Fire and Rain

James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” still moves me every time I hear it. Doesn’t matter how many times I hear it, I just feel something. The music and JT’s voice and the words are all perfect together. The meaning behind the song makes it all the more special. There’ve been many false rumors surrounding the song, but Taylor finally set the record straight in an NPR interview in 2005. Here’s what he said about the inspiration for the song that had three different parts:

  • The first part was about Taylor’s friend Suzanne, who died while Taylor was in London working on his first album after being signed to Apple Records. Friends at home, concerned that it may have distracted Taylor from his big break, kept the tragic news from him, and it was only some time later that Taylor found out.
  • The second part details Taylor’s struggle to overcome drug addiction and depression.
  • The third part deals with coming to grips with fame and fortune, looking back at the road that got him there. It includes a reference to James Taylor and The Flying Machine, a band he briefly worked with before his big break with Paul McCartney, Peter Asher and Apple Records. The lyric includes a reference to “sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground”; the reference is to the name of the band rather than a fatal plane crash in the rain that killed his friend, as was long rumored.

Here’s a special live performance of “Fire and Rain” by a young sweet baby James. It’s a timeless classic. I guess we can all relate to the song in our own way with our own experiences. Perhaps thinking of our own lost friends or dreams that crashed into a million pieces along the way. In any event, it’s a beautiful song.

Fire and Rain

Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone
Susanne the plans they made put an end to you
I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song
I just cant remember who to send it to
I’ve seen fire and Ive seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that Id see you again
Wont you look down upon me, Jesus
You’ve got to help me make a stand
You’ve just got to see me through another day
My body’s aching and my time is at hand
And I wont make it any other way
Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that Id see you again
Been walking my mind to an easy time my back turned towards the sun
Lord knows when the cold wind blows it’ll turn your head around
Well, there’s hours of time on the telephone line to talk about things
To come
Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground
Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that Id see you, baby, one more time again, now
Thought Id see you one more time again
There’s just a few things coming my way this time around, now
Thought Id see you, thought Id see you fire and rain, now

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