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Kerouac in Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire” Podcast

May 31st, 2022 · 1 Comment · Interviews, Kerouac and The Beats

Billy Joel Interview Story



I was contacted by this Since The World’s Been Turning podcast production out of New Zealand to talk about Kerouac.

Ever since Peter Jackson’s masterful recreation of The Beatles: Get Back, and watching a thousand interviews with him with his New Zealand accent and sensibilities, I developed a real fondness for that place.  So, when somebody from there contacted me about talking about Jack for their series exploring every reference Billy Joel makes in his great song We Didn’t Start The Fire, I responded to the intercontinental handshake.

I loved the song when it first came out in ’89 — and went to #1 in America, and Top 10 all over the world — especially including because he name-checks Kerouac, of course.

“Little Rock, Pasternak, 
Mickey Mantle, Kerouac”

We did the interview by Zoom.  I was in the middle of a bunch of other pressing projects at the time, but knew I had to stop what I was doing and really lay down something special for Jack.  It’s just one live improvised take.  You can’t go back and edit it like you can a manuscript — it had to be “one and done” — no overdubs or re-dos or second takes.

I’ve done a lot of interviews going back to the mid-’90s with my Temp book and sometimes you do them and wonder afterwards if what you laid down was any good.  So, I came up with the idea of recording them on my end so I could hear how it went afterwards.  I don’t always remember to do this, but thank goodness I did this time.  The riff fairly kills.

You can check out the whole Since The World’s Been Turning podcast series here —

My Kerouac episode is here.

Drop me a line if you want to hear the whole interview.




Here’s a page with a whole bunch of other interviews and stuff.

And here’s one with a whole bunch of live videos and performances and such.

Or here’s a ton of other posts about music.


by Brian Hassett   —

Or here’s my Facebook page if you wanna join in there —


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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Ellen cooper-festa // Jul 20, 2022 at 6:37 PM

    Hey now, imma liking this, my first exploration into the podcast world.

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