|"Fire and Rain"|
|Single by James Taylor|
|from the album Sweet Baby James|
|Format||7-inch vinyl single|
|Recorded||December 1969 |
|Genre||Soft rock, folk rock|
|James Taylor singles chronology|
"Fire and Rain" is a folk rock song written and performed by James Taylor. Released on Warner Bros. Records as a single from his second album, Sweet Baby James , in February 1970, the song follows Taylor's reaction to the suicide of Suzanne Schnerr, a childhood friend, and his experiences with drug addiction and fame. After its release, "Fire and Rain" peaked at number two on RPM 's Canada Top Singles chart and at number three on the Billboard Hot 100.
Folk rock is a hybrid music genre combining elements of folk music and rock music, which arose in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom in the mid-1960s. In the U.S., folk rock emerged from the folk music revival and the influence that the Beatles and other British Invasion bands had on members of that movement. Performers such as Bob Dylan and the Byrds—several of whose members had earlier played in folk ensembles—attempted to blend the sounds of rock with their preexisting folk repertoire, adopting the use of electric instrumentation and drums in a way previously discouraged in the U.S. folk community. The term "folk rock" was initially used in the U.S. music press in June 1965 to describe the Byrds' music.
James Vernon Taylor is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. A five-time Grammy Award winner, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 100 million records worldwide.
Sweet Baby James is the second album by American singer-songwriter James Taylor, and his first release on Warner Bros. Records. Released in February 1970, the album includes one of Taylor's earliest successful singles: "Fire and Rain", which reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album itself reached #3 on the Billboard Album Charts. Sweet Baby James made Taylor one of the main forces of the ascendant singer-songwriter movement. The album was nominated to a Grammy Award for Album of the Year, in 1971. The album was listed at #104 on Rolling StoneMagazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
On the VH1 series Storytellers , Taylor said the song was about several incidents during his early recording career. The second line "Suzanne the plans they made put an end to you" refers to Suzanne Schnerr, a childhood friend of his who committed suicide while he was in London, England, recording his first album.In that same account, Taylor said he had been in a deep depression after the failure of his new band The Flying Machine to coalesce (the lyric "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, as was long rumored). Taylor completed writing the song while in rehab.
VH1 is an American pay television network based in New York City owned by Viacom. It was originally created by Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, at the time a division of Warner Communications and the original owner of MTV, and launched on January 1, 1985, in the former space of Turner Broadcasting System's short-lived Cable Music Channel.
Storytellers is a television music series produced by the VH1 network.
James Taylor and the Original Flying Machine is an archival release of 1966 recordings of American singer-songwriter James Taylor's band The Flying Machine, first released in February 1971.
In 2005, during an interview on NPR, Taylor explained to host Scott Simon that the song was written in three parts:
Scott Simon is an American journalist and the host of Weekend Edition Saturday on NPR.
Apple Records is a record label founded by the Beatles in 1968 as a division of Apple Corps Ltd. It was initially intended as a creative outlet for the Beatles, both as a group and individually, plus a selection of other artists including Mary Hopkin, James Taylor, Badfinger, and Billy Preston. In practice, the roster had become dominated by the mid-1970s with releases of the former Beatles as solo artists. Allen Klein managed the label from 1969 to 1973, then it was managed by Neil Aspinall on behalf of the Beatles and their heirs. Aspinall retired in 2007 and was replaced by Jeff Jones.
Sir James Paul McCartney is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer. He gained worldwide fame as the bass guitarist and singer for the rock band the Beatles, widely considered the most popular and influential group in the history of popular music. His songwriting partnership with John Lennon remains the most successful in history. After the group disbanded in 1970, he pursued a solo career and formed the band Wings with his first wife, Linda, and Denny Laine.
Peter Asher CBE is a British guitarist, singer, manager and record producer. He came to prominence in the 1960s as a member of the pop music vocal duo Peter and Gordon before going on to a successful career as a manager and record producer. As of 2018, he tours alongside Jeremy Clyde of Chad and Jeremy in a new duo entitled Peter and Jeremy, where they perform hits from both of their of respective catalogs.
Carole King played piano on the song.Drummer Russ Kunkel used brushes rather than sticks on his drum kit, and Bobby West played double bass in place of a bass guitar to "underscore the melancholy on the song".
Carole King is an American singer-songwriter who has been active since 1958, initially as one of the staff songwriters at the Brill Building and later as a solo artist. She is the most successful female songwriter of the latter half of the 20th century in the US, having written or co-written 118 pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1955 and 1999. King also wrote 61 hits that charted in the UK, making her the most successful female songwriter on the UK singles charts between 1952 and 2005.
Russell Kunkel is an American drummer and producer who has worked as a session musician with many well-known artists, including Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Jimmy Buffett, Dan Fogelberg, Stephen Stills, Harry Chapin, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Stevie Nicks, Carole King, Jackson Browne, Joe Walsh, Neil Diamond, Glenn Frey, and Carly Simon.
The double bass, or simply the bass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra.
King has stated that her song "You've Got a Friend," which Taylor recorded, was a response to the line in the refrain that "I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend."
"You've Got a Friend" is a 1971 song written by Carole King. It was first recorded by King, and included in her album Tapestry. Another well-known version is by James Taylor from his album Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon. His was released as a single in 1971 reaching number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 4 on the UK Singles Chart. The two versions were recorded simultaneously in 1971 with shared musicians.
A refrain is the line or lines that are repeated in music or in poetry; the "chorus" of a song. Poetic fixed forms that feature refrains include the villanelle, the virelay, and the sestina.
Taylor references the song in another of his compositions, "That's Why I'm Here," title track from his 1985 album, in which he writes, "Fortune and fame's such a curious game. Perfect strangers can call you by name. Pay good money to hear 'Fire and Rain' again and again and again."
Broadcast Music, Inc. ranked "Fire and Rain" at number 82 on its "Top 100 Songs of the Century" list, 's list of 500 greatest songs of all time.while voters for the National Endowment for the Arts and Recording Industry Association of America's Songs of the Century list, which comprises 365 songs of "historical significance" recorded from 1900 to 2000, placed "Fire and Rain" at number 85. In April 2011, the song was named at number 227 on Rolling Stone
In 2015, Taylor appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert , where he sang a version including numerous references to post-1970 popular culture.
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||67|
|U.S. Cash Box||85|
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"Summertime Blues" is a song co-written and recorded by American rockabilly artist Eddie Cochran. It was written by Cochran and his manager Jerry Capehart. Originally a single B-side, it was released in August 1958 and peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 29, 1958 and number 18 on the UK Singles Chart. It has been covered by many artists, including being a number-one hit for country music artist Alan Jackson, and scoring notable hits in versions by The Who, Blue Cheer and Brian Setzer, the last of whom recorded his version for the 1987 film La Bamba, where he portrayed Cochran. Jimi Hendrix performed it in concert.
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