Inspiration for the lyrics of Everyday is a Winding Road by Sheryl Crow

Thursday, December 14, 2023

 In the world of music, inspiration often transcends personal experiences, weaving through the lives of different artists. A profound example of this is the connection between Paul Hester, the drummer from the renowned band Crowded House, and the creation of Sheryl Crow's hit song "Every Day is a Winding Road." This article delves into the intricate relationship between Hester's life journey and how it became a pivotal inspiration for one of the 90s' most memorable songs.

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Paul Hester: The Man Behind the Music

Paul Hester, an Australian musician best known as the drummer for Crowded House, was a vibrant and charismatic figure in the music industry. His journey with Crowded House was marked by significant success, but it was also shadowed by his struggles with severe depression. These challenges led to his abrupt departure from the band during a tour, leaving a profound impact on his bandmates and fans alike.

Hester's struggle was not hidden from his peers. His candid conversation with Crowded House lead singer Neil Finn, where he remarked, “Every day is a winding road,” poignantly reflected his internal battles. This statement, simple yet profound, encapsulated the unpredictability and complexity of his daily life, struggling with mental health issues.

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Sheryl Crow: Artistic Resonance and Inspiration

Sheryl Crow, an emerging artist in the early 90s, had the opportunity to open for Crowded House while promoting her first album. It was during this time she witnessed Hester's sudden and impactful departure from the band. This event, coupled with her interactions and observations of Hester, sparked a creative flame within Crow.

In the midst of touring, Crow began penning songs for her self-titled follow-up album. Among these was “Everyday is a Winding Road,” a track that would not only achieve commercial success but also hold deep personal significance for Crow. Collaborating with Jeff Trott and Brian MacLeod, Crow crafted a song that was an ode to Hester’s life – acknowledging both its vibrancy and its struggles.

Lyrics and Legacy: A Tribute to Life's Journey

The lyrics of “Everyday is a Winding Road” are replete with references to Hester’s life and Crow’s artistic reflections. The line, "He's got a daughter he calls Easter, she was born on a Tuesday Night," subtly nods to Hester’s daughter, Sunday, and Crow's debut album, "Tuesday Night Music Club." These lyrics intertwine personal elements of both artists’ lives, creating a tapestry of shared experiences and emotional depth.

Neil Finn, Crowded House’s lead singer, contributed backing vocals to the track, adding another layer of connection and tribute to Hester. The song's appearance in the 1996 film "Phenomenon," starring John Travolta, further propelled its reach, embedding its narrative in the cultural zeitgeist of the time.

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The Evolving Resonance of a Song

"Every Day is a Winding Road" took on a new, somber significance following Paul Hester's tragic death by suicide in 2005. For Crow, the song transformed from a tribute to a friend's struggles to a haunting reminder of his absence. In her words, the song resonated more powerfully over time, adapting and evolving in its meaning.

Crow’s reflection on the track echoes the universal nature of music – its ability to grow and change with time, paralleling the experiences of both the artist and the audience. Her acknowledgment that some songs "have taken on a new life form" underscores the living, breathing essence of music, especially when it is deeply rooted in real human experiences.


The story behind "Every Day is a Winding Road" is a testament to the power of music as a medium for expression, connection, and remembrance. Paul Hester's life and his poignant words provided a canvas for Sheryl Crow to create a song that not only resonated with many but also served as a lasting tribute to Hester's life and struggles. In the interplay of their lives and art, Crow and Hester remind us that music can be a profound vehicle for understanding, coping, and remembering the winding roads we all travel.

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