I debated putting this in GQ.
I almost was going to, but then decided that if I did, the odds are it would be moved.
For years Billy Joel has been one of my favorite musical artists. I like most of his songs, including We Didn’t Start the Fire.
Not too long ago, I played this song over and over and tried to memorize it, and eventually, I did.
But one line in it always confused me. The one in the title. Near the end, he’s reached events of the 1980’s and mentions “Rock and roller cola wars”.
Now, I know that in the mid 1980s to the end, Pepsi and Coke did have a major war with one another. And of course, Rock and roll was big then too.
In fact, Pepsi and Coke even got some great rock and rollers of the time (Like Michael Jackson, who, at the time, I’d still consider a bit rock n’ rollish, and Ray Charles) to sing in these commericals.
But it still just doesn’t make sense to me. Something about putting rock and roller with cola wars.
Plus the cola wars weren’t all that major back then.
Here is what I think.
Now, I’ve searched lyrics for this all over…and they all, even the ones in the damn CD covercase booklet, claim it’s rock n’ roller cola wars…
but I happen to think that maybe these people who made the lyrics by listening to old BJ misunderstood him as he sung them. Yes, even those who made the CD booklet.
Would it not make more sense if the line was… “Rock and Roll. (pause) The Cold War?”
For those of you that know the song…sing it with this line. Couldn’t this actually be the line?
And you have to admit, it would make just a BIT more sense of this was the line. The cold war was still going on in the 80s and even ended in that decade.
Could it be that all this time the lyrics were misheard?
And so, one day, I replayed on my CD player this part over and over and over and over again. I listened closely and carefully. And again, it really COULD be that he’s saying “rock and roll. The cold war…I can’t take it any more.”
What do you all think?