Doris Day’s Death Reduces The Number Of Living People Mentioned In ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’

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Actress Doris Day passed away on Monday at the age of 97, per The Inquisitr. Day was one of the last living figures from her generation of Hollywood who made most of her memorable movies in the 1940s and 1950s. Also known for a singing career that included such hits as “Sentimental Journey,” “Secret Love,” and “Que Sera Sera,” Day retired from movies in the late 1960s and rarely appeared in public in the last decades of her life.

Day has one other major claim to fame: She was one of the last living people mentioned in Billy Joel’s song “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” Day was, in fact, name-checked in the very first line of the song (“Harry Truman/Doris Day/Red China/Johnnie Ray.”)

“We Didn’t Start The Fire,” from Joel’s 1989 album Storm Front, had lyrics that consisted mostly of a chronological list of famous people and things from between 1949 (the year of Joel’s birth) and the release of the song 40 years later. Joel happened to have celebrated his 70th birthday last week.

As pointed out by multiple Twitter users, including Jason Diamond and Kevin Kaduk, with Day’s passing, only a handful of people mentioned in the song are now still alive.

The living people in the song are Bob Dylan, Chubby Checker, Bridgette Bardot, and Bernie Goetz, according to both tweeters. Diamond also listed two of the four Beatles (“British Beatlemania”) while Kaduk also includes Queen Elizabeth II (“England’s got a new queen.”)

The U2 mentioned in the song is not the band U2 – all four members of which are still alive- but rather the U2 spy plane incident of 1960. While Sugar Ray Leonard is still alive, the boxer known as “Sugar Ray” who’s mentioned in the song, Sugar Ray Robinson, is not. The “Rockefeller” mentioned in the song is presumably Nelson Rockefeller and not any living Rockefeller.

The individual mentioned in the song who died most recently, prior to Day, was John Glenn, who passed away in late 2016.

Similar attention was paid to the 16 famous people mentioned in the bridge of Madonna’s 1990 song “Vogue.” The last of them to pass away, per Buzzfeed, was Lauren Bacall, who died in 2014. Several people, including Joe DiMaggio, Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, and James Dean, are mentioned in both songs.

However, several of the abstract concepts mentioned in Joel’s song are still a part of our lives today, including foreign debts, homeless vets, television, vaccine, and homicide.