The title track of Paul Simon’s 1983 album Hearts and Bones is a tender love song that obviously draws on the singer’s experiences. As it happens, Simon was at the time in the middle of a stormy 1-year marriage to the actress Carrie Fisher. Simon proposed to Fisher at a baseball game. Even though they were only married for a year, they got back together after their divorce and remained together for a few years before separating for good. “Hearts and Bones” exists as a commemoration of their better times together.
Paul Simon was one half of the classic folk duo Simon and Garfunkel, as well as their primary songwriter. After splitting from his musical partner, he forged a tremendously successful solo career. Carrie Fisher, daughter of Hollywood royalty, was an actress best known as Princess Leia in the Star Wars film franchise. She passed away in 2016.
“Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton experienced heartbreak and tragedy as the 1990s entered. The 1990 helicopter crash that killed his friend and fellow musician Stevie Ray Vaughan also took the lives of Clapton’s manager and two other people. Just a few months later, Clapton lost his four-year-old son Conor when the toddler fell from the window of the 53rd-floor New York apartment where they were living. Clapton felt the need to isolate himself for a time for the sake of his emotional health. When he was ready to rejoin the living world, he began work on the soundtrack to the movie "Rush" for which he co-wrote the song “Tears in Heaven” with songwriter Will Jennings. Clapton has said that music was a tremendous source of healing, joy, and pleasure for him. After the death of his son, Clapton has become an advocate of childproofing household hazards.
Eric Clapton, who has had a storied career as a giant and pioneer of rock since the 1960s, had an unexpected hit with the soft, understated ballad “Tears in Heaven.” It is his best-selling single in North America and among the most successful singles of all time. Shortly after its release, he recorded a live acoustic version as part of the MTV Unplugged series, which was also a big hit.
“And I Love Her” by The Beatles
Paul McCartney has earned the distinction of being among the finest songwriters of the 20th century, and his love songs have been among his most popular compositions. The first of those to meet with wide acclaim was “And I Love Her,” a song that he claimed to be the first ballad of his that he was proud of. It was inspired by his then-fiancee, Jane Asher. Asher was a photographer and actress who was a significant part of the British cultural scene in the 60s, and the press was in love with the romance between her and Paul. However, it was not to be. Within a year, they had gone their separate ways, and Paul ended up marrying Linda Eastman (McCartney) who was the true love of his life.
“And I Love Her” wasn’t the only Beatles song inspired by Jane Asher. There were many, among which were “We Can Work it Out” and “I’m Looking Through You.” After her split from Paul, she met and wed artist Gerald Scarfe, to whom she’s been married for over forty years now.
“Day Dreaming” by Aretha Franklin
It can be a heavy burden if you’re the man that the queen of soul has written a love song about. You’ve got the love and the passion, but the flame can be hot enough to burn. At the time she wrote “Day Dreaming,” Aretha Franklin was engaged to singer Dennis Edwards of the classic vocal group The Temptations. They never did marry, though. Decades later, Edwards would admit being in the wrong. He was intimidated by the idea of marrying such a powerful superstar. Franklin replied that she had made peace with the situation long before, that she had grown weary of the lack of commitment and had decided to move on to greener pastures.
The Queen of Soul had a career spanning over 60 years and over a hundred charting singles. She was well known both as a songwriter and an interpreter of other people’s songs. Among her best-known singles are “Respect,” “Chain of Fools,” “Think,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” and “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” a duet with George Michael.
“Rosanna” by Toto
Rock band Toto was at their peak in 1982 when it released the top-five hit “Rosanna.” All about finding and losing love, it was bigger than a power ballad, and it cemented Toto’s place among the biggest bands of the 80s. It’s been a running joke from the beginning that the song was inspired by the actress Rosanna Arquette, who was actually dating the band’s keyboardist Steve Porcaro at the time. Arquette herself was not above playing along from time to time. The songwriter and fellow bandmate David Paich denied the rumor for years and years before finally admitting it in 2016. He said that Arquette was very beautiful and he had had a secret crush on her, and that’s why he named the song after her.
Though Toto has been going strong for over forty years, the 80s was their time in the sun. Their massive hits “Rosanna” and “Africa,” as well as 1978’s “Hold the Line,” established them as a supremely professional, massively talented, and endlessly entertaining group of musicians.