Monday, February 12, 2007

We Didn't Start the Fire (Part 2)

History can be defined as the “aggregate of past events” or the “continuum of events occurring in succession leading from the past to the present and even into the future.” A simpler definition could be that “History is a record of the past.” This past could be a millennium ago, a century ago, a decade ago or even a year ago… As a matter of fact it could even be a minute ago.

I believe that our knowledge of our past helps us move forward in our future in a more circumspectual manner. We learn from our past and we make decisions based on what has previously occurred. We have often heard that without our knowledge of the past, we run the possibility of making unwise decisions. Knowledge of our past partially defines the way we are today.

“Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.”

I firmly believe in the importance of being aware of the events that have defined our society. We don’t have to be historians to learn from our past or to even understand it for that matter… We simply need to be aware of what has been occurring around us.

Singer Billy Joel chronicled 120 well-known events, peoples, things, and places widely noted between1949 and 1989. Though many of these events are American related, many of them are international in nature. When I read the lyrics, I discovered that many of these names and events that occurred during my lifetime were virtually unknown to me. I therefore decided that I would put some time into researching what has occurred during my lifetime… Without a shadow of a doubt, I learned more today about civilization than I have in many a year.

If you are interested in events that have occurred since 1949, click on any of his lyrics below and read more about our history. I have no doubt that you will walk away with a deeper appreciation of what has been going on in the world over those past 40 years. If you would like to continue hear the song while researching, be sure to hold down the SHIFT key while clicking on the links...This way the link will open up in a new window as the music continues.


We Didn't Start The Fire by Billy Joel

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio

Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

Rosenbergs, H-Bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, "The King and I", and "The Catcher in the Rye"

Eisenhower, vaccine, England's got a new queen
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Josef Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc

Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, dacron
Dien Bien Phu and "Rock Around the Clock"

Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn's got a winning team
Davy Crockett, "Peter Pan", Elvis Presley, Disneyland

Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Khrushchev
Princess Grace, "Peyton Place", trouble in the Suez


Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, "Bridge on the River Kwai"

Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball
Starkweather, homicide, children of thalidomide

Buddy Holly, "Ben-Hur", space monkey, Mafia
hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no go

U2, 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
Ayatollolah'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 Roller Cola Wars, I can't take it anymore


We didn't start the fire
But when we are gone
Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on...


Tasha said...

I don't know if I am posting in the right place! Anyway, I am a history freak!!! Usually though I believe we should learn more about ancient history. Thanks for coming by my blog awhile back. Hope to see you again:)

Hammer said...

I first saw the lyrics to that song when I worked as a DJ. Pretty cool stuff. I knew about most of them but it's still a good rundown of 40 years.

Janice said...

Wow!...did that ever bring a lot of memories back. Being probably one of your oldest readers I was familiar with all but one of the events mentioned but couldn't access the site as the transfer limit had been exceeded. This was a wonderful walk through Memory Lane, Dave! Absolutely enjoyed this post.

Regula Scheifele said...

Ohhh... I love that song. I remember getting the Storm Front album for my birthday and listening to this song over and over again with my parents, discussing the events mentioned.
I'd love to see what you and your readers would list as special events / people for the years 1990 to 2006?

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Very impressive work. This practically qualifies as a scholarly endeavour. Thanks. I think I will be visiting this site many times to read all 120 events in detail.

Becky Wolfe said...

I have never know what that song was about. All I ever remember when I hear it is the chorus and had never listened to the words before. I'm totally enlightened.

Looking around us, it seems the world tends to repeat its history over & over doesn't it. But personal history, yeah, I hope I've learned from some of my mistakes!

CSL said...

Wow, what a lot of interesting work! I'mm waiting on cable installation at my new house, and as soon as I have more than a few minutes at a time on-line, I'm definitely going back through these. Thanks.

montidogeo said...

This is fantastic, and cheered me up after a miserable day at work.


Josie said...

Dave, what an absolutely fantastic post. As LGS says, it qualifies as a scholarly endeavor. And thank you for so many memories.


Cheryl said...

There's a whole lotta learning to be done with the lyrics of this song. I just read the article about Panmunjom. It was fascinating. You did a lot of work here. I'll keep coming back.

HeiressChild said...

dave, you put a lot of thought and time into this blog, and on behalf of all who read it, thanx. i commented on your last post, and i'm sure you put just as much into all of your previous blogs, but that was so nice of you to do links under each name so we can click on to find out some history re each one.

i'm presently in school, so i'm learning tidbits thru my classes, but i'm going to definitely check out these links over the next few days.


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