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Billy Joel Responds To Fall Out Boy's Updated 'We Didn't Start The Fire'

11 July 2023 | 1:36 pm | Mary Varvaris

"Fall Out Boy, go ahead. Great, take it away...”

Fall Out Boy & Billy Joel

Fall Out Boy & Billy Joel (Credit: Hayden Nixon & Myrna Suarez)

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It’s only taken over two weeks, but Billy Joel has finally given his thoughts on Fall Out Boy’s cover of We Didn’t Start The Fire (with updated lyrics).

In late June, the iconic pop-punk band behind Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down dropped their version of the Billy Joel classic.

Fall Out Boy tinkered with the lyrics to apply global events from 1989 until now onto their version. Referencing everything and everyone from Rodney KingHarry Potter, Twilight, deep fakes, Kurt Cobain and Tiger Woods, the modern take on a Billy Joel classic everyone is surprisingly effective.

Vocalist Patrick Stump said about Fall Out Boy’s version:

“I thought about this song a lot when I was younger. All these important people and events – some that disappeared into the sands of time – others that changed the world forever. So much has happened in the span of the last 34 years – we felt like a little system update might be fun.”

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Appearing in a new interview with BBC Radio 2, Joel revealed that he’d heard Fall Out Boy’s cover and seemed pretty happy that someone else had updated the lyrics so he didn’t have to.

“Everybody’s been wanting to know when there’s going to be an updated version of it, because my song started in ’49 and ended in ’89 — it was a 40-year span,” Joel explained. “Everybody said, ‘Well, aren’t you going to do a part two?’ I said, ‘Nah, I’ve already done part one.’ So, Fall Out Boy, go ahead. Great, take it away.”

You can compare the OG version and Fall Out Boy’s cover below.

In May, Fall Out Boy guitarist Joe Trohman announced his return to the band after taking a break for his mental health. Trohman briefly departed the group just days after they announced their eighth album, So Much (For) Stardust, in January, released on 24 March. 

Billy Joel’s show at the MCG in December saw him perform back-to-back hits to 76,300 ticket holders with support from Tina Arena.

The Music reviewer Guido Farnell said Joel’s voice was “as commanding as ever” and that “age has not diminished his capacity to deliver a red-hot live show”.

Farnell added, “Tonight is a joyous celebration of Joel and his career. He is a consummate entertainer who has crafted a fine body of work that has been engineered to have the broadest possible appeal. Thousands of people leave the MCG beaming and looking very satisfied.”

You can read the full review here.