15 Classic Songs With Truly Tragic Backstories

Musicians are known for being a sad bunch. They often channel their feelings in a much more refined way than you or I am capable of — song, and we love them for it. Some artists in particular were affected by a tragedy in one way or another, and retold the story through song. Others produced songs that had tragic backstories. From James Taylor’s “Fire And Rain” to Led Zeppelin’s “All My Love,” here are 15 classic songs associated with real-life tragic tales.

Read about some of the saddest stories behind hit classic songs, and watch James Taylor perform “Fire And Rain” for VH1 Storytellers.

“Fire And Rain” by James Taylor

“Fire And Rain” has a multifaceted story. “Suzanne the plans they made put an end to you” is about James Taylor’s longtime friend, Suzanne Schnerr, who committed suicide while Taylor was recording his debut album in London. “Sweet dreams and Flying Machines in pieces on the ground” refers to The Flying Machine, Taylor’s band that never quite took off. The song was also written while Taylor was struggling with drug abuse.

“The Needle And The Damage Done” by Neil Young

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