Is “Everyday is a Winding Road” About Suicide?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: Sheryl Crow wrote the song “Everyday is a Winding Road” about the suicide of former Crowded House drummer, Paul Hester.

Rock and roll history is filled with songs that at first appear to be upbeat but then you listen to the lyrics and realize that they are actually pretty depressing, with Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” being one of the most famous examples of that type of thing.

So if you were to learn that Sheryl Crow’s upbeat pop song, “Everyday is a Winding Road” was about suicide, it probably would not surprise you all that much…

However, just like there are lots of rock and roll songs with lyrics that don’t match their melody, so, too, are there lots of interviews with rock and roll singers where the origins of their songs get sort of jumbled up. When you show up to discuss a career that has lasted more than two decades, sometimes details get a bit blurred.

This was the case recently when Sheryl Crow went on the Howard Stern Radio Show to promote her latest album, Be Myself…

On the official Howard Stern website, they do recaps of their episodes, and they described the discussion of Crow’s hit 1996 song, “Everyday is a Winding Road” as follows:

Sheryl wrote “Everyday Is a Winding Road” about Crowded House drummer Paul Hester who committed suicide shortly after Sheryl and her band started opening for them on tour. The mixer on Sheryl’s second album insisted she include the track due to its subject matter. As a single, it hit No. 11 on the charts and was later covered by Prince.

The song was, indeed, about Paul Hester, the longtime drummer for the Split Enz and then Crowded House…

However, it was NOT about his suicide. It was about him quitting Crowded House in the middle of their 1994 USA tour (where Crow was their opening act). Hester told lead singer Neil Finn (at least Neil Finn says that he said this) that “every day is a winding road, mate, it’s time for me to veer off.” Hester was feeling anxious about touring and leaving behind his newborn baby daughter. So he quit the group.

Crow then wrote the song about Hester’s restless energy. Hester’s daughter was named Sunday, so it is likely the inspiration for the line in the song, “He’s got a daughter he calls Easter, she was born on a Tuesday night.”

In any event, ELEVEN YEARS after he left the tour and NINE years after the release of the song, Hester did, in fact, take his own life. However, that obviously had nothing to do with the original song, which really IS as upbeat as it sounds.

The legend is…

STATUS: False

Thanks to my wife for mentioning this after listening to Crow on the Stern show.

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is [email protected]

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