Fire and Rain (4:32)

Cover of Greatest Hits

From Greatest Hits and 69 other releases

“Fire and Rain” is a folk/rock song written and performed by James Taylor. As a song on his second album, Sweet Baby James, the song engendered widespread attention for him. The album was released in February 1970, with the song being released as a single the following February. “Fire and Rain” quickly rose to number three on the Billboard hot 100 charts. It was soon covered by Anne Murray, on her album Honey, Wheat and Laughter, also in 1970.

Moody and introspective, “Fire and Rain” became something of a prototype for the singer-songwriter genre that would boom in the few years following its release. Its apocalyptic imagery proved provocative to would-be interpreters. The sparse arrangement, centered around Taylor’s ringing acoustic guitar figures, also became a signature sound for Taylor and was influential among other performers.

“Fire and Rain” is in the 227th position on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

Origin of the song

Taylor has related different versions of what the song is about.

In a BBC interview he stated that the song chronicled his experiences in mental institutions and the suicide of a friend.

On the VH1 series Story Tellers, Taylor said that the song was, indeed, about Suzanne Schnerr, a friend of his who died suddenly while he was away from home (the second line of the song is “Suzanne the plans they made put an end to you”).


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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 can't remember who to send it to

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics


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