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VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Billy Joel ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’

June 25, 2018

Whatever you think of the concept – and millennial audiences may certainly raise their eyebrows at the Baby Boomer rundown of the Luckiest Generation’s trials and tribulations – there’s no denying that ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’ had the cultural impact of a meteor strike.

The rapid-fire vocals are second nature even to people who couldn’t pick their author out of a line up, and it’s hard to pick a stronger contender for the definitive Billy Joel song, despite a career packed with highlights.

Even while covering forty years of world history in a little over four minutes, by offering no commentary (save for whatever you choose to believe the ‘fire’ is – something we don’t find out until the last few frames) Joel manages to keep the song itself remarkably apolitical.

By contrast, the video is a fast-paced run down of the generational evolution of the American family, taking in the burning of flags, bras and draft papers as martial bliss gives way to medicated stress and anger, with Joel himself a be-shaded, background presence throughout.

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