Monday, November 21, 2016

Songoftheday 11/21/16 - Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray, South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio...

"We Didn't Start The Fire" - Billy Joel
from the album Storm Front (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 15

Today's song of the day comes from singer, songwriter, and "piano man" Billy Joel, who had taken a relatively long break since his 1986 album The Bridge, which wasn't as huge a financial success as his previous albums, but still spun off two top-10 pop hits in the U.S. with "Modern Woman" and "A Matter Of Trust" along with a track that topped Billboard magazine's Adult Contemporary radio chart, "This Is The Time". The following year he traveled to Russia for a series of landmark concerts that ended up being documented on the Концерт album which made the top 40 on the albums sales chart in America and sold over a million copies. But it wasn't until almost the end of the decade for his next studio album to be released. Storm Front was a more mature album in the vein of The Bridge with some of the angst present in his Nylon Curtain set from 1982. The first single from the record, "We Didn't Start The Fire", was a rapid-fire spittake of history cues with a delivery that brought R.E.M.'s similar "It's The End Of The World As We Know It", but with less of random rhymes and more timelines. It starts out in Billy's birth year of 1949 and continues down the path of mostly doom and gloom with a few fun points thrown in for good measure, though this was the first #1 song to have "AIDS" in the lyrics...


 "We Didn't Start The Fire" became Billy's third and so-far last #1 pop hit in the U.S. in December of 1989. The single also reached the top ten on Billboard's Mainstream Rock (#6) and Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") (#5) radio charts, Internationally, The song made the top ten in Canada (#2), Australia (#2), Ireland (#3), Germany (#4), New Zealand (#5), Austria (#7), and the UK (#7). He would earn three Grammy nominations in 1990, losing Song and Record of the Year to Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings", and Best Male Pop Vocal to Michael Bolton's "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You". 

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Here's Billy on tour behind the album in 1990 at Yankee Stadium...


...and balancing it out at Shea in 2008...


Since the advent of YouTube, many have tackled the song to show the actual historical events. Here's one of the better ones...


...and finally, Billy answering a question about the song, which he admits he didn't like musically...


Up tomorrow: Ignorance is bliss for this collaborating couple.

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