We Didn't Start the Fire Lyrics

Guess all the historical events referenced in the lyrics to "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel.
Quiz by Quizmaster
Last updated: September 26, 2017
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First submittedSeptember 22, 2014
Times taken35,037
Average score40.3%
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WWII President
Harry Truman
Bubbly blonde movie star
Doris Day
Newly Communist country
Red China
Early white rock & roller
Johnnie Ray
One enchanted Broadway musical
South Pacific
Gossiping anti-Communist radio man
Walter Winchell
"Joltin" player for the Yankees
Joe DiMaggio
Red Scare senator
Joe McCarthy
Eisenhower's VP
Richard Nixon
Defunct American car company
The boob tube
Communist Asian country ...
North Korea
That battled this neighboring country
South Korea
Actress born Norma Jeane
Marilyn Monroe
Husband and wife atomic spies
Like an A-bomb, but more powerful
Great middleweight boxer
Sugar Ray
City in the Korean DMZ
"On the Waterfront" actor
Musical about Anna and Siam
The King and I
Salinger novel
The Catcher in
the Rye
1950's President
Method of preventing polio
Country with a new queen
England's Got a
New Queen
Undefeated heavyweight boxer
Flamboyant pianist
Philosopher who wasn't
condemned to repeat the past
We Didn't Start the Fire ...
Evil Soviet dictator
Joseph Stalin
Successor to the above
Egyptian strongman
"Peter and the Wolf" composer
and Prokofiev
Arkansas playboy and oil heir
Paralyzed black baseball player
"Bloc" led by the USSR
Communist Bloc
Jewish Red Scare prosecutor
Roy Cohn
President of Argentina
Juan Perón
Italian maestro
Synthetic fiber invented by DuPont
Site of France's suprise defeat
in Vietnam
Dien Bien Phu
Time-based rock song by Bill Haley
Rock Around the
Physicist with crazy hair
Movie star who died in a car crash
James Dean
This New York baseball team
actually won
Brooklyn's Got a
Winning Team
King of the Wild Frontier
Davy Crockett
Leader of the Lost Boys of Neverland
Peter Pan
Rock and roll musician with
gyrating hips
Elvis Presley
Anaheim theme park
Disney Land
French actress and sex kitten
Hungarian capital that revolted
against the USSR
U.S. State that had a bus boycott
1950's Russian premier
American actress who married
Prince Rainier
Princess Grace
Provocative novel by Grace Metalious
Peyton Place
Problematic Egyptian canal
Trouble in the
We Didn't Start the Fire ...
Arkansas city and integration
Little Rock
"Doctor Zhivago" author
Yankees slugger wins Triple Crown
Mickey Mantle
"On the Road" author
Soviet satellite
Influential Chinese politician
Zhou Enlai
WWII movie about a Burmese bridge
Bridge On The
River Kwai
Middle East where the US intervened
French President
Charles de Gaulle
Baseball teams relocate here
1958 serial killer
Drug that caused birth defects
Children of
"Crickets" singer who died
in a plane crash
Buddy Holly
Movie about a Roman chariot racer
Animal sent into space
Space Monkey
La Cosa Nostra
Fad hip-twirling toy
Hula Hoops
New Cuban dictator
Ford model that flopped
Edsel is a No-Go
Model of spy plane shot down
over Russia
First president of South Korea
Syngman Rhee
Pay-to-play radio scandal
"Camelot" President
Singer of "The Twist"
Chubby Checker
Hitchcock hotel movie
Country of Africa that gains
independence from Belgium
Belgians in the
"Old Man and the Sea Author"
commits suicide
Nazi criminal caught in Argentina
Sci-fi novel by Robert Heinlein
Stranger in
a Strange Land
Folk singer with a nasally voice
Wall built to divide this city
Ill-fated invasion of Cuba
Bay of Pigs
Movie about T.E. Lawrence
Lawrence of Arabia
"Mania" over this British band
British Beatlemania
Forced integration of this
Southern university
Ole Miss
First American in orbit
John Glenn
This boxer beats Floyd Patterson
Liston beats
The new pope
Pope Paul
Radical Islamic black activist
Malcolm X
"Profumo Affair" sex scandal
in this country
Politician Sex
1963 Dallas assassination
J.F.K. Blown Away
What else do I have to say...
"The Pill"
Birth Control
North Vietnam leader
Ho Chi Minh
Republican president
Richard Nixon,
Back Again
Landing on this celestial body
Hippie musical festival
Political scandal uncovered by
Woodward and Bernstein
Musical style of the Ramones
and the Clash
Punk Rock
Peace-seeking Israeli P.M.
Menachem Begin
President elected in 1980
Start of protests in this area
controlled by Israeli
Plane hijackings
Terror on the
Title of the Irani Supreme Leader
Ayatollah's in Iran
Country invaded by the USSR
in Afghanistan
Game show with Vanna White
Wheel of Fortune
First U.S. female astronaut
Sally Ride
Suicide caused by listening to
this genre of music
Heavy Metal
The result of deficits
Foreign Debts
Issue raised by
"Born on the Fourth of July"
Homeless Vets
Disease caused by HIV
New drug on urban streets
New York subway vigilante
Bernie Goetz
This medical waste washes up
on the Jersey shore
Hypodermics on
the Shores
Tiananmen Massacre country
China's Under
Martial Law
War of Coke vs Pepsi
Rock and Roller
Cola Wars
I Can't Take it Any More
We Didn't Start the Fire ...
Level 77
Sep 22, 2014
Great quiz! But Malcom X doesn't work
Level 84
Sep 22, 2014
Level 77
Sep 25, 2014
So I wasn't technically wrong...Malcom X did NOT in fact work...hmmm. Been spelling THAT wrong forever too. (thanks QM for accepting Malcom X the second time around)
Level 84
Sep 22, 2014
Could use more time. Couple of typos: Bardot 'frech'actress, Cohn red scare 'prosector'.
Level ∞
Sep 23, 2014
Fixed the typos.
Level 75
Aug 14, 2017
I needed more time - didn't get through all the clues.
Level 69
Sep 22, 2014
Average score is 80? The average user is googling the lyrics.
Level 45
Oct 20, 2014
Learned them for my post war history module at uni....
Level 59
Oct 20, 2014
Or some of us wasted a lot of time learning the lyrics when we were kids. I couldn't remember all of them, but I got 87 without Googling.
Level 82
Aug 14, 2017
I got 89 and didn't google anything. Haven't heard the song in ages but sister used to listen to it a lot in high school.
Level 89
Aug 8, 2018
Some people just know history and see a few rhymes too.
Level 71
Jan 13, 2021
It's a pretty catchy song. Not hard to memorize, especially if you enjoy 20th century history (which I do!).
Level 57
Jan 14, 2021
Average score among people choosing to do a quiz about a song that lots of people make a point of learning the lyrics to...
Level 71
Jan 20, 2021
I was a senior in college when this song came out. I learned the lyrics then - and scored 105 on this quiz today, with no googling. I know there are plenty of college courses that I couldn't score that on now. Priorities. LOL
Level 74
Oct 6, 2014
Can you please accept Chou En-lai? They changed the romanization method from Wade-Giles to Pinyin right around then and both are equally right.
Level 57
Oct 21, 2014
Agree- in fact the official lyrics in the sleeve of "Storm Front" are "Chou Enlai". Also it's Roy Cohn, not Ray.
Level ∞
Oct 21, 2014
Fixed Ray/Roy and Chou will work now.
Level 65
Oct 20, 2014
Level 67
Oct 20, 2014
And "Psycho" is set in a motel, not a hotel. You'd know if you'd seen the movie.
Level 78
Oct 20, 2014
More time would help!
Level 64
Oct 20, 2014
Will you please accept Hydrogen bomb for H-bomb?
Level 75
Oct 20, 2014
Really needed more time. I have an old brain.
Level 75
Aug 14, 2017
I just typed a similar comment above, not realizing I had already whined about it. Unless one has the song memorized this is really difficult to try to remember all the references.
Level 44
Oct 20, 2014
Very cool idea!
Level 66
Oct 20, 2014
Yes -- more time, please!
Level 29
Oct 23, 2014
Minor thing- Johnny Ray was such a terribly misspelt attempt at an answer that it wasn't accepted :p
Level 37
Oct 23, 2014
Maybe accept "airline" or "airlines" for the hijack question? You were pretty forgiving on many other lyrics. I was all set to type out "rock and roller cola wars" but just "cola" was sufficient. Also, I tried Pammunjon panmunjon pamunjon but no go.
Level 65
Oct 31, 2014
Such a brilliant quiz!!! Love this song.
Level 76
Feb 9, 2015
Accept "syringes"?
Level ∞
Nov 22, 2016
Level 73
Aug 14, 2017
why should syringe be accepted, that's not even close to the word in the lyrics. While syringe is another name for hypodermic needle, it is NOT a lyric in the song. Don't know why Quizmaster capitulated to this one. I don't recall singing the lyrics and going "Syringes on the shore". Mispellings I can understand. If it was a general quiz I would understand. But this is a lyric quiz and the lyrics should match the actual lyrics and not just synonyms.
Level 67
Jul 12, 2015
Could you please accept more spellings for Syngman Rhee?
Level 46
Oct 7, 2015
Yes, please accept sigmund ree or sigmund rhea ... I had no idea how to spell it and spent time on it. Also, this quiz needs way more time!
Level 73
Mar 12, 2016
Needs either more time or laxer spelling requirement...
Level ∞
Nov 22, 2016
Added more time and type-ins!
Level 65
Aug 14, 2017
Yes! Now my useless Billy Joel knowledge can count for points! Also, spelling the name of the First president of South Korea is practically impossible
Level 22
Aug 14, 2017
Just type in surnames - it's quicker! Like for the first South Korean president just type in Rhee.
Level 86
Aug 14, 2017
I never knew panmunjom ended with an 'm'.
Level 33
Apr 29, 2024
same, I tried "panmunjon" so many times...
Level 49
Aug 14, 2017
Great quiz!
Level 73
Aug 14, 2017
Sally Ride wasn't the first female astronaut; she was the first American female astronaut. Valentina Tereshkova was the first. Maybe add the word "american" to that clue?
Level 84
Aug 14, 2017
One can make an argument, saying that Ride was the first female astronaut, while Tereshkova was the first female cosmonaut...

But then again... many people no longer use the word cosmonaut.

Level 48
Aug 18, 2017
If the purpose of these quizzes is to entertain and inform, the clue should be changed to first US female astronaut.

Valentina Tereshkova was the first astronaut/cosmonaut/woman in space. She's not in the song, of course, but let's get things right where we can.

Level 70
Sep 23, 2017
I do absolutely agree with onegonecat and Trix - QM, please change the clue
Level 75
Aug 14, 2017
Thanks for the ohrwurm, QM. ...Belgians in the Congo... :)
Level 68
Aug 24, 2017
Took me about 2 months to learn this song ahead of performing it a couple of years ago. Even after that, I'd get up to Lawrence of Arabia, British Beatlemania, and then have to make the majority up, with the odd one coming into my mind. But at least all that stuck 2 years later for this quiz!
Level 56
Jul 28, 2018
"British Beatle" not accepted for "British Beatlemania"? Since mania was given in the clue, I didn't think to retype it. :(
Level 89
Aug 8, 2018
This needs blank lines with no clues a la The Star Spangled Banner quiz.
Level 89
Aug 8, 2018
94.9%, just can't get my extra point with 95, whatever points do.
Level 72
Aug 26, 2018
Great quiz. Bloody annoying doing it on an ipad when you have to scroll down every single bleeping time.
Level 66
Jan 10, 2021
Accept "Eastern Bloc" for "Communist Bloc"?
Level 70
Jan 13, 2021
But that's not in the lyrics though. Wrong number of syllables
Level 66
Jan 14, 2021
However, this quiz is meant for you to be able to take it if you don't know the lyrics, as implied in the description "GUESS all the historical events." Moreover, just "China" is accepted for "Red China" despite not actually being in the lyrics, so there is no reason to not accept "Eastern Bloc" for "Communist Bloc" which is the more common term.

Some of these clues also need to be more specific for this reason.

Level 84
Jan 13, 2021
"Bubbly" blonde movie star?? I guess there isn't really any right or wrong word to use per se, but wouldn't "wholesome" would be far more accurate a word to use if you're looking to capture the image Doris Day earned over her career? Or am I thinking of someone else?
Level 80
Jan 13, 2021
Agreed! When I think of bubbly blonde I think of Monroe, Mansfield, and Mamie Van Doren (thank you very much, Pulp Fiction). Doris Day was anything but a bubbly blonde movie star.
Level ∞
Jan 13, 2021
I'm not the only one who thinks so:

And while Doris Day was wholesome, surely Donna Reed was the most wholesome blonde star of that era. All in all, "bubbly" seems to be good, and better than wholesome.

Level 66
Jan 13, 2021
If you don't know the song very well, some of these clues are very vague and hard to get. Animals in space just makes me think of Laika.
Level 83
Jan 13, 2021
"Sythetic" should be changed. Thanks!
Level ∞
Jan 13, 2021
Level 67
Jan 13, 2021
I know the song but not sure how to spell a lot of the things he mentions like Bridge on the River...... tried lots of spellings but not Kwai. I was only able to guess half before time ran out and I was listening to the song while doing this.
Level 76
Jan 14, 2021
i put Gets for Goetz, that should probably work
Level 74
Jan 18, 2021
Great idea for a quiz! Just for the sake of uniformity, notice there's a line given for every chorus (We Didn't Start the Fire ...) except after Belgians in the Congo.
Level 71
Jan 20, 2021
Misspelling in the clue for Dien Bien Phu Falls: "Surprise" needs another R.
Level 71
Feb 25, 2022
I love this song, but it's always bothered me a bit how Joel spent 4 verses on the period from 1949 to 1963 and only 1 verse on 1963 to 1989, even though the latter period is much longer and, in my opinion, more significant. It's made weirder by the fact that Billy Joel was born in 1949, so I doubt he even remembered much from the early '50s. Just some food for thought.
Level 60
Jun 7, 2023
I knew all of them, I just had no idea how to spell them
Level 53
Oct 4, 2023
Just realized how much I mumble these lyrics when I'm singing along :P
Level 65
Oct 29, 2023
Sequel? Please?
Level 28
Mar 12, 2024
I missed out 9 because I couldn't actually spell them
Level 40
May 6, 2024
more than half of what i guessed correct i just know from the song