-ya" song for as long as I can remember.  A year ago for Christmas, I bought my dad a Billy Joel songbook, and Lisa and I sat at the piano and tried to sing it.  Wow, there are a lot of words.  And I don't know what half of them refer to.

If I taught some sort of high school or college level American history course, I think I'd do a whole "We Didn't Start the Fire" unit where each of the students would choose three contrasting topics from the song and present on them.  For example one celebrity, one politician, and one work of art.  One foreign event, one development, one sports figure.

You don't actually have to do the research, but I'm curious.  Which three would you pick?

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray,South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio,Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, televisionNorth Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe,Rosenbergs, H-bomb, Sugar Ray, PanmunjomBrando, "The King and I" and "The Catcher in the Rye"Eisenhower, vaccine, England's got a new queen,Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbyeJoseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and ProkofievRockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc,Roy Hn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, dacron,Dien Bien Phu falls, "Rock Around the Clock"Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn's got a winning team,Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland,Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Krushchev,Princess Grace, "Peyton Place", trouble in the SuezLittle Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac,Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, "Bridge on the River Kwai"Lebanon, Charlse de Gaulle, California baseball,Starkweather, homicide, children of thalidomide,Buddy Holly, "Ben Hur", space monkey, Mafia,Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go,U-2, 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,Ayatollah'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 shores, China's under martial law,Rock and roll, cola wars, I can't take it anymore.
My three (because they sound interesting, but I have no idea what any of them are)1. Children of thalidomide2. Chubby Checker3. "Peyton Place"
And my other curiosity/challenge:
The original song was written about events between 1949 and 1989 - forty years of history.  It's crazy to me that another 23 years have gone by since then.  If you wrote a few new lines, what would they include?
C'mon, you know you want to play!


Julie said...

Because I am such an intellectual, I would pick Cola wars, Disneyland, and hula hoops. But seriously . . . Joe Mcarthy, punk rock, and Chubby Checker.

I would add 9/11, Harry Potter, and OPEC.

Miss Megan said...

I would research Dien Bien Phu falls, Panmunjom, and cola wars, because I don't know anything about them. I don't even know if they're three different mediums... probably not.

I love Julie's additions, and would also add the internet, Cubbies win the pennant, People's Princess, and first black president (oh! That almost rhymes! But it's in the wrong meter).

Brigham said...

CHildren of Thalidomide - I did a report on this in high school:
Thalidomide was a drug used to treat morning sickness. It was a miracle drug that was wonderful for women who were like my wife and sister-in-law who get way sick during pregnancy. Then the babies started being born and they were extremely deformed. It got pulled pretty quick after that.