Love, relationships, and breakups have long been the fuel of most pop music.
And no artist has used her relationships, mostly with famous men, to generate enthusiasm for her work like Taylor Swift. Last week, the 31-year-old released a short film and a new, expanded version of “All Too Well” that pretty much confirms that it’s about her ex Jake Gyllenhaal, with whom she briefly dated in 2010, their 9-year age difference in texts like “You said that if we had moved closer together in old age it might have been okay.” The private Gyllenhaal did not answer, but he did not seem concerned. He resigned over the weekend to support Sister Maggie Gyllenhaal at the Hamilton Behind the Camera Awards.
Then there’s Adele – fresh from a 100 pound weight loss and divorce from ex Simon Konecki who inspired her new album “30”. It contains the powerful ballads “Easy On Me” and “Hold On” and deals with the failure of the 33-year-old marriage. During her hyped interview with Oprah Winfrey, she was asked what Konecki thought of her very personal songs.
“He knows what kind of artist I am, that I have to dig deep and tell my stories,” Adele said to Winfrey.
Here are other high profile love songs and how their muses thought they’d get immortalized in a jukebox hit.
When Journey frontman Steve Perry, 72, went solo in 1984, his biggest hit was named after his girlfriend at the time, Sherrie Swafford. She even appeared in the video with Perry. They split in the late 1980s and Swafford was forgotten. When contacted by Noblemania blog in 2013, she admitted to dodging interview requests from MTV and VH1. “I didn’t do anything and hoped they thought it was the wrong number,” Swafford, 67, told the blog, adding that she is a beautician and yoga teacher who neither married nor had children.
“I love my animals, I plant flowers and life,” she continued. “Keep my friends (including Steve) and my privacy. With us it was completely different! It was just love, nothing else! “
‘You should know‘
In 1995 the Canadian musician Alanis Morissette exploded with her angry breakup song “You Oughta Know” from “Jagged Little Pill”. It became an anthem for the heartbroken – and shattered the image of sane full house actor Dave Coulier when rumors surfaced that the edgy tune was about their relationship in the early 1990s. In 2013, Coulier confirmed he was the dubious muse, telling Huffpost Live that the line, “I hate to bug you in the middle of dinner” was tell-tale poetry.
Coulier, 62, explained that Morissette, 47, called him after they broke up and he told her, “Hey, you know, I’m in the middle of dinner. Can I call you right back? “
When he heard the lyrics, “It was like, oh-oh,” he said.
“I called them and said, ‘Look, what should I tell the media when these people call me?’ And she said, ‘You can say whatever you want.’ ”
The song gave many fans a different take on Coulier, who they knew as a worn-out father joke machine. But the intimate portrayal of their relationship didn’t affect his feelings about his ex.
“I think nothing but the world of her,” he said.
‘cry Me A River‘
Boy band heartthrob Justin Timberlake, 40, went solo with his album “Justified” in 2002. The song and video for the single “Cry Me a River,” which featured a Britney Spears doppelganger, fueled rumors that his ex had been unfaithful to him.
“He called me and supposedly wanted to get back together or whatever, but it said, ‘And by the way, you’re in a video that’s coming out,'” Spears told Rolling Stone in 2011, slipped into it. “Do not worry. It’s not a big deal.’ ”
Spears, 39, who was exempted from her 13-year-old conservatory last week, said the record company even gave her the option to delete the video.
“I didn’t because I was like, ‘Hey, this is your video.’ ”
But this feeling was short-lived.
“I said, ‘I should have fucking said no to that s – t!’ “She confronted Timberlake, who said to her, ‘Well, I have a controversial video.’ And I said: ‘You have that. Juhu for you.’ So he got what he wanted. Personally, I think it looks like such a desperate attempt. But that was a great way to sell the record. He is smart. Smart guy. “
‘Hello delilah ‘
While many melodies arise from relationships, this 2006 hit of the Plain White Ts was an attempt to spark one. Lead singer Tom Higgenson, 42, wrote the song about a fictional long-distance relationship with Delilah DiCrescenzo, a Columbia student and cross-country runner whom he met through a mutual friend. They never went out on a date, and DiCrescenzo, 38, actually went out with someone else.
“When I’m in the gym, [‘Hey There Delilah’ is] to play; When I’m at the pool, it plays. Part of me wants to scream out loud that this is about me, ”she told USA Today. “Another part of me wants to duck and say it isn’t.”
She attended the Grammys with the band in 2008 and told ESPN that she didn’t want to disappoint fans that she and Higgenson weren’t the subject, but believes she was the right muse at the moment.
“Without me Tom would have been inspired by another girl and would have written a great song about her. For me, I was in the right place at the right time and met the right person – just the luck of the draw. “
The infectious catchy tune of the crack “My Sharona” is actually based on the love of the singer Doug Fieger with Sharona Alperin. Fieger, who died of cancer in 2010 at the age of 57, met Alperin, now a real estate agent in Los Angeles, at the age of about 17, nine years older than her.
“A month or two later he said to me, ‘I’m in love with you, you’re my soulmate, you’re my other half, we’ll be together one day,'” she told NPR in 2010. “And I was madly in back then fell in love with my boyfriend, and so it was a year before I left my boyfriend. ”
Fieger wrote the song for her before they were even an object – they started dating when she was 19 – and she remembered being shocked to hear a song with her name on it.
“I think I didn’t consider myself a celebrity, but people were really excited when they met me. And I remember going on tour and sometimes seeing people in disguise. And I would say, ‘What are you disguised as?’ And they said: ‘Sharonas’. ”
The couple split but remained close, and Alperin, 61, had loving words for her ex. Even if it helped her name to become synonymous with something less hearty in Asia.
“Not everyone knew that Sharona was a person, or they thought it might be a thing. I think in Japan they might think it was the male organ – I heard that. “
Before Rosanna Arquette, 62, had a breakthrough role in “Desperately Seeking Susan” in 1985, her first name became a chart-topper when Toto released “Rosanna” in 1982.
While the band was recording “Toto IV”, they dated keyboardist Steve Porcaro, 64. Her name floated in the ether and matched the ballad.
“‘Rosanna is three girls I knew, all rolled into one, ”Toto band member David Paich told Louder in 2008. Frontman Bobby Kimball said she ran with it.
“She was just starting her career and the song was so big that she went on several talk shows saying it was about her. But I can tell you it wasn’t. David’s statement was always that he only used the name because it fit into the song. Then she came into the picture and claimed it. ”
Arquette later said she didn’t like the song, to which Kimball quipped, “That’s because it’s no longer useful to her.”
Country crossover favorite Kacey Musgraves’ fifth album, Star-Crossed, is full of thoughts about her breakup with ex-husband Ruston Kelly, who she divorced in 2020.
“It’s easy to say it’s a post-divorce album, which is actually on paper,” the 33-year-old told NPR. “But this album is full of love and gratitude for this person, for Ruston, for my life and my ability to explore all emotions as a songwriter.”
While “Star-Crossed” is about the cycle of ending a relationship, her album “Golden Hour” is about falling in love with Kelly. The album won a Grammy in 2019 and while thanking Elle she said, “I felt like I was dying inside. I crumbled. I was sad. I felt lonely I felt broken. ”
Kelly didn’t comment on his ex’s songs, but he switched to another brunette, model Tori Barnes.