Once Frank Sinatra said that "Something" was one of the most romantic songs ever written, and I couldn’t agree more with him. For almost thirty years, this song became an anthem of love and was seen as the ultimate display of affection. For such a long time, people believed it was the silent Beatle’s way to express all his emotions to his wife Pattie Boyd, and the single was even promoted with a video showing a very romantic footage of each of The Beatles’ couples. In her autobiography, Wonderful Tonight, she assures that it was definitely written for her and even claimed that her favorite version was the one that George had performed to her in their kitchen. Well, actually there’s nothing unlikely about that. But the truth is that in an interview in 1996, Harrison confessed that the only person he was thinking on when writing the song was no one else but Ray Charles. Yes, but it’s not what you think. He wrote the song imagining that it was something Ray Charles could sing easily and beautifully. Like this anecdote, there are many of people just assuming that musicians write love songs for their current partners, or the other way around, there are songs that we don’t really consider as romantic, yet they were inspired out of love.
Unlike George Harrison’s extremely romantic song inspired by Ray Charles, here are 10 songs that allegedly were written or inspired by a woman:
Pattie Boyd - "Layla" by Derek and the Dominos
Pattie might not have inspired one of the most romantic songs according to Sinatra, but she was actually born to be a muse. When she was still married to the Beatle, Boyd met his very close friend, Eric Clapton, who immediately fell for her. Not being able to keep his emotions a secret, he wrote "Layla" for her. In Martin Scorsese’s Living in the Material World, a documentary film about George Harrison, Clapton states that they were like King Arthur and Lancelot after the love of Guinevere. Harrison even played at their wedding. Now, that’s a nice friendship.
Theresa Russell - "Athena" by The Who
There’s no doubt that love comes in the most unexpected ways. When the band was looking for a filmmaker to direct their rock opera The Lifehouse Chronicles, they met Nicholas Roeg and his wife Theresa Russell. Shocked by her beauty, Pete Townshend fell in love with her. However, he was rejected by the actress. The song, originally named "Theresa," portrays that short but intense love.
Pamela Courson - "Love Street" by The Doors
Jim Morrison’s love story with Pamela Courson is one of the most emblematic and tragic in the history of Rock. Their intense and tormented relationship is still a subject of discussion. However, there’s no doubt that the Lizard King really loved his Pamela very much. This song talks about a house and how this place is the ideal place to let love flourish. It’s the story of how Jim and Pamela’s love story began.
Yoko Ono - "Woman" by John Lennon
Yoko Ono is probably one of the most hated women in Rock history. Not only do people blame her for The Beatles’ breaking up, but many fans saw her as a very manipulative woman who managed Lennon at her desire. Whether it’s true or not, the only thing we know for certain is that the musician really loved this woman with all his heart. We can find evidence of this in the multiple songs he wrote for her. "Woman" is his praise and way to thank her for being in his life.
Peggy Sue Gerron - "Peggy Sue" by Buddy Holly
The story behind this song is so cute that it makes me want to cry. Well, not really but you’ll see. Originally the song was going to be called "Cindy Lou". But when Holly was writing it, his friend and drummer Jerry Allison had just had a fight with his girlfriend Peggy Sue Gerron. To help his friend win the girl back, Holly renamed the single that became an absolute success, not only in the charts, but in Allison and Gerron’s love story.
Rosanna Arquette - "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel
Just like Boyd, it seems that Rosanna Arquette was meant to be a rock muse. Also, in the same way, there’s no clear evidence of Peter Gabriel writing the song for her, but everybody assumes it is because they were living together at the time. Who knows? Maybe someday Peter Gabriel will state that he was thinking of Louis Armstrong. It was also believed that Arquette also inspired the catchy 1982 song "Rosanna" by Toto, but they assure it was just a coincidence.
Suzanne Verdal - "Suzanne" by Leonard Cohen
Cohen wrote this song, which was initially a poem, inspired by his relationship with Suzanne Verdal (actually a platonic relationship, since she was then dating another man). Despite the fact that it was not a romantic relationship, Cohen has stated that he always fantasized about her and always saw her as an impossible love.
Linda McCartney - "My Love" by Paul McCartney
Everybody loves a successful couple. Paul and Linda had a very happy marriage and musical relationship until she died in 1998. Linda was definitely Paul’s muse and source of inspiration. Many of his most romantic songs were written for Linda, being "My Love" and "Maybe I’m Amazed" two of the most beautiful ones. There’s no doubt that McCartney is a hopeless romantic that still has what it takes to make anyone fall for him with his touching songs.
Emily Young - "See Emily Play" by Pink Floyd
Although it's not the most romantic song in the world, not even Pink Floyd's most sentimental tune, "See Emily Play" was inspired by Emily Young, an aristocratic young woman with whom Syd Barret allegedly had an affair. Despite the fact that Barret wasn't in the best moment of his life, he found in Young an inspiration to write the song that would boost Pink Floyd into greatness.
Marianne Faithfull - "Carrie Anne" by The Hollies
Last but definitely not least, on our list of rock muses is Marianne Faithfull. She is thought to have inspired some of the best rock songs due to her relationship with Mick Jagger. As a musician herself, she collaborated with The Rolling Stones and inspired songs like "Wild Horses" and the ultimate classic "You Can't Always Get What You Want". Also, she inspired Graham Nash from The Hollies to write "Carrie Anne." He had a platonic love for her and changed the name of the song because he was too shy to let her know his feelings.
If you love rock music or want to know more about it take a look at these: