OYSTER BAY, N.Y. — An enraged Billy Joel responded to Fall Out Boy’s update of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” with his own version of the band’s 2005 song “Sugar, We’re Going Down,” according to unfortunate sources who have heard the singer-songwriter’s version.
“Those little Hot Topic bastards!” a furious Joel shouted while swerving in and out of oncoming traffic on the Long Island Expressway. “How dare they change one of the Piano Man’s most beloved songs! Well, the joke is on them because I took one of their crappy little pop punk theater kid tunes and made it 100% better, BJ-style. What the hell’s it called, ‘Sugar, I’m Comin’ Home’? Honestly, I could barely understand any of the words. But I guarantee you my version is going to the top of the charts, especially since I changed it to be about shucking oysters and drinking red wine with North Shore Kathy. That’s what the kids want!”
Fall Out Boy insists that they went through all the proper channels to get permission for covering the song. However, now that Joel has retaliated, the band is ready for all-out war.
“We meant it as a compliment,” explained Fall Out Boy bassist and lyricist Pete Wentz. “We loved the original, but we felt the world needed an updated version that covered all the crazy events of the last 30 years. You know, one that rhymed ‘George Floyd’ with ‘Metroid.’ But now he’s so pissed at us and he’s doing one of our songs? Well, screw him. We’re fully prepared to escalate. In fact, we’re already working on another Joel cover. We’re taking ‘Goodbye Saigon’ and making it not suck. Now it’s called ‘Smell Ya Later Saigon (You Gave My Heart Blue Balls).’ That’s what the kids want!”
Although it may seem unusual, there is a well-established precedent of public feuds between artists from different genres.
“You’d be surprised how many battles like this have been waged over the years,” noted music historian Lucia Guttierez. “Although covers are often intended as a tribute or homage, many times the original artist can be offended or take it the wrong way. This was particularly common in the competitive musical landscape of the ‘80s. After all, who could forget the infamous ‘Cover Wars’ between WHAM and Megadeth? Dave Mustaine growling ‘Jitterbug!’ still haunts my dreams.”
As of press time, Joel was preparing for his first live performance of the Fall Out Boy cover by squeezing into a pair of XXL skinny jeans.