7 episodes

Katie Puckrik and Tom Fordyce expand their heads and blow their minds using the lyrics of Billy Joel. Billy didn’t just write an unforgettable smash-hit with ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’. He also created the most fascinating, random and original history of the post-war world - all the people, places and events that explain why the world today is as it is. Each episode, a new lyric and a fresh subject. It's politics, rock 'n' roll, sport, space, television, the Cold War and more, explored and explained by historians, eyewitnesses, and mega-fans. Billy started it. We're going to finish it.

We Didn't Start the Fir‪e‬ Crowd Network

    • History
    • 4.3 • 68 Ratings

Katie Puckrik and Tom Fordyce expand their heads and blow their minds using the lyrics of Billy Joel. Billy didn’t just write an unforgettable smash-hit with ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’. He also created the most fascinating, random and original history of the post-war world - all the people, places and events that explain why the world today is as it is. Each episode, a new lyric and a fresh subject. It's politics, rock 'n' roll, sport, space, television, the Cold War and more, explored and explained by historians, eyewitnesses, and mega-fans. Billy started it. We're going to finish it.

    Walter Winchell

    Walter Winchell

    Sixth lyric, sixth topic. Katie and Tom are joined by historian of the popular press Dr Chris Shoop-Worrall, and together they delve into the dark world of the man who made gossip a currency: widely-loved and intensely-disliked columnist and broadcaster Walter Winchell.
     
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    • 43 min
    South Pacific

    South Pacific

    We're five lyrics in, and Katie and Tom are getting musical. Literally, if you make it to the end. Dr Cara Rodway (Chair of the British Association for American Studies by day, musical nerd by night) gives a pretty convincing case for why the soundtrack has spent more weeks at UK number 1 than any other song. Even one of Billy's.
     
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    • 39 min
    Johnnie Ray

    Johnnie Ray

    Deaf in one ear, shy, bisexual, sensitive - are these the reasons Johnnie Ray isn't worshipped as the Father of Rock and Roll? Katie, Tom and author Cathi Unsworth delve into the world of the man who gave way to Elvis, the Beatles, Morrissey. It's a journey which will take them from a small farm in Oregon to African-American clubs in Detroit, and finally to hidden corners in smokey clubs where London's 1950s subcultures could be found. Cathi's latest book Bad Penny Blues is out now: http://www.cathiunsworth.co.uk/ or https://www.facebook.com/cathiunsworthwriter.
     
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    • 30 min
    Red China

    Red China

    It's episode 3 and Billy's transported us back to post-1949 Communist China. Katie and Tom talk to Prof. Yangwen Zheng about her childhood under the regime, and she's got a fascinating story to tell. It's one of stolen pencil cases, the class enemy, disappearing family members, widespread famine, murder - and the man at the heart of it all, Mao Zedong.
     
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    • 39 min
    Doris Day

    Doris Day

    Second episode, second lyric. Katie and Tom are joined by Hollywood historian Tamar Jeffers-McDonald to talk about the actress, singer and animal activist Doris Day; and Tamar's out to bust some myths. Innocent virgin, happy life, apple pie smile? This is the story of a wildly misunderstood woman - one that involves abuse, serial killers, betrayal, and gruesome truths about the Golden Age of Hollywood.
     
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    • 36 min
    Harry Truman

    Harry Truman

    True to Billy Joel's words, we kick off with Harry Truman. Katie and Tom talk to UCL historian Dr Nick Witham about the man who oversaw the fascinating period after WWII. Hiroshima, NATO, Korea, the Berlin airlift - has any US president ever had to make so many big decisions?
     
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    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
68 Ratings

68 Ratings

SwearingDad ,

Filling your head with info, one lyric at a time

This is my new favourite podcast. I love the premise of this, taking each word / lyric from Joel's masterpiece (IMHO) and having an "expert" bring it to life with a backstory and interesting facts / anecdotes. Look, this is no scientific exploration of the subject nor is it an A-level standard educational piece. It is however, informative, fun, opinionated, accessible and it is has already made me read up further on three of the subjects. And I am loving Puckrick's language and delivery (she is not officially forgiven for The Word). I am very much looking forward to each episode. Recommended.

laufin12 ,

Love this podcast

Really enjoying this - great concept and format for a podcast. The hosts are both great and the guests they get on each week are super interesting. Only one thing, I absolutely HATE the theme music. I find my blood boiling and I fly across the room to quickly switch it off if I have it playing out loud with no headphones. My husband thought I was listening to a kids show! Please, please remove it, it’s so awful! Otherwise 10/10 for this awesome podcast!

Miles Eady ,

South Pacific Terrific

What a great idea for a show. A wide ranging history of the 20th Century. The presenters are fabulous and the latest episode about South Pacific is terrific. There's a great feel to the conversation and the expert is so warm and passionate about the subject. Who knew there was so much to unpack?! Really looking forward to how the series progresses. Well done everyone!

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