"Fire And Rain" as written by and James V Taylor....
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

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 I'd see you again

Won't 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 won't 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 I'd 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 I'd see you, baby, one more time again, now

Thought I'd see you one more time again
There's just a few things coming my way this time around, now
Thought I'd see you, thought I'd see you fire and rain, now


Lyrics submitted by oofus

Fire And Rain song meanings
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  • +6
    General Commentthis is possibly the most beautiful song ever written, i love it. i know that its about a girl he knew but i always think about my brother, who killed himself when i was younger. i never saw it coming "i always thought that id see you again". the song really hits home for me, i love it.
    Lilacsweetieon September 01, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General CommentIt's so funny that the legends of this song still persist. Timothy White's excellent James Taylor biography "Long Ago and Far Away" and Joel Risberg's "The James Taylor Encyclopedia" both make it pretty clear what the song is about. Both quote James from a few interviews where he's explained the songs. The interviews are a few decades old, so it's funny that the legends still persist. I guess that's the effect of a truly powerful song - people will let it mean what they want. Anyway, from James' own mouth: "I knew Suzanne ['Susie' Schnerr] well in New York, and we used to hang out together and we used to get high together; I think she came from Long Island. She was a kid, like all of us." The two mental institutions James stayed in were in Massachusetts, so they did not meet there. They met while James was in Greenwich Village. Susie was a friend of Flying Machine drummer Joel "Bishop" O'Brien. James goes on: "But she committed suicide sometime later while I was over in London. At the time I was living with Margaret ["Maggie" Corey], and Richard [Corey] was around a lot and so was Joel O'Brien. All three of them were really close to Susie Schnerr. But Richard and Joel and Margaret were excited for me having this record deal [with Apple Records] and making this album, and when Susie killed herself they decided not to tell me about it until later because they didn't want to shake me up... I didn't find out until some six months after it happened. That's why the 'They let me know you were gone' line came up. And I always felt rather bad about the line, 'The plans they made put an end to you,' because 'they' only meant 'ye gods', or basically 'The Fates'. I never knew her folks but I always wondered whether her folks would hear that and wonder whether it was about them." So, he wrote that first verse while in London within a week and a half after O'Brien finally told him one late night. He then tried to kick heroin while in London, flew back to the States to continue his rehab in Manhattan, and began writing the second verse. His mother then took him to Austen Riggs, a psychiatric clinic in Massachusetts, where he wrote the third verse about the break-up of his New York band of 1966, The Flying Machine. From long-time friend and musical partner, Danny "Kootch" Kortchmar: "...Every word in ["Fire & Rain"] was just James telling the blow-by-blow truth about how he felt. Even the line when he sings that he wrote down this song, and he 'just can't remember who to send it to' had to do with the fact he'd signed a contract with a new publishing company, Blackwood Music, and he didn't know who he was supposed to send his stuff to!" James told Rolling Stone Magazine in 1971: "The first verse was a reaction to a friend of mine killing herself. The second verse of it is about my kicking junk just before I left England. And the third verse is about my going into a hospital in Western Massachusetts. It's just a hard-time song, a blues without having the blues form."
    MyWordson March 15, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song reminds me of my sister, who died when we were teenagers. We were two years apart and very close pals. To experience your only sibling's death when you are 17 years old teaches you to be tough. The pain shaped me. It not only taught me to be tough and take care of myself, but to live life LARGE. To take risks because we might not be here tomorrow.

    Life has definitely kicked me around since then. I'll live.

    This song reminds me how life can be so hard sometimes.
    Althea6on July 28, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song makes me immensely sad a girl i knew from the second grade died not quite a year ago and this reminds me of her :( from what i kow this is about his girlfriend who died in a plane crash right?
    EmilyElise7on March 01, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthis is possibly the most beautiful song ever written, i love it. i know that its about a girl he knew but i always think about my brother, who killed himself when i was younger. i never saw it coming "i always thought that id see you again". the song really hits home for me, i love it.
    Lilacsweetieon September 01, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Commentit is a universal song - James wrote it about the travails of drug rehab -
    but he sang it at the Concert For NY after 9/1/1 , and the line "sweet
    dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground" is indeed
    haunting and eerie
    rockboy52on December 06, 2012   Link
  • +2
    MemoryThis has always been one of my favorite James Taylor songs, and I love them all. But, being that my name is Suzanne and, as a teen I went through some pretty hard times I always felt like it BELONGED to me, it fit so well, bouts with depression, attempted suicides. How narcissistic! Well, my life got better, I grew up, and this song made me smile to know that the fates hadn't taken me nor my strength. This past August 29th, 2014, however, my youngest daughter took her own life at the young age of 29. I had recently moved away from Washington State, where my entire family lives to be with a man that I almost married in 1982...we met during a Summer vacation I was taking in 1979 while I was visiting my grandparents in a small town, Niagara, Wisconsin. We kept in touch but, in 1982 I went to visit him in the Marine Corps in San Diego where he was stationed and we realized we were in love and wanted to be together. Well, I headed back home, to Washington, and, at the age of 18 got 'cold feet', called him and broke up over the phone. Didn't speak to him again until early 2011 when my sister found him on Facebook and I contacted him, and, here I am, four years later living not too far from that little town where we met. And, we are happily married. I share my story because, in a way, my daughter thought I had 'abandoned' her by moving so far away and, even though I visited at least every 6 months and she and I talked on the phone almost daily she was bitter, and I had to listen to her almost constant expressions of wanting to take her own life. How she just never felt right. How she felt like a bad mother to her two beautiful kids. How she wanted so much to just FEEL 'normal'. She had made several attempts to take her life and, after the third one I told her it was FATE that she was never successful with those attempts, and that God still had a plan for her. She was on a lot of meds, she suffered from Bi-polar disorder and was horribly plagued by sadness. In October of 2010 her children were taken from her and were awarded to her father and his wife until she could show that she was at least TRYING to 'get it together'. She couldn't seem to be able to keep appointments or do the things that were asked of her, to get the children back, and she missed them, she wasn't whole, in her heart, without them. Her own ex-husband was in jail for not having a green card from India, so he could not help. Needless-to-say the kids were awarded to her dad and his wife (and, I want to add that they are both WONDERFUL people, we always worked together on everything) and that was in July of 2014. On August 29th of that year she took a lethal dose of her sleep medication, Ambien, after she had a taxi take her to the bay of the Puget Sound, to a beach, and there she went for a swim and fell asleep and never woke back up. They found her the next morning, washed-up on the beach, on someone's private beach. She had no ID on her, they had to identify her by the manufacturing code on a metal plate in her ankle from a surgery that she had. Her dad and stepmom were notified by a visit from the Medical examiner at their doorstep later that day, and her stepmom called and asked me in a panicked voice where my husband was? And, I told her at work, and she said to call him and then, right then, I knew that my baby was gone. Forever. She left several letters and notes on the table in her apartment. Her sister, my eldest daughter, was (and still is) beside herself. My two beautiful grandchildren do not have their beloved mother anymore. I flew to Washington State the morning after I got the phone call and was in pieces at the airport, a blithering, blubbering, bawling mess. It took everything in me to just get through that flight.
    Prior to her funeral, after all of the family sat gathered in a room the day prior making arrangements and finalizing everything my sister and I got my daughter ready for all of the people that loved her to say their "Good-byes". I combed her hair, put on her makeup like she always wore it, painted her nails. I did what I could to
    suzannejuhon February 22, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwhen i first heard this song, about 5 months ago which was a little bit after september 11, i thought it sounded like it was written about the attack because i only heard the first verse. -- airplanes and the plans they made put an end to you. pretty stupid when found out this was a 60's song.
    super15matrixon May 09, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentever since i first heard this song i always thought it was about his wife dying... not quite sure how i came to this conclusion but.... yea.... if you listen to it form that point of view it almost makes sense...
    kirajoon May 10, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI read in a biography on Taylor's friend Carol King that the song is about a friend of James' named Susanne who he knew from this mental institution-rehab-y place. He wrote this song after she died as a way to deal with things.
    msvelveton June 22, 2011   Link

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