Billy Joel knows a lot of people hate “We Didn’t Start The Fire,” but he’s not sure why.
The Piano Man appeared on the latest episode of We Didn’t Start The Fire: The History Podcast, which breaks down all of the moments, people and other events mentioned in the 1989 number one hit song.
“The only thing I’ve heard about that song from people is, ‘I hate that song!'” said Joel. “Some people hate that song. It’s one of the most hated things I ever wrote! And I don’t get the hate.”
Joel did admit in the interview there was one thing about the track he wasn’t pleased with, and that’s the actual music.
“I mean, I hate the music, because it’s not good. But I think the lyrics are fairly clever, I think I did a pretty good job with the words, but some people just hate that thing,” said Joel. “…I only wrote stuff I wanted to hear. If it turned out to be a hit, it was pure dumb luck. I didn’t even pick the singles; the record company picks what’s going to be a single. I hand them an album of a bunch of songs and go, ‘Here, now it’s your turkey. You figure it out.'”
Joel, however, knows why the music component isn’t up to his standards.
“I wrote the words first, which is why the music is so horrible in that song,” he explained. “I usually write the music first and then I write the lyrics, but in that song, the melody…it’s like a mosquito buzzing around your head! It’s more annoying than musical.”