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72  | Top 100
Fire and Rain
James Taylor
The intensely personal lyrics of James Taylor’s Fire and Rain recall his time recovering from heroin addiction and the suicide of a close friend, Suzanne. The 20 year old Taylor had moved to London in 1968 to “escape the monkey on his back” – his addiction to heroin that had taken hold while living and
James Taylor
Song facts
Composer James Taylor
Genre Folk
Album Sweet Baby James
Year of Release 1970
UK Chart 42
performing in New York. However despite some commercial success with his first album the drug habit remained and he went back to New York for treatment later spending five months in Austin Riggs Hospital in Massachusetts.
Back in the US friends told him of the death they had kept secret while he was in London; “Just yesterday they let me know you were gone”. Taylor wrote the song for his second album "Sweet Baby James". Despite its themes of pain and loss: (I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song/I just can’t remember who to send it to/I always thought I’d see you again) there’s also the awareness that he is lucky to have survived his addiction. In the US the song reached number five – though it only managed the top 50 in the UK it sealed Taylor’s career as one of the premier singer/songwriters of baby boomer generation.

Other versions
 Listen to Cher singing Fire and Rain

Beautiful, perfect, stirring and haunting.

Tom Sugden

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