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Though the lyrics are rapid-fire with several people and events mentioned in a single word each, there is widespread agreement on the meaning of the lyric. Steven Ettinger wrote, Billy Joel captured the major images, events, and personalities of this half-century in a three-minute song.... It was pure information overload, a song that assumed we knew exactly what he was singing about...What was truly alarming was the realization that we, the listeners, for the most part understood the references.The following events are in the order that they appear in the song, which is, with two possible exceptions, chronological. The lyric for each individual event is brief and the events are punctuated by the chorus and other lyrical elements. The following list includes longer, more descriptive names for clarity. Events from a variety of contexts, such as popular entertainment, foreign affairs, and sports, are intermingled, giving an impression of the culture of the time as a whole. There are 119 items listed in the song.