9. "Fire And Rain" (James Taylor)
Taylor wrote this classic tune as a deeply personal reflection on life’s bumpy journey, capturing all of its twists and turns and pains and joys. A remarkable feat considering he wrote it when he was only 20 years old.
Featured on his second album, Sweet Baby James, the song’s structure unfolds like a three-act play with a beginning, middle, and end. A more detailed explanation is provided by the man himself:
"Fire and Rain" has three verses. The first verse is about my reactions to the death of a friend. The second verse is about my arrival in this country with a monkey on my back, and there Jesus is an expression of my desperation in trying to get through the time when my body was aching and the time was at hand when I had to do it... And the third verse of that song refers to my recuperation in Austin Riggs (psychiatric facility) which lasted about five months.”
The end result earned the young singer/songwriter from North Carolina a massive hit and a ticket to pop superstardom that would eventually land him in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.