Follow TV Tropes


We Didn't Start the Billy Joel Parodies

Go To

Billy Joel wrote a song; history is going strong.
It was nineteen-eighty nine; and the song was doing fine.
Many copies of it sell; stuff about the past they tell:
Politics, and culture too; movies, war and what have you.

Other people came along; they do really like the song,
Realize that it was a hit; want to have a part in it.
History is first to go, from nineteen hundred to zero.
Other topics soon include everything from nice to lewd.

We didn't start the riffing
It was always with us
Since the song has hit us
We didn't start the riffing
No, we didn't coin it
But we want to join it

Every singer has a version; can you really blame the person?
The song's a really catchy tune; and you, too, will sing it soon.
Can't get it out of your head; you may wish that you were dead,
Sing it Ďtil you cough up phlegm; then go back and start again.

You can make new lyrics too, so long as they fit the tune.
Do a List Song if you like; name the pieces of your bike.
If story's your imperative, you could write a narrative.
Just be clever and enjoy; think of tropes you could employ.

We didn't start the riffing
It was always with us
Since the song has hit us
We didn't start the riffing
No, we didn't coin it
But we want to join it

Change the genre if you're clever; grunge or funk or lounge — whatever:
Country Music, Reggae-vibe, Heavy Metal, suicide,
New Wave, Hip-Hop, Electronic, Punk Rock,
Soul and Ska and Disco too, but Jimmy Hart will also do

Or just like a bunch of dopes, make a song thatís listing tropes:
Filk Song, List Song, Stock Parodies come along.
Piano Key Wave, Piss-Take Rap, you can really list all crap;
God-Is-Love Songs, Ear Worm, Power Ballad, Seiza Squirm.

We didn't start the riffing
It was always with us
Since the song has hit us
We didn't start the riffing
No, we didn't coin it
But we want to join it

Trope Namer: Joel, Billy — but troper, don't be silly
he didn't invent the Long List, "done before" that is the gist
googling it in a hurry brings up a dude named Tim Curry.
That man sang "I Do The Rock" — obscure today, such bad luck

As we said, itís often done many times under the sun.
We will list examples here; austerity you need not fear.
The list is not complete of course, and this is our driving force,
So go add more, lickety-split, or you will soon be deep in shame.


    open/close all folders 


    Fan Works 
  • Every edition of Halloween Unspectacular minus the last two ends with a parody of the song. The first three had full versions with lyrics based around whatever happened in that edition, while the others only use the parody's chorus.
  • In the Kedabory's Muppet Mania episode "Welcome Back", the opening number is "We Didn't Start the Muppets", a List Song of the Muppets' accomplishments over the years, as well as the names of characters and their performers.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 

    Music Videos 

  • German comedian Otto Waalkes did "Wir haben Grund zum Feiern" ("We have a reason to celebrate"), which lists off a bunch of alcoholic beverages.
  • The Tom Green song "Pet Names for Genitalia" (see I Call Him "Mister Happy").
  • "We Didn't Start the Blitzball", about the Fictional Sport Blitzball from Final Fantasy X.
  • The Fringemunks released "Susan Pratt Started the Fire" (lyrics), which recapped episode "The Road Not Taken" of Fringe.
  • The Star Wars podcast ForceCast featured "We Didn't Start the ForceCast" on their October 29, 2010 cast at 1:51:40 (lyrics).
  • "We Have a Strong Desire", by Shlock Rock. It covers the history of the Jews from the Bible until present day.
  • Following the rescue of Todd Russell and Brant Webb from a collapsed mine in Beaconsfield, Tasmania, the radio team Hamish and Andy recorded a song to help them catch up: "We're filling in the miners. / They've been down there weeks, so they have missed heaps. / We're filling in the miners / So they're right across all essential goss." They concluded it by declaring that one thing hadn't changed: "Our songs are still half-assed."
  • Hamish and Andy made a song about a Bacon Number of 100 to this tune, going from Salma Hayek to Bacon.
  • Courtesy of WTAM 1100 (specifically The Mike Trivisonno Show), there's "We Live in Ohio", a good-natured tribute to all things Cleveland, as well as a gentle criticism of local politicians' tendency to focus on small or non-existent problems and ignore looming disaster:
    We live in Ohio,/And we goin' broke but we can't have smokin' here;
    We live in Ohio,/And our mayor's ramblin'; we can't get gamblin' here.
  • "We Set the Dog on Fire" by the guys at, enumerating dishes made from dog meat.
  • "We Didn't Start Satire", by the Capitol Steps, recaps political and media scandals since 1981.
  • Local Seattle show Almost Live! did a version in January 1990 based on then-recent history in Seattle.
  • "We Love You, Dr. Freeman", based on Half-Life.
  • "I Live Life On Tumblr."
  • Christian parody group ApologetiX has a parody called "We Didn't Start Messiah."
  • /v/ presents "We Didn't Make the Roster".
  • J.B.O., naturally. Their rendition may or may not owe a debt of gratitude to Otto as well, though the fire (English) "Feier" (German for party) pun both employ is kind of obvious.
  • Guns N' Moses has "We Love Barney Fife", a song listing and declaring its love to the characters from The Andy Griffith Show, but especially Barney himself.
  • Kylee Henke's "You Can't Fight The Homestuck" is an ode to Homestuck, of course.
  • "We Want Rey" by the PDX Broadsides has a section using this tune that lists several female characters from various works.
  • "Listing All the List Songs" by Robbie Ellis is a List Song of list songs.
  • Fall Out Boy caused a stir when they released a version covering the 30+ years between the original song's release and mid-2023. The less said about it, the better.

    Lyrics only 


    Puppet Shows 

  • Christian comedy show Sunday Nite once did "We don't like the choir/The way they sing on Sunday/They should hide on Monday..."

    Web Original 
  • TV Tropes:
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-6135 is a humorous SCP that contains an "extended" version of the original song where Billy Joel references things that, at the time, hadn't happened yet (Desert Storm, the Columbine shooting, the creation of the Pokemon and Harry Potter franchises, etc.). The twist is, the Foundation found out about it in 1990, so their reaction is extra hilarious.
    Addendum: As of March 12, 1991, Item #6135 is pending SCP reclassification at the request of Site Director Elliott Hawthorne. Arkansas Governor William Clinton and Soviet statesman Boris Yeltsin are currently being monitored in order to determine the extent and accuracy of #6135's apparent predictive properties. Investigation into the identities of Tim McVay and Harry Potter is ongoing.
  • For All Time: The spiritual sequel Well Enough Alone ends with Joe Springsteen singing this world's version of the song,

    Web Videos 


    Western Animation 
  • In the Family Guy episode "Boy (Dog) Meets Girl (Dog)", Billy Joel appears listing all of the things Peter Griffin has eaten to the tune of the song and later lists minor characters in the episode to wrap it up.
    We didn't write an ending, so we're all together trying to make it better!
    • In the episode "Bigfat", Peter tries to sing it to see if it contains instructions on starting a fire, but doesn't remember the actual lyrics.
      Stuff, stuff, stuff, and stuff, history and stuff and stuff,
      People, people, someone's name,
      History and sports.
      Big disaster, someone's name, stuff and stuff and stuff, and stuff,
      History, someone's name,
      Something I don't know.
      Famous guy, movie star,
      Don't know who these people are,
      Stuff and stuff and history
      Yelling really loud at me!
  • In The Simpsons episode, "Gump Roast", the episode closes out with Dan Castellaneta singing about all many of the memorable Simpsons moments in the series (up to that point anyway).
    They'll never stop The Simpsons! Have no fears, we've got stories for years!
  • Tooning Out the News featured a song to this tune mentioning several events from 2020.

Billy Joel, please don't sue us
It's a catchy song, that's why this list is long
Billy Joel, please don't sue us
Cause I'm not a singer, this is just The Stinger


Video Example(s):


2020 Fails

Josh presents a parody of "We Didn't Start the Fire" recapping all of the gaming industry fails of 2020.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / WeDidntStartTheBillyJoelParodies

Media sources: