US & USSR – 1951 – The hydrogen bomb was developed – Across the Globe – The H-Bomb’s creation showed the actual danger and closeness nuclear annihilation was to occurring during the Cold War – H-Bombs are still in existence, and although not as big a danger, are still a danger to the world we live in – Joel chose the H-Bomb for its looming danger to US & USSR citizens during the Cold War and after. – The H-Bomb requires an atomic bomb to detonate.
Russian Dictator – 1879 – 1953 – Stalin ruled the USSR with an iron fist, and turned Russia from a peasant society to a global superpower – USSR homeland – Joseph Stalin spread Communism and changed the lives of millions and millions of people, for better or for worse – Stalin made now-Russia a global superpower, which it still is still that way today – After his death, Soviets initiated a de-Stalinization process. – Joel chose this man because he was a major world changer during the time period he was in and beyond.
Albert Einstein was born March 14th, 1879 in Ulm, Germany. Einstein was one of the smartest people of his time and can still be considered extremely smart today. One of his famous findings was "E = mc^2". People today still use this very helpful equation. At 16, Einstein is said to have failed an exam that would have let him train to become an electrical engineer. You would think the smartest person in the world would do great on tests, but sadly, that's not true. The reason Bill Joel put Einstein in his song is because he died in 1955. He was said to be the smartest person of the century. If he lived longer, he could've helped invent new objects.
Peter Pan was a play, showed in Broadway. Peter Pan was played by Mary Martin. It's first broadcast on TV was on NBC in March of 1955 and repeated annually many years after. It was such a big hit that it was singled out in the 1955 Emmy's as the best single program of the year. This play correlates with today because families watch movies of Peter Pan in present day. There is also a ride in Disneyland and Walt Disney World called "Peter Pan's Flight". I think Billy Joel put this in his song since it was very successful and Peter Pan is still relevant to today.
Elvis Presley was born on January 8th, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi. in the mid 50s, Presley became a rock-and-roll legend. His most common nickname is "The King". People to this day still listen to his music. His music is usually heard around Christmas time since he made two Christmas albums. Elvis' Christmas Album spent four weeks at number one on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart for four weeks. In 1947, a local radio show offered a 12-year-old Elvis a chance to sing live on air, but he was too shy to go on.
Disneyland opened on July 17th, 1955 in Anaheim, California and was developed by Walt Disney. Special invitations were sent out for the opening in the summer of 1955. Sadly, the pass was counterfeited and thousands of uninvited people were admitted into Disneyland on opening day. Even though Disneyland has been open for over 60 years, it's still very popular. Approximately 44,000 people visit Disneyland every day. Although Disney excluded alcoholic beverages being served in Disneyland, he had a private suite in the park where bartenders would serve drinks to his personal guests. Did you know that Disneyland is so small that it can most likely fit in any of the parking lots at any of the parks in Walt Disney World? You can tell how small it is by how big the castle is. Walt Disney World's castle is 100 feet taller than the one in Disneyland. I think the reason Billy Joel put this in his song was because Disneyland was such a big hit.
Mickey Mantle was born October 20th, 1931 and was born in Spavinaw, Oklahoma. He played for the New York Yankees and his position was outfielder. In 1957, he was voted the most valuable player for the second consecutive year. Mickey Mantle got put into the Hall of Fame in 1974. He is considered one of the greatest baseball players in history. Some fun facts about Mantle is, he batted both left- and right-handed, hit at a leading batting average, as well as led the league in home runs. Since he was such an excellent baseball player, i think that's why Billy Joel decided to put him in his song.
Starkweather murdered 11 people on a spree that lasted a year - Event lasted through 1957 until 1959 when he was executed – Lincoln, Nebraska - It shocked the nation for years – Redheaded Peckerwood was chronicled in 2011 – A small amount of movies were created based on the murders. - Billy Joel chose this because it was a major event in America during its time.
US – 1960 – U-2 was sent to the USSR to photograph – US & USSR – U-2 revealed the extent of the secret war the US and USSR was having during the Cold War – U-2 planes are still around today – Joel chose the U-2 spy plane because of its significance to the intelligence factor of the Cold War – U-2 is also the name of an Irish rock band, the lead singer being Paul David Hewson, also known as Bono or Bono Vox.
35th President of the US – 1917 – 1963 – Kennedy was the youngest man to hold Presidential Office when he was elected in 1960. – United States of America – He was a much-loved president, and his assassination sent ripples throughout the world. Kennedy was a firm believer of supporting America and the Civil Rights movement, which the actions of have changed how people connect today. – First Catholic President of the US – Joel chose Kennedy because he is widely known and his assassination is a major event in US history. – After assassinating Kennedy, Oswald ran from a warehouse to a theater. After assassinating Lincoln, Booth ran from a theater to a warehouse.
Young People – 1964 – 1989 – Suicide rate among young people was rising – Across the Globe – This event sparked a renewed interest in teenage emotional stress across the globe, and sparked several movements to combat teenage suicide rates – There are now an outrageous amount of studies in today’s society on teenage emotion, and schools are now required in most places to have suicide prevention sessions in school. – Joel chose this because suicide is seen as a major problem with teens in school. – Suicide is now the 3rd leading cause of death for people ages 15-44
Wheel of Fortune is a game show that first aired on January 6th, 1975. The host is named Pat Sajak and the woman who makes the letters appear is Vanna White. They were first located in NBC Studios. You play this game by spinning a wheel with cash amounts on each section. You guess letters to help solve the puzzle that is on the board. The person who has the highest amount of money at the end of the game gets the go to the bonus round and gets to try to win more cash or other prizes. This show is still a hit to today and is aired usually every day except for Sundays. Wheel of Fortune has given out more than $200 million since it has first aired. I think Billy Joel put this in his song because it is a very popular game show. At the peak of the show's popularity, over 40 million people were watching five nights a week.