“Fight Song”: The Story Behind the Song

Teachers: The story below is at the high-beginning level. At the bottom of this page, you will also find the story in a Word document and in a pdf. Permission is granted to reproduce for classroom use. Also at the bottom of the page is an audio recording of the story. More lesson plan ideas for this song are on the Lesson Plans page.

Students: First, watch the YouTube video below. Next, read the story. Finally, read the story again while you listen to it. (The audio recording is below the story.)

(You’re already here! So you don’t need to click on a link after you watch the video. The story is below.)

Everybody’s Fight Song

Rachel Platten had a dream: She wanted to be a professional singer and songwriter. For 12 years, she tried to make her dream come true. She wrote a lot of songs–but not one was a big hit. She traveled from city to city and sang in clubs–but sometimes there were only 20 people in the audience. She made CDs of her music–but she didn’t sell many.

“Maybe,” Rachel thought, “I should give up.” She was tired of driving around the country in her mom’s old car. She was tired of singing in clubs from 1 AM to 4 AM. She was tired of eating cold cereal for dinner. She was 32 years old. Most of her friends had jobs, houses, and children. What did she have? She had 120 songs that nobody wanted to hear.

Rachel had to make a decision: Should she give up, or should she keep trying? For a year, she thought it over. She decided to keep trying. “I’ll keep singing,” she decided, “even if only five people come to hear me. I’ll keep writing songs, even if I never have a hit.” She wrote a song about her decision. “I don’t really care if nobody else believes,” she wrote in the song, “because I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.” She called the song “Fight Song.”

“Fight Song” was a big hit. A few months later, she sang the song in a concert. There were 50,000 people in the audience.

After the song became a hit, thousands of people wrote Rachel. They emailed, sent letters, and wrote on Twitter and FaceBook. Your song helped me when I was going through chemotherapy for cancer…when I lost my job…when I didn’t have money to pay the rent…when I went through a divorce…when I had postpartum depression…when I moved to a new city…when I got hurt in a car accident. Everybody’s story was different, but they were all the same in one way: Rachel’s song helped them through a difficult time.

Rachel Platten wrote “Fight Song” to help herself. But the song has helped thousands–maybe millions–of other people, too. Now it is not just Rachel’s fight song. It is everybody’s fight song.

Story: Copyright © 2015 Sandra Heyer. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reproduce for classroom use.

Everybody’s Fight Song.doc     Everybody’s Fight Song.pdf

Voice-over by Morgan Gorman