The Fire Inside

Album: The Fire Inside (1991)
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • The Fire Inside reflects the search of a lost companion and the internal struggles the singer must deal with. It's about someone who goes out on the town looking for someone from the past that he loved dearly. He's in a state of rage because only he understands how much he needs this person. On his way through town he notices the phony lovers and lines, the weak, and the "dilettantes." During this visit in town, he notices how weak people really are - "Safe in the knowledge that they tried." All the people in the clubs and the discotheques are secretly looking to fall in love but they can't find it. He is the only one who realizes this and is quite critical of them. The trip sequence ends with the line, "On to the street, on to the next, Safe in the knowledge that they tried. Faking the smile, hiding the pain, never satisfied. The fire inside."
  • The last three stanzas are reflection of Seger's personal situation. He screams out, "Dreams die hard and we watch them erode, but we cannot be denied the fire inside." In other words, although this is terrible fact of life, you always have the memories and the unexplained feelings that are kept raging inside: the fire inside. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    James Lo Cascio - Mahwah, NJ, for above 2
  • Seger doesn't have a set way of writing songs, and he writes on both guitar and piano. Very often, his rockers are written on guitar, but this one was written on piano. Perhaps it's a fire thing - he also wrote "The Fire Down Below" on piano.
  • Seger spent a lot of time refining the lyrics to this song. He explained to Music Connection in 1994: "I thought the second verse about the club scenes was a killer, and the last verse worked, but I started to realize that the original first verse of that song was not nearly as strong as the others. So I wracked my brain for a long time on that song. It's like you'll work and work and work, and then three weeks later, the answer will just pop into your head.

    It's funny, I've learned to sometimes let my subconscious do the work. I mean you can beat your head against the wall and just come up with nothing. I've found that that's a good way to do it. You just have to be patient. You have to learn to put it aside and work on something else when you hit a brick wall."
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 10

  • Blake from St. Paul, MnPlease people do not listen to half of what others wrote in the songfacts or comments section about this song because they are simply mistaken and don't quite understand the lyrics. No one is looking for a lost companion from the past and "fire" has nothing to do with rage. Instead, the word "fire" is often used as a metaphor for desire, drive, passion, etc. that one has in regards to something...in this case...the search for love. Nick from Helena, MT explained the meaning perfectly...The Fire Inside = Desire To Find True Love
  • Mike from Matawan, NjProbably Segers best. Kind of weird when juxtaposed against Seger's other tunes...most of which tout 'going out for good times', the kind this song decries. Nick and Mike? Spot on observations. Well done.
  • Nick from Helena, MtThis is about EVERY person's deep down desire to find fulfillment in life through true love. Unfortunately, our increasing desperation for true love makes us open ourselves up with much less restraint than we should normally have. This rash and usually false hope often leads to people being used and hurt. Although the girl is feeling very hurt from opening herself up only to meet rejection again, she doesn't lose her hope, faith, and DESIRE that true love is still out there. She doesn't lose the 'fire inside'.
  • Mike from Ocala, FlI have to agree mostly with Heifer. The song is about a woman and the "fire inside" is lust. While she is lonesome and looking for love, she cannot deny her desires. Her familiarity with the scene indicates that her one night stands are a cyclical pattern of desperation. Even though she is watching her hopes and dreams pass by and realizes that her youth and beauty will fade, she is unable to alter her behavior.
  • Heifer from Hudsonville, MiSeeing how the last verse is written from a female perspective you'd think the whole song is her story. Not sure I agree she's out looking for any one in particular, just for true love. I don't sense much rage either, just sadness and frustration, yet hope.
  • Marc from Perth, AustraliaI've always imagined that the last 3 verses are about his father walking out of his life at a young age and the beginning of the end of childhood innocence with a sudden spark of pessimism. ("and it comes to you how it all slips away etc.. etc..).
  • Vernon from Trinidad, Wi, OtherRoy Bittan from the E Street Band played on this song and I always found the riff to be extremely Springsteen-esque due to that.
  • Mary from Phoenix, AzI agree also. I love this song...and Bob Seger. But, I just read the above "SongFacts", and I guess I don't quite get it. Maybe I'm just not hearing the song right. Maybe I'll keep listening to it till I DO understand.
  • Jake from Toronto, CanadaI agree. I've liked this song since the first time I heard it, but it's so much more tragically beautiful when you understand the meaning - the things left unsaid, the feelings unresolved - the Fire Inside.
  • Brian from Gregory, MiOne of the most underrated songs ever. The fact that there are no comments yet supports my theory!
see more comments

Lita FordSongwriter Interviews

Lita talks about how they wrote songs in The Runaways, and how she feels about her biggest hit being written by somebody else.

Song Titles That Inspired MoviesSong Writing

Famous songs that lent their titles - and in some cases storylines - to movies.

Judas PriestSongwriter Interviews

Rob Halford, Richie Faulkner and Glenn Tipton talk twin guitar harmonies and explain how they create songs in Judas Priest.

The 10 Bands Most Like Spinal TapSong Writing

Based on criteria like girlfriend tension, stage mishaps and drummer turnover, these are the 10 bands most like Spinal Tap.

Dexys (Kevin Rowland and Jim Paterson)Songwriter Interviews

"Come On Eileen" was a colossal '80s hit, but the band - far more appreciated in their native UK than stateside - released just three albums before their split. Now, Dexys is back.

Jon Foreman of SwitchfootSongwriter Interviews

Switchfoot's frontman and main songwriter on what inspires the songs and how he got the freedom to say exactly what he means.