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Billy Joel

  • 1940's

    Harry Truman is inaugurated as U.S. president after being elected in 1948 to his own term; previously he was sworn in following the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He authorized the use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan during World War II, on August 6 and August 9, 1945, respectively.
  • 1950's

    Marilyn Monroe soars in popularity with five new movies, including The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve, and attempts suicide after the death of friend Johnny Hyde who asked to marry her several times, but she refused respectfully. Monroe would later (1954) be married for a brief time to Joe DiMaggio (mentioned in the previous verse).
  • 1960's

    U-2: An American U-2 spy plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union, causing the U-2 Crisis of 1960.
    Syngman Rhee was rescued by the CIA after being forced to resign as leader of South Korea for allegedly fixing an election and embezzling more than twenty million U.S. dollars.
    Payola, illegal payments for radio broadcasting of songs, was publicized due to Dick Clark's testimony before Congress and Alan Freed's public disgrace.
    John F. Kennedy beats Richard Nixon in
  • 1970's

    Watergate: Political scandal that began when the Democratic National Committee's headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, DC was broken into. After the break-in, word began to spread that President Richard Nixon (a Republican) may have known about the break-in, and tried to cover it up. The scandal would ultimately result in the resignation of President Nixon, and to date, this remains the only time that anyone has ever resigned the United States Presidency.
    Punk rock: The Ram
  • 1980's

    Wheel of Fortune: A hit television game show which has been TV's highest-rated syndicated program since 1983.
    Sally Ride: In 1983 she becomes the first American woman in space. Dr. Ride's quip from space "Better than an E-ticket", harkens back to the opening of Disneyland mentioned earlier, with the E-ticket purchase needed for the best rides.
    Heavy metal suicide: In the 1980s Ozzy Osbourne and the bands Judas Priest and Metallica were brought to court by parents who accused the musicians of hid
  • Born

    Billy Joel was born on May 9, 1989. when the song was released on his album Storm Front.
  • Derivations

    DerivationsNumerous parodies and takeoffs have been based on the song, including The Simpsons' parody "They'll Never Stop the Simpsons" at the end of the 2002 "Gump Roast" episode,[11] and the San Francisco a cappella group The Richter Scales' 2007 Webby Award-winning[12] parody "Here Comes Another Bubble." A version called "We Love Barney Fife," recorded by the band Guns 'n' Moses, was played frequently on the Doctor Demento radio show. The song was parodied in an episode of the U.S. version of
  • History

    Joel has said, "I'm a history nut. I devour books. At one time I wanted to be a history teacher". According to his mother, he was a bookworm by the age of seven.[1] Unlike most of Joel's songs, the lyrics were written before the melody, owing to the somewhat unusual style of the song. The song was a huge commercial success and was Joel's third Billboard No. 1 hit. It was nominated for the Grammy Award for Record of the Year. I had turned forty. It was 1989 and I said "Okay, what's happened in m
  • Music Video's

    Music Video's
    A music video for the single was directed by Chris Blum,[6] which chronicles a middle-class married couple and their goal of the American Dream: a home, careers and children. This is symbolised by the constant revamping of a domestic kitchen - 1940s utilitarian turning into 1950s Populuxe, 1960s op art into 1970s earth-colored tiles and macramé, and finally 1980s black lacquer & granite bench tops. This is juxtaposed with the tumultuous social times of the second half of the 20th century (e.g.,
  • Historical items referred to in the song

    Historical items referred to in the song
    Though the lyrics are rapid-fire with several people and events mentioned in a single word each, there is widespread agreement on the meaning of the lyric. Steven Ettinger wrote, Billy Joel captured the major images, events, and personalities of this half-century in a three-minute song.... It was pure information overload, a song that assumed we knew exactly what he was singing about...What was truly alarming was the realization that we, the listeners, for the most part understood the reference