I grew up in the "classic rock" era, but I love music of every genre. I love sharing my old favorites while still discovering new artists.
Lyrics about fire can pertain to literal fire, but they can also represent a burning passion, a need, a desire, or a fire of the soul.
I have not put this list in rank order. The first ten of these songs are my current favorites, and they are in date order, starting with the newest songs first. The songs in the table at the bottom start over in date order, from oldest to newest.
"Burning Man"–Dierks Bentley ft. Brothers Osborne (2018)
I just love this song, and I am very impressed by Dierks Bentley and the Brothers Osborne. For any doubters out there, they are living proof that good music is still being made.
"Burning Man" was written by Bobby Pinson and Luke Dick. Dierks Bentley recorded it as a duet with country music duo, Brothers Osborne, for his 2018 album The Mountain. He released the song as a single in May, 2018.
The chorus of the song is a series of contradictions. It expresses a need to wander, but also a desire to be grounded. Bentley said that he felt an "immediate connection" to the lyrics upon hearing it; he identified with the theme of contradictory elements, relating it to his own life as a touring musician and a father.
T.J. Osborne provided vocals for the song, while John Osborne played lead guitar.
"Girl on Fire"–Alicia Keys (2012)
Alicia Keys co-wrote and co-produced "Girl on Fire" along with Jeff Bhasker and Salaam Remi. It was featured on her fifth studio album, also named Girl on Fire. The song peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart
Keys says the song was inspired by the experience of giving birth to her son Egypt and her marriage to her husband Swizz Beatz.
"Set Fire to the Rain"–Adele (2011)
"Set Fire to the Rain" was written by Adele along with her producer Fraser T. Smith. It was the third single from her 2011 album 21. The song peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, and was also number one in Belgium, Poland, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.
The song was Adele's third consecutive number-one single from 21. Adele is the first female British artist in history to have three consecutive US number one hits. Between "Rolling in the Deep", "Someone like You" and "Set Fire to the Rain" Adele stayed on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks.
"We Didn't Start the Fire"–Billy Joel (1989)
Billy Joel wrote, "We Didn't Start the Fire." The lyrics include quick references to news events between 1949, the year he was born, and 1989, the year the song was written. The song was released on his album, Storm Front. It was a #1 hit in the US in 1989.
"I'm on Fire"–Bruce Springsteen (1982)
"I'm on Fire" was written and performed by Bruce Springsteen. Released in 1985, it was the fourth single from his album Born in the U.S.A. It was recorded in February 1982. It peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles charts in 1985.
"Smoke From a Distant Fire"–The Sanford Townsend Band (1977)
The Sanford Townsend Band was a rock and roll band from Alabama. They had their one and only hit single in 1977 with "Smoke From a Distant Fire."
Their 1976 album, originally titled Sanford Townsend Band, was recorded at the Muscle Shoals Studio. When "Smoke From a Distant Fire" reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100, the album was re-titled with the name of the hit song and re-released. Subsequent albums did not fare as well, and the band members went back to working as session musicians and writing songs.
"Bob Seger"–The Fire Down Below (1976)
The Fire Down Below was featured on Night Moves, the ninth studio album by Bob Seger, and his first with the Silver Bullet Band. It was released on October 22, 1976.
Three singles were released from the album, but “Fire Down Below,” was not one of them.
"Fire on the Mountain"–Marshall Tucker Band (1975)
"Fire on the Mountain" was written by George McCorkle and originally released by the Marshall Tucker Band on their 1975 album, Searchin' for a Rainbow. The song was the album's first single. It peaked at #38 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the band's first Top 40 hit single.
"Play With Fire"–Rolling Stones (1965)
The song writing for "Play with Fire" is credited to Nanker Phelge. That was a pseudonym the Stones used when tracks were composed by the entire band.
The song was originally released as B-side to the song "The Last Time." It was later included on the American release of their 1965 album Out of Our Heads.
The lyrics concern a relationship with a high society girl. The title is a reference to the saying, "If you play with fire, you will get burned." "Play with Fire" went to #96 on the U.S. charts.
"Ring of Fire"–Johnny Cash (1963)
"Ring of Fire," was written by June Carter Cash and Merle Kilgore. The song was originally recorded in 1963 by June's sister, Anita Carter, on her album Folk Songs Old and New.
Johnny Cash recorded it in 1963 for his album, Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash. It was one of the biggest hits of his career. It stayed at number #1 the country chart for seven weeks.
More Great Songs About Fire and Burning
Great Balls of Fire
Jerry Lee Lewis
Light My Fire
Fire and Rain
Fire on the Mountain
Burnin for You
Blue Oyster Cult
Burning Down the House
I hope you have enjoyed my fire/burning song list. I know there are more songs out there about fire and burning. If I have left out your favorite, please do not hesitate to let me know.
© 2019 Sherry Hewins
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 08, 2019:
I enjoyed this playlist, Sherry. I'm glad you included "Light my Fire" by The Doors in your graph. I would have loved it if you included a video of that. I never tire of looking at Jim Morrison!
Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on May 02, 2019:
Alicia Keys and Adele are wonderful, and proof that good music is still being produced. Thanks for your suggestion
Mary Wickison from Brazil on May 02, 2019:
A great list, I had forgotten about some of those. I sure like Alicia Keys, and Adele.
The first song that popped into my head was Elvis' Burning Love. Not one of my favorites but I'm an Elvis fan.
Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on April 29, 2019:
Interesting, about the Sanford-Townsend song. The lyric is definitely Smoke of a distant fire. Blue Oyster Cult is in my More Songs section. I thought I had Fire and Rain, but I guess I forgot to add it. Thanks for your comment and your suggestions.
Pat Mills from East Chicago, Indiana on April 29, 2019:
Still more fine songs in the category include Fire And Rain by James Taylor, Fire by Ohio Players, Fire by both Robert Gordon and the Pointer Sisters, and Burnin' For You by Blue Oyster Cult. By the way, the Sanford-Townsend song is Smoke From A Distant Fire.If you wanted to do a part two in this category, you're well on your way.
Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on April 29, 2019:
Thanks Bill. I hope you had a chance to listen to the first song, "Burning Man." I get really excited when I find a new song I really like, and that's true of this one.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 29, 2019:
That's a great song list. I first thought of Johnny Cash, then Adele, and then the Doors....then some lyrics..."something's burning,and I think it's love," but I can't think of the song those lyrics are part of.