People Who Are the Inspirations Behind Most Beautiful Songs
Girl from Ipanema” by Astrud Gilberto with
João Gilberto and Stan Getz (1964)
all started in a neighborhood of the fashionable seaside of
Rio de Janeiro
in 1962. The composers of the song noticed beautiful 17-year-old Heloisa
Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto, otherwise known as Helô Pinheiro, on her
daily strolls to the beach where she’d pass the Veloso café and
sometimes enter the café to purchase cigarettes for her mother. Her
sultry features captured the heart of every man who caught a glimpse of
titled “Menina que Passa” (The Girl Who Passes By), the song is
about the beauty of youth and the pang of melancholy which arises just
at the thought of youth fading. This Bossa Nova tune secured fame for
Pinheiro and she went on to become a model and bikini store owner in
. Pinheiro appeared on the cover of Brazilian Playboy in 1987 and again
in 2003 at the age of 59.
Caroline” by Neil Diamond (1969)
drew his inspiration from the cover of the September 7, 1962 issue of Life Magazine. It showed Caroline Kennedy riding a
horse when she was four years old. The image of young Caroline remained
at the back of Diamond’s mind, so much so, that five years later
“Sweet Caroline” was born.
Only 42 years after the song was released
did Diamond reveal the inspiration behind the song during an interview
on CBS’s The Early Show. He even performed the song in 2007 at
Caroline’s 50th birthday celebration. However, Diamond took back his
words in 2014, when he said the song was actually written about his
ex-wife Marsha, but he needed a woman’s name with three syllables to
fit the melody.
“Peggy Sue” by Buddy Holly (1957)
Buddy Holly took the meaning of “buddy” very seriously. He helped
out his drummer friend Jerry Allison and named his new hit song “Peggy
Sue” after Peggy Sue Gerron, the woman Allison was swooning over at
the time. It also ended up securing Holly one of the biggest
rock and roll hits of all time.
The song also
managed to win the heart of Peggy Sue because Allison did indeed tie the
knot with her. The successful union was celebrated with the sequel song
“Peggy Sue Got Married,” but that song failed to hit the charts.
“Donna” by Ritchie Valens (1958)
Valens really knew how to get a crowd up on its feet with his Mexican
folk song “La Bamba,” but his highest-charting hit was the
sweet ode “Donna”, dedicated to his high school sweetheart Donna
Ludwig. “Donna” reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in
Valens stayed in contact
with Ludwig while he was on the road performing the hit until February
3, 1959, when he and Buddy Holly were tragically killed in a plane
crash. However, Ludwig remained a close friend of the Valens family even
after his death.
“She’s Always a Woman” by Billy Joel (1977)
Billy Joel has always known how to work his
magic with meaningful words and melodies, and “She’s Always a
Woman” is no different. Released in 1977, the song talks of a modern
woman whom Joel adores for all her flaws and foibles. This woman he
talks of is his ex-wife Elizabeth Weber Small, whom he married in 1973.
Weber managed Joel’s career and secured him a successful future at a
time when the singer signed some bad contracts and made bad deals. The
song talks of her tough negotiating skills that many opponents found
quite masculine, but to Joel, this made her even more of a woman. The
pair divorced in 1982. Read on to see which other beauties inspired
“Uptown Girl” (1983)
Billy Joel originally wrote “Uptown Girl” about his Australian
supermodel girlfriend Elle MacPherson, who was 19-years-old at the time.
Soon after the pair broke up, Joel won over the heart of another
supermodel, Christie Brinkley. The song was released two years before
the two tied the knot, so it seems that both women inspired the lyrics.
The song is about an
average “downtown” man, a.k.a. Joel, who falls for beautiful and
sophisticated “uptown” women. The song was originally titled
“Uptown Girls” because Joel was hanging around the most famous women
of the ’80s, including Whitney Houston. Joel also said that Frankie
Valli and the Four Seasons inspired the melody.
“Photograph” by Def Leppard (1983)
Monroe possessed a timeless beauty that continues to inspire people even
today. When the star died in 1962, Joe Elliot of the rock band Def
Leppard was only three-years-old, but her beauty captivated him when he
grew up and inspired him to pen the metal rock song
“Photograph.” The song laments the feeling of desiring something you
can never have.
was obviously out of reach, and his only way to hold onto her was by
placing her photo on the cover of Def Leppard’s single and recruiting
lookalikes for the music video. Elliot later took to saying that the
single wasn’t really about her, but that seems even more far-fetched
than the song itself.
“Candle in the Wind” by Elton John (1997)
Diana was killed in a car crash on August 31, 1997, the whole world came
to a standstill. Sir Elton John was bestowed with the honor of
performing a song at the funeral a few days later on September 6th, and
the song he chose was none other than “Candle in the Wind,”
originally released in 1973 as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe.
The lyricist Bernie Taupin altered the words of the song to fit
Diana’s circumstances, so that John could play it at the princess’s
funeral. The revamped 1997 single was incredibly popular as the world
mourned over the Princess Diana’s shocking death. The 1997 version
proved to be a greater success than the 1973 original. In fact, the 1997 single
remains the second best-selling single of all time, after Bing
Crosby’s “White Christmas”.
“Layla” by Derek and the Dominos (1970)
you want to win over the heart of your best friend’s wife, write a
song about her. That’s what Eric Clapton did when he serenaded Pattie
Boyd, who was still married to his best friend George Harrison. Well, he
didn’t quite win her over at that point.
1970, the guitar virtuoso released the hit “Layla” with his blues
rock band Derek and the Dominos. It expressed his obsession with
Boyd. He loved her so much that to get close to her he moved in with her
sister Paula. Paula, however, wasn’t having it when she heard the song
and realized exactly what the lyrics meant. Boyd and Clapton eventually
married in 1979.
“Jennifer Juniper” by Donavan (1968)
There must be
something about the Boyd sisters because Jenny Boyd also inspired the
lyrics of a song. Two years before “Layla” was released, “Jennifer
Juniper” by singer Donavan came out. Jenny was a famous model, but
quit the industry after she traveled to
with Donavan and her sister Pattie to meditate alongside the guru
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Donavan and Boyd were never in a relationship, but he certainly had a
crush on her. In the meantime, Boyd had been in an on-and-off
relationship for 15 years with Mick Fleetwood from Fleetwood Mac,
and they married in 1970 and had two daughters. Today, Boyd holds a PhD
in psychology and co-wrote a book called Musicians in Tune.
Sharona” by The Knack (1979)
It was love at
first sight when Doug Fieger laid eyes on Sharona Alperin. He was 25 at
the time and she was 17, and his love for her inspired him to write many
songs about her. However, there was only one that became a household
single, and “My Sharona” secured his band, The Knack, one of its
Fieger has stated
that falling in love with Alperin felt like a baseball bat hit him in
the head. They dated for four years, during which he feverishly
penned a number of songs about her. In fact, “My Sharona” was
written in about 15 minutes. He recounted how his instant affection for
her inspired lots of songs. Alperin went on to become a realtor in
and currently promotes her listings on her website
“Woman” by John Lennon (1981)
Serving as an ode to his
wife Yoko Ono, the song “Woman” was featured on the album that John
Lennon and Ono collaborated on shortly before his death on December 8,
1980. This song was the first posthumous single released from the Double Fantasy
Lennon dedicated the
song to his wife, who in turn, stood for all women. In an interview with
Rolling Stone magazine, three days before he was shot
to death, Lennon stated that the song was a “grown-up version” of
his song “Girl.” The track opens with Lennon murmuring the phrase,
“For the other half of the sky …,” from a Chinese proverb that Mao
Zedong once quoted.
“Brown Sugar” by The Rolling Stones (1971)
Mick Jagger and
model-singer Marsha Hunt conducted a brief and secret relationship, but
long enough for them to have a daughter together, Karis Jagger.
It’s no wonder that Hunt inspired such an iconic song. After all, she
was on the original
poster for Hair, a musical that canonized the ’70s.
Others have claimed
to be the inspiration for the song, though. Singer Claudia Lennear
declared on BBC’s Radio 4 that “Brown Sugar” was in fact written
about her because she was hanging out with Jagger at the time. However,
that hasn’t stopped Hunt from holding fast that the song was more
likely written about her.
“Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney (1970)
Paul McCartney writes a love song, it can be nothing short of
incredible. “Maybe I’m Amazed” is probably the most meaningful
love song McCartney wrote and performed as a solo artist because he
expresses gratitude to his wife Linda McCartney for simply being who she
When The Beatles
split up, Linda served as a strong pillar of support to McCartney, so he
decided to write the song to her as a tribute. This was one of many
songs he penned about his wife, who died in 1998 of breast cancer.
“Walk Away Renee” by The Left Banke (1966)
Fladen-Kamm is to blame in this case for distracting the keyboard player
Michael Brown during band practice. She was bass player Tom Finn’s
girlfriend and used to sit in the studio when The Left Banke recorded
the 1966 hit “Walk Away Renee.” Brown, only 16 at the time,
described how his hands used to shake when he stared at the tall blonde,
so he had to come back later when she wasn’t around to practice.
“Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” by Crosby, Stills and Nash (1969)
As if one song
isn’t enough to impress, Stephen Stills of rock folk band Crosby,
Stills & Nash composed a multi-part ode called “Suite: Judy Blue
Eyes”, which they performed at Woodstock. The ode refers to Stills’
rocky relationship with his singer-songwriter girlfriend, Judy Collins,
known for her piercing blue eyes.
Most of the lyrics that
make up the different sections of the suite describe Stills’s thoughts
and feelings about their imminent breakup. The pair met in 1967 and
dated until 1969, when she fell for Stacy Keach, her co-star in the
musical production Peer Gynt at the New York Shakespeare Festival. Stills
was truly heartbroken when Collins left him for Keach, and wrote the
song to channel his sadness. In fact, the band was originally only
formed to record “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” but went on to create more
albums and hits.