The famous chorus is taken directly from the 1984 old school Hip-Hop song "The Roof Is On Fire" by Rock Master Scott & the Dynamic Three.
The lyrics: "So if man is five and the Devil is six than that must make me seven this honky's gone to heaven" are a direct reference to the Pixies' "Monkey Gone To Heaven," (in which it concludes "Then God is Seven").
Some people mentioned in the lyrics: Han Solo, Barry White, Frank Black, J.F.K., Marvin Gaye, Martha Raye, Lawrence Welk, Kurt Cobain, Kojak, Mark Twain, Jimi Hendrix, Emmanuel Lewis.
Suggestion credit: Martin - Rostock, Germany, for all above
This song is a send-up of rap music clichés, including rappers who implore their audience to "throw their hands in the air" and make constant pop culture references for no apparent reason.
This was used in the movies Fahrenheit 9/11 and The Nutty Professor.
Chris from Philadelphia, PaTo correct a previous comment…"The Roof is On Fire" is a song based on a May 13, 1985 incident where Philly Police attempted to serve warrants on a residence where a "back to Africa" group was living. The group, named "MOVE", resisted with gun fire, and proceeded to barricade themselves in the home. The police attempted to end the stand-off peacefully, but it escalated to a small incendiary device being dropped on the roof via helicopter. The resulting fire could not be extinguished by fire fighters.
Brooke from Des Moines, IaMy friend's grandma told me this song was about how in Philly people were burning down black peoples houses, and that's what the black people were singing. And she would know, she's from Philly.
"Piano Man" was inspired by Billy Joel's time playing at a piano bar in Los Angeles. The "real estate novelist" was a guy who always talked about writing a book, but spent all his spare time in the bar.