I have no idea why my elementary school played Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” on the hallway speaker system in the fall of 1989. I was 8 at the time, and the rousing hit became stuck in my head. It’s still there.
On reflection, what grabbed me were Billy Joel’s rhyming historical names and events. After buying a cassette of “Storm Front,” the album that included the song, I wanted to know what each of the names and phrases meant.
… I made a list of the song’s references and asked my parents who and what they were. They did something so interesting and formative. They said, “Why don’t you look them up?” It was my first research project.
Read more at The Wall Street Journal.