Billy Joel Doesn’t Get Why People Hate ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’ So Much
Billy Joel knows a lot of people hate “We Didn’t Start The Fire,” but he’s not sure why.
The Piano Man appeared on the October 2021 episode of We Didn’t Start The Fire: The History Podcast, which breaks down all of the moments, people and other events mentioned in the 1989 number one hit song.
“The only thing I’ve heard about that song from people is, ‘I hate that song!'” said Joel. “Some people hate that song. It’s one of the most hated things I ever wrote! And I don’t get the hate.”
Joel did admit in the interview there was one thing about the track he wasn’t pleased with, and that’s the actual music. He likened the melody to “a mosquito buzzing around your head” and added the composition is “more annoying than musical.” Joel says that happened because he wrote the lyrics of the song first and than the music. For him, it’s usually the other way around.
As for the lyrics, Joel said, “…I only wrote stuff I wanted to hear. If it turned out to be a hit, it was pure dumb luck. I didn’t even pick the singles; the record company picks what’s going to be a single. I hand them an album of a bunch of songs and go, ‘Here, now it’s your turkey. You figure it out.'”