The 30 Best Songs About Fire
You can’t have songs about rain without a companion piece focusing on songs about fire. One of the four natural elements, fire is considered essential to the nature of the signs Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. According to Women’s Health, “fire signs are known for their passion, creativity, spontaneity, inspiration, and competitive spirit.”
As well as astrology, fire represents a large number of feelings and emotions. It can be used to symbolize passion, death, hope, rebirth, eternity, and resurrection. That’s why it is a word that is used by many artists when they are writing songs. It has so many different meanings and connotations that it makes for a great song title or hook.
There are so many songs that mention fire and use it as a metaphor, that we thought we would list the 30 best you can listen to now.
The 30 Best Songs About Fire
1. The Doors – Light My Fire
The Doors’ biggest hit is seven minutes of 70s organ pop with Jim Morrison in fine form. Light My Fire topped the charts in America and became an anthem around the globe. When they played it live the song would often go even longer, with the band jamming like crazy blues musicians as Morrison danced around the stage.
The track was covered by Puerto Rican vocalist and guitarist José Feliciano a year later and became a number one hit in Australia and Canada. Feliciano’s Latin-flavored take on the song gave it a new edge and opened The Doors up to a new audience.
2. Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start the Fire
At the end of the 80s, Billy Joel came out with this bombastic song that quickly raced up the charts and became his third number one single in America. We Didn’t Start the Fire is a rapid-paced rock song that references an incredible 112 pop culture, political, sporting, and scientific events that occurred between 1949, the year of Joel’s birth, and 1989, the year the single dropped.
The song is inspired by a chat the 40-year-old Joel had with 21-year-old Sean Lennon while in the studio. Some of the things mentioned included the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon, the vaccine for polio, Marlon Brando, and Wheel of Fortune.
3. Talking Heads – Burning Down the House
Originally written during a jam session inspired by Parliament-Funkadelic, Burning Down the House is a new-wave freakout from 80s favorites Talking Heads. Frontman David Byrne wrote down hundreds of phrases that he tried to fit into the song. Talking with The Wall Stree Journal about the track, Byrne had this to say:
“Burning Down the House wasn’t a song about arson. When I wrote the lyrics in 1982, the title phrase was a metaphor for destroying something safe that entrapped you. I envisioned the song as an expression of liberation, to break free from whatever was holding you back. As for the rest of the lyrics, there are no hidden meanings. There’s no logical, linear connection. They aren’t telling a story or signifying anything. I simply combined aphorisms and nonsequiturs that had an emotional connection.”
The song got a second life when Tom Jones and the Cardigans covered it in 1999, once again breaking into the top ten charts across the globe.
4. Jerry Lee Lewis – Great Balls of Fire
He might be a bit of a kook (he did marry his underage cousin) but Jerry Lee Lewis is generally considered one of the pioneers of rock and roll. Much of his early success can be attributed to Great Balls of Fire.
The song features in the 1957 movie Jamboree and sold over one million copies within ten days of being released, which is an impressive feat for the time. Great Balls of Fire is of its time but still resonates today. It had something of a resurgence in the 80s after appearing in Top Gun and is once again doing the rounds thanks to Miles Teller’s awesome rendition in Top Gun: Maverick.
5. Kings of Leon – Sex on Fire
Before this song, Kings of Leon was a Southern rock band making Lynard Skynard-type music. On their fourth album, Only By the Night, the band dropped their scuzzy guitar sound and frontman Caleb Followill actually started singing in an audible voice, resulting in the band’s mainstream success.
This can also be attributed to single Sex on Fire. An absolute monster, the song went to number one in five countries and has sold millions of copies across the globe. It’s a catchy rocker with a great hook that turned the band into rock royalty. While recent releases haven’t lived up to the hype, Kings of Leon will always have Sex on Fire to fall back on.
6. Bloodhound Gang – Fire Water Burn
The 90s was a wild time. When a song like this hits the charts and becomes somewhat of a success, you know music is changing. Bloodhound Gang, known for their mix of genres and crafting jokey songs, broke out into the mainstream with Fire Water Burn.
The song references several pop culture figures, such as Kurt Cobain, Barry White, and Jimi Hendrix, while also incorporating the chorus of The Roof Is on Fire by Rock Master Scott & the Dynamic Three. The use of fuck in the chorus also helped this song connect with the youth.
7. Alicia Keys – Girl on Fire
Inspired by her marriage to producer Swizz Beatz and son Egpyt, Alica Keys puts it all out there on Girl on Fire. The song is a celebration of women and all that they have achieved. It’s Keys’ toasting to the greatness of all the women around the world who are doing the best they can to be successful in life.
8. Metallica – Fight Fire With Fire
The opening track to Metallica’s Ride the Lightning is four and a half minutes of thrash metal that hits like a sledgehammer to the head. Although it starts off with a calm acoustic guitar riff, it soon descends into a hard and fast thrasher. It’s a song predicting the end of the world due to nuclear war. While not the most positive song, it’s a great introduction to what Metallica was once about.
Fight Fire With Fire is much loved by fans and has been covered by a slew of other heavy metal bands over the journey. While all the covers are great, they pale in comparison to the original.
9. Lil Wayne – On Fire
Lil Wayne went rock in 2009 with the album Rebirth. It wasn’t a great choice, as the majority of the songs he recorded are horrid. But the album does contain a few gems, including On Fire. The song samples Amy Holland’s She’s on Fire from Scarface and finds Wayne spitting raps that make no sense, which isn’t out of the norm for the Southern rapper.
While it’s certainly not one of Wayne’s greatest songs, compared to some of his recent output, it’s a masterpiece.
10. Deep Purple – Into the Fire
This slice of classic rock from Deep Purple is taken from the band’s fourth studio album Deep Purple in Rock. The song, written by bassist Roger Glover, is a warning about drugs.
Into the Fire is a typical Purple rocker with an enchanting guitar riff, extended solo, and groovy melody. Many fans think it’s an underrated gem that is often overlooked due to the album’s big hits Speed King and Child in Time.
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11. Sia – Fire Meets Gasoline
This song compares fire and gasoline to passionate but harmful love. Sia’s wonderful vocals draw you in but it’s the music video that really gets your attention. While not an official single, Sia gave Heidi Klum permission to create a video for the model’s lingerie line. It stars Klum and Game of Thrones actor Pedro Pascal as lovers in a volatile relationship.
12. Bruce Springsteen – I’m on Fire
It doesn’t get any better than this classic ballad from the Boss. The song is a simple rocker about a man so consumed with lust for a woman that he wakes up sweating in the middle of the night. It’s great storytelling from Bruce Springsteen and a much slower tempo song than the majority of tracks on Born in the USA.
I’m on Fire is one of Springsteen’s underrated singles with a music video clip that works as a dramatic representation of the lyrics. The song is so popular that it’s been covered by a wide range of artists, including the likes of Bats For Lashes, John Mayer, Tori Amos, Tegan & Sarah, and Lorde.
13. Busta Rhymes – Fire
It might be hard for younger readers to understand, but during the late 90s and early 00s, Busta Rhymes was one of the best spitters in the game. If you need any proof, give this track a listen. Fire is a party song meant for the club, with Busta in top form.
The music video is directed by Hype Williams and is an overblown feast for the eyes. Busta runs from a tornado and raps while surrounded by fire. There’s a lot going on but it only adds to this great 00s rap tune.
14. Elvis Presley – Burning Love
It might not have fire in the title, but Burning Love is all about that hot spark you get when in love. Originally recorded by Arthur Alexander, Elvis Presley’s 1972 version became his biggest hit since Suspicious Minds in 1969.
The King sings about being set on fire and his temperature rising when he’s with his lady. It’s a fantastic track that came at the tail end of Presley’s career that’s arguably his last big hit.
15. Sarah McLachlan – World on Fire
This one is a bit depressing. Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan wrote the tune after the 9/11 attacks. She addresses her feelings about the world and how she feels powerless when tragic events like September 11 occur.
The video clip features McLachlan sitting barefoot and playing the song on her guitar. While the text informs the viewer the music video cost $150,000, it is soon revealed that it only cost $15 to make and then shows how McLachlan used the remainder of the cash to help others.
16. Adele – Set Fire To The Rain
One of the voices of our generation, Adele opens up her pipes on this piano-driven pop number. Adele let’s rip about a toxic relationship coming to an end and the pain of heartbreak. The title of the song pays homage to James Taylor’s Fire and Rain, with Adele’s track taking a feminist view on the relationship breakdown.
Set Fire To The Rain was Adele’s third single from album 21 to hit the top of the charts. While not as big as previous singles Hello and Someone Like You, it still sold well and helped cement Adele as one of the best singers in the world.
17. Passenger – Heart’s On Fire
UK singer Passenger gets introspective with this tale of loving someone at the wrong stage of your life. Often we meet people that we are attracted too but the timing is just off. That’s exactly what Passenger croons about on this acoustic ballad. But it’s not all doom and gloom, with Passenger singing optimistically about the two coming together later in life when it makes more sense for them both.
18. Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire
Ring of Fire is a country classic. Written by June Carter Cash and Merle Kilgore (although some claim it was really Johnny Cash and not June that wrote the tune), Ring of Fire became one of Cash’s biggest hits. Describing what it is like to fall in love, the tune hit the top of the Billboard Country Charts in 1963, remaining there for seven weeks.
19. Cold Chisel – Flame Trees
They might not be popular in the States, but Cold Chisel is a famous pub group from down under. The Australian rock act had a series of huge hits during the 80s, including Flame Trees. The song is about a man who returns to his hometown in the country and begins to reminisce about an old flame.
The music video tells the tale of the lyrics as members of the band appear throughout, besides lead singer Jimmy Barnes. This is a fantastic Aussie song regarded as a classic by most music fans in Australia.
20. Bob Dylan – The Wheel’s on Fire
Originally recorded by Bob Dylan and The Band in 1967, The Wheel’s on Fire wasn’t actually released until 1975. The song has lots of Biblical references and apocalyptic imagery, not that you can really tell, with Dylan’s mumbling vocals not always that easy to understand.
The Wheel’s on Fire was a staple of Dylan’s live act from 1996 through to 2012.
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21. Earth, Wind & Fire – Serpentine Fire
Earth, Wind & Fire dominated throughout the 70s and 80s. The group’s mix of soul, funk, R&B, pop, and jazz resulted in a slew of massive songs that topped the charts across the globe. Founded by Maurice White, who died in 2016, the line-up has continually changed over the years, with the current incarnation of the band led by vocalist Philip Bailey.
Topping the US Billboard Hot R&B Singles, Serpentine Fire is a raucous funk song that makes you want to get up and dance.
22. Jimi Hendrix – Fire
Taken from the album Are You Experienced?, Fire is a rollicking guitar number displaying Jim Hendrix’s incredible skills. The song is inspired by an incident involving the dog of his bass player’s mom. Fire was also covered by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and recorded by them as a tribute to founding guitarist Hillel Slovak who died in 1988.
23. James Blake – I Need a Forest Fire (ft. Bon Iver)
Two great singers come together on this haunting track. A lo-fi R&B banger, I Need a Forest Fire is exactly what you want from a James Blake and Bon Iver collab. The beats are downtempo, the vocals understated, and the overall vibe one of melancholy.
24. Drake – Fireworks (Ft. Alicia Keys)
There are a lot of artists who have put out a song with the title Fireworks. Katy Perry, Animal Collective, Snoop Dogg, and Roxette have all released a track by the name, but our pick is Drake’s ode to Rihanna. Originally thought to have Kings of Leon on the chorus, Alicia Keys stepped in when clearance issues surfaced, providing an alluring chorus.
25. Angel on Fire – Hasley
Released as a bonus track on the deluxe edition of Hasley’s Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, this track finds the singer thinking about her younger self. She reminisces about being in the limelight and everyone praising her while also discussing the feelings of anxiety she felt being in the public eye.
26. Midnight Oil – Beds Are Burning
Although fire doesn’t appear in the title when listening to this song you quickly understand the fire connection. Beds Are Burning is the song that helped Midnight Oil crossover in America. It’s a deeply political song about the treatment of Indigenous Australians with a film clip that features lead singer Peter Garrett’s iconic dance moves in the Aussie outback.
27. Nirvana – Lake of Fire
Although this is a cover of a Meat Puppets song, the Nirvana version is incredible. Appearing on the band’s MTV Unplugged in New York album, Kurt Cobain’s pained vocals really hit home. The song was even released as a promotional single in Australia and became a cult hit.
28. The Bangles – Eternal Flame
Who doesn’t love a good 80s power ballad? Eternal Flame became a massive international hit for The Bangles, reaching number one in nine different countries in 1989. Unfortunately, the song is the reason the band broke up, with audiences and critics singling Susanna Hoffs as the star of the show.
The Bangles reunited a decade later and continue to release music and tour the globe.
29. Pink – Just Like Fire
Pink wrote this track for the 2016 film Alice Through the Looking Glass. It’s a fun pop tune that is exactly what you expect from a Pink song. Pink was inspired to write the song by her daughter, with the tune’s themes being about living your dreams and not letting others control you.
30. Rage Against the Machine – Sleep Now in the Fire
The second single from Rage Against the Machine’s third album, The Battle of Los Angeles, is brain bursting tune about greed, slavery, Native American rights, and the US Army’s involvement in the Vietnam War and the bombing of Hiroshima. It’s a heavy rocker with just enough pop appeal to make it a crossover hit in the States.
The film clip is notable for being directed by activist Michael Moore. It features the band playing on the footsteps of the Federal Hall National Memorial, causing the closure of the New York Stock Exchange.
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