ARSON is a niche crime but, along with stealing hearts or organ trafficking as it’s better known, one of the most musically popular. These lit up the charts:
Relight my Fire, Take That, 1993
It’s every pyromaniac’s nightmare: you’re setting a blaze going at the school where they all laughed at you and it fizzles out. Take That’s second number one was their impassioned plea for kindling, enlisting Lulu on the basis she had red hair. Eventually Robbie burned down the whole band.
Murder on the Dance Floor, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, 2001
She might look like an English rose, but Ellis-Bextor loves to burn a goddamn house right down. Perhaps because of her traumatic childhood being forced to make endless constructions from toilet roll tubes and yoghurt pots by her mother Janet Ellis who had been banished from Blue Peter for pregnancy and locked in a tower. It was the 80s.
Ring of Fire, Johnny Cash, 1963
No, it’s not about the aftermath of a phaal. Cash is detailing the optimal technique for reducing unwanted, though heavily insured, farm outbuildings to ashes by pouring accelerant in a circle and advising you not to, as he did, trip and fall into your own burning ring. So it’s not a joke at all.
We Didn’t Start the Fire, Billy Joel, 1989
Tried for aggravated arson, Joel defended himself and pinned blame on everyone from Marilyn Monroe, Einstein, James Dean, Elvis, Doris Day, and Belgians in the Congo. Sentenced to six years, he realised his closing speech to the jury had a nice rhythm to it and turned it into a song. He then took two guards hostage and escaped.
Set Fire to the Rain, Adele, 2011
Too busy getting her heart broken to read up on the basics, Adele attempted to burn water. Her ex-boyfriend shook his head, his decision to dump her based on her imperfect grasp of chemical reactions entirely justified.
Fire, U2, 1981
Bono’s pose as a philanthropist – Band Aid, Live Aid, Amnesty Internation, giving away an album that’s on your iPhone even now, a decade later – hides a dark side. ‘I built a fire,’ he sings, admitting culpability. But getting away with it because he wears shades so nobody knows it’s him.
Disco Inferno, The Trammps, 1976
‘Burn, baby, burn. Burn that mother down.’ Not only calling for babies to be set alight but their mothers also. Most arsonists are happy with empty buildings. It takes a particularly sick-minded individual to sing about burning innocent people.
Firestarter, The Prodigy, 1996
Actually about romance.