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Penn State Started The Fire: Reimagining A Billy Joel Classic

“We Didn’t Start The Fire” is a classic song that Billy Joel fans know very well. It recaps pop culture in a way that many people love and continue to love to this day.

That got us thinking…What if we came up with a Penn State version? There are a lot of figures, events, and places in Penn State’s lauded history, and there’s definitely a song in there somewhere.

So, we sat down and brainstormed. After hours of meticulous planning, creating, and applying, we have created a new masterpiece that Billy Joel should record ASAP.

Everything that is listed in our song has a connection to Penn State, even if it might not be clear when reading it. For example, “Judge Dredd” and “Die Hard” are listed in the song, and that is because a Penn State alum wrote the scripts to those movies. Other references may be painfully obvious.

Unfortunately, we could not hire a musician to bring our lyrics to life, so reading them will need to do for now. We hope you enjoy this beautiful rendition of “Penn State Started the Fire.”

Penn State Started The Fire

Read to the tune of “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

Trace McSorley, Jack Ham, Old Main, Blue Band
Waffle Shop, Men’s Lax, Beaver Stadium.
Ty Burrell, Atherton, Steve McCurry, McLanahan’s
Frank Smeal, SuePa, Mike the Mailman.
Pokey Sticks, football, Canyon Pizza, basketball
Irving’s, BJC, and the wrestling dynasty.
Lara Spencer, Creamery, suspension of fraternity.
Pegula, Saquon, Joe Paterno, 409.


Penn State started the fire!
It was always burning, since football was churning.
Penn State started the fire!
No, we didn’t light it, but we aren’t gonna fight it.


Mifflin Streak, slinky, Linebacker University
Blue and White, tailgate, grilled stickies.
Greek Life, Onward State, Nittany Lion, UPUA
Kirk Herbstreit’s favorite team, Myles Dread hits a three.
Schreyer, Corner Room, where’s the JoePa statue?
College Ave, “Judge Dredd”, Wally Triplett, James Franklin.
Scioscia, Meridian, Eberly, Cael Sanderson
King Kong, Penn State thong, Willard Preacher hates sex.

(Return to Chorus)

Yallah Taco, high rise, Lisa Salters, Amaechi
Barron, Krieger, home of AccuWeather.
Lady Lions, Adam McKay, Pollock dining hall
Molly Countermine, HERE not done on time?
Quidditch Club, “Die Hard,” meet at the HUB, Chewbacca
Krieger, Russ Rose, Donald Bellisario.
Basic blues, Pepsi, Keegan Michael-Key
Alyssa Naeher, Camden, Izaiah Brockington.

(Return to Chorus)

Bill O’Brien, City of THON, student-run dance marathon
Harrar, Marisa, and “Casablanca.”
Hike Mt. Nittany with a friend, John Cappelletti bobblehead
Forum, Pattee, Intramural Bocce.
Joe Jonas, Zoom U, author of “Catch-22”
46, FTK, what else do I have to say?

(Return to Chorus)

Mark Parker, We Are, Lamar Stevens is a star
Westgate, Chick Fil A, Bagel Crust, out-of-state.
h-ball, Nickal, ring the bell, State College is cold as hell.
Better do the line dance, shotgun in the ambulance.
Rosenberger, IST, nursing school in Hershey
D.P. Dough, lots of snow, Roots, Rise, Starbucks to go.
Vigils for fast food, sororities want you.
Land-Grant, scoreboard, MSU can’t take it anymore!

(Return to Chorus)

We hope you enjoyed this fun song, and hopefully, you sang along in your head. And if any of you are friends with Billy Joel, please tell him to record this song. It would be fantastic.

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About the Author

Owen Abbey

Owen Abbey was a Secondary Education major before he graduated from the wonderful institution known as Penn State. When he was not writing for the blog, he enjoyed rooting for the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens, supporting Penn State basketball and softball, dreaming of all of the ways he would win the TV show "Survivor," and yes mom, actually doing school work. All of this work prepared him to teach his own class of students, which was always his true passion. He still can be found on Twitter @theowenabbey and can be reached for questions and comments at [email protected]

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