Billy Joel: We Didn't Start the Fire Meaning
Song Released: 1989
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We Didn't Start the Fire Lyrics
anonymous Aug 1st 2007, 22:02 report
No, the fire is all the problems in the world, which has never been perfect.
anonymous Feb 26th 2008, 19:07 report
Wow, some people are close. but seriously, every two lines is a different year, starting with 1949 to 64 or so. not counting the chorus though. and then the last stanza is 1989...the present year. It's basically saying that the world will have its ups and downs, and it's just part of life. also that, the problems there are here today(or in 1989) have roots and that the blame shouldn't be placed on the baby boom generation for the problems in the world. The end.
anonymous Dec 24th 2005, 13:28 report
The second person to interpret was a little better but still incorrect. The song is a timeline from the time around Joel's birth till the time he wrote the song. The chorus just simply states that the world is turning and we don't know why but it just does and this is what happens to us because of it. This song is studied in many history classes to get an idea of when things happened and in what order.
anonymous Apr 10th 2012, 18:06 report
I think that this song is about how the people before Billy Joel's time started something and Billy's generation tried to fix it.Also it could also mean people places, or things that happened during war.
anonymous Feb 6th 2012, 17:46 report
The whole song is essentially an analysis of the events that happened between 1949 to 1989. The chorus discusses the fact that nothing we've done in recent years is directly responsible for the problems in the world ("We didn't start the fire"). The problems stem from events in the past ("It's always burning since the world's been turning"). The next lines of the chorus discuss the fact that each generation attempts to fix the issues of the last ("We didn't light it, but we tried to fight it"). And the last line refers to the idea that nothing we do, in an attempt to to fix the world's problems, is really going to have any long term effects ("But when we are gone, will it still burn on")
anonymous Dec 17th 2011, 15:16 report
Each verse is about something that affected the world in a good or bad way and no matter how hard you try, you can't stop things from happening.
anonymous Oct 6th 2011, 22:39 report
we have made a lot of problems and we need to fix them but we are not sure how and now we have all this crap to deal with...
anonymous May 24th 2011, 17:21 report
i believe that the fire is a symbol for all the problems our world has seen, and all the people and events listed are things that have happened throughout Billy Joel's life. The chorus, i feel is a comfort blanket after listening to a 30 second rant on all the bad things, it is telling us that we will try our best to stop the fire or problems but it will never stop and that is not one generations fault it is what causes the world to go round.
anonymous May 6th 2011, 18:09 report
i heard it was about all the events that happened during Billy Joel's lifetime. I also heard that it was most of the events that werent in Americas control ( that second part i only heard so correct this if im wrong)
anonymous Apr 28th 2011, 19:02 report
it means we didnt start the problems theyve been there since the world was turning, but we tried to fight the fire.
anonymous Apr 16th 2011, 23:45 report
When Billy Joel wrote this song he was talking about all of the crap that was happening in the world from when he was born til when he wrote the song. The "fire" is all the persecution that goes on in the world and hes saying that they didn't start the fire and that they are trying to fight it. Many of the Things that he lists in the song are persecutions between people and issues between groups of people.
anonymous May 11th 2010, 14:26 report
It's about the 20th century and all the big main events-good & bad, but mostly bad.
anonymous Feb 5th 2010, 11:07 report
The "fire" that he refers to isn't the same as the list of people and events. The fire is the basic drive of every organism on the planet to survive and overcome their environment. The events listed, whatever significance their order might have, and whoever might be to "blame" for them, are just results of the fire.
anonymous May 16th 2009, 19:38 report
Billy Joel explained that he wrote this song due to his interest in history. He commented that he would have wanted to be a history teacher if he had not become a musician. "We Didn't Start the Fire" was written after a conversation with John Lennon's son Sean. Sean was complaining that he was growing up in troubled times.
anonymous Mar 3rd 2009, 14:50 report
I'm pretty sure its just about the cold war....no I'm positive. Its about the Cold War, things that happened around the cold war...stuff like that. The Fire is communism.
anonymous Feb 19th 2009, 00:26 report
lol, wow guys you all argue a lot. The meaning of the song is kind of mixed up with all your interpretations. I'm not saying I'm right cause I know for a fact I don't know exactly what Billy Joel wrote this song about but it is true that the thing is a time line of things that happened in his life. Some things good and some bad. Like a lot of you said. Many of you are just stating the same thing that people before you said just in different words. =D it can have different meaning for different people though. A song doesn't always have to have just one clear cut meaning. To make songs mean something to many people it has to effect different people and many people will interpret things differently to make the song meaningful to them. It depends on your personality.
CaptainVegetable Feb 3rd 2009, 11:38 report
I agree with other posters who stated that it's a timeline of events from Billy Joel's life. According to one source (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Didn't_Start_the_Fire), the timeline runs from 1949 to 1989. This source also identifies all of the people, places and events that are listed in the song.
anonymous Jan 22nd 2009, 19:14 report
Wow seriously, that one above me is retarded. It has nothing to do with god.
the opinion written on September 7th, 2008 09:03PM the the correct one. You all have a little bit of truth in your own. but i think that one sums it up best.
But no, its not about god. You can make that connection for yourself, but thats not what it is about.
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