"Fire & Rain" is about the high and low points of Taylor's life. He was only 20 when he wrote it in 1968, but was battling depression and drug addiction.

The line "Flying machines in pieces on the ground" is a reference to a band Taylor was in called The Flying Machine, which he played in with Danny Kortchmar. This Flying Machine is a completely different band than the group who had a hit in the 70's with "Smile a Little Smile for Me". The name is purely coincidental. After the band broke up, Taylor went to England where he played his tapes to Paul McCartney, who signed him Apple Records.