On September 27, 1989, the iconic song by Billy Joel,  We Didn’t Start the Fire hit the airwaves.  It was a history lesson set to music.  When you first heard the song, did you know or remember all the people places, things and events mentioned in the lyrics?  I sure didn’t.  Back in 1989 before the internet was something everyone had access to, my boyfriend (now husband) and I headed to the local public library and looked up all the historical references.  This month, for the A to Z Challenge, I am writing about that history.

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
Today is brought to you by the letter E.  We start all the way back in 1952 with a new United States President and a new Queen of England.
1952 Eisenhower
Sorry I moved this one to I for IKE as I had no other for that letter 🙂

Dwight D. Eisenhower is first elected as U.S. president, winning by a landslide margin of 442 to 89 electoral votes. His opponent, Adlai Stevenson

1952 England’s Got A New Queen

England’s got a new queen: Queen Elizabeth II succeeds to the throne of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Realms upon the death of her father, George VI, and is crowned the next year.

Did you watch the series on Netflix “Crown”?  I loved the story of the current Queen when she just took the thrown.  Now the longest reigning monarch in Great Britain history, Queen Elizabeth II became queen on February 6, 1952, and was crowned on June 2, 1953.  She was born Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary on April 21, 1926, in London, to Prince Albert, Duke of York (later known as King George VI), and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.   She married Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1947.  She is the mother of Prince Charles, heir to the throne, as well as the grandmother of princes William and Harry.
1955 Einstein
On the 18th of April 1955 Albert Einstein died in Princeton Hospital, New Jersey. He was 76 years old.  Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist. He developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics). Einstein’s work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. Einstein is best known in popular culture for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2 (which has been dubbed “the world’s most famous equation”). He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect”, a pivotal step in the evolution of quantum theory.  Einstein’s intellectual achievements and originality have made the word “Einstein” synonymous with “genius”.

Albert Einstein dies on April 18 at the age of 76.

1955 Elvis Presley
It was a important year for Elvis with many events happening in his career; however the most likely reason that Billy Joel listed Elvis in 1955 is that on November 21, 1955, at the Sun Studios, with several of his business associates and family members looking on, Elvis signs with RCA; his deal holds him to four singles a year, a 5% royalty, and $5,000.

Elvis Presley signs with RCA Records on November 21, beginning his pop career.

This song, one of his most famous is from his debut album with RCA
1959 Edsel is a no go
The Ford Motor Company introduced the 1958 model Edsel automobile on September 4, 1957 after much fanfare. Initial sales were disappointing to say the least. Ford had hoped to sell 200,000 of the 1958 model Edsels, but ended up only producing 68,045.  To try and bolster sales, Ford redesigned the car somewhat and removed some features that had not done well on the 58’s, but again sales were very low, compared to expectations. Only 47,396 of the 1959 models were produced.  The 1960 model was released in the fall of 59, but was basically a 1960 Ford with some sheet metal changes and did not resemble the earlier models very much at all. Only 2,846 of the 1960 models were produced, mainly just to fulfill dealer contracts.  Ford decided to discontinue the Edsel in favor of smaller cars that were becoming popular at the time, and on November 19, 1959 announced that it would no longer produce Edsels.

Edsel is a no-go: Production of this car marque ends after only three years due to poor sales.

1961 Eichmann
Otto Adolf Eichmann was a German Nazi SS-Obersturmbannführer (lieutenant colonel) and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust. Eichmann was tasked by SS-Obergruppenführer (general/lieutenant general) Reinhard Heydrich with facilitating and managing the logistics of mass deportation of Jews to ghettos and extermination camps in German-occupied Eastern Europe during World War II. In 1960, Eichmann was captured in Argentina by Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service. Following a widely publicized trial in Israel, he was found guilty of war crimes and hanged in 1962.

Adolf Eichmann, a “most wanted” Nazi war criminal, is traced to Argentina and captured by Mossad agents. He is covertly taken to Israel where he is put on trial for crimes against humanity in Germany during World War II, convicted, and hanged.


Tune in tomorrow which is brought to you by the letter F where Billy Joel sings about Foreign Debts.  What only one phrase to write about.  What will I do with all the extra time on my hands?

6 responses

  1. This is really cool and interesting! I do like this song a lot and have googled it myself to figure out all the things he’s singing about as well. The song has a great beat but it’s also weirdly educational – an odd mix but it works 🙂
    Today on my list of favourite things, E is for Emma Garland


  2. Denise says:

    One of my first memories from TV is watching the coronation. I was six years old. I am looking forward to the series on Einstein airing later this month. Never an Elvis fan. And no one was an Edsel fan, lol. Ah, the memories you are stirring up.

    Denise at My Life in Retirement Euromast Tower, Rotterdam


  3. Birgit says:

    Einstein was truly brilliant and what a face! I like Elvis and even his movies. The Edsel…..even the name sounds icky but I wouldn’t mind having one:) Queen E was so pretty, I think and what a strong person actually.


  4. Arlee Bird says:

    Again, so many memories. Eisenhower was the first president I can remember in my lifetime and Elizabeth was the first queen of England–in fact the only queen of England in my lifetime. I never really became aware of Einstein until I was in college in the 1970’s.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out