I grew up in the "classic rock" era, but I love music of every genre. I love sharing my old favorites while still discovering new artists.
Wind can be a metaphor for many things. It can represent power and passion or destruction. It can be gentle and playful, or it can moan with longing and loneliness. It can stir a restless spirit or hold an eagle aloft. No wonder there are so many powerful songs about wind.
Powerful Songs About Wind
The numbers are not a ranking system. These songs are in random order.
- Gogi Grant – “Wayward Wind”
- Kansas – “Dust in the Wind”
- Peter, Paul and Mary – “Blowin’ in the Wind”
- Bette Midler – “Wind Beneath My Wings”
- Seals and Kroft – “Summer Breeze”
- Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band – “Against the Wind”
- Fleetwood Mac – "The Chain”
- Neil Young: – "Four Strong Winds”
- Sam Cooke – “They Call the Wind Maria”
- Bob Dylan – “Idiot Wind”
1. Gogi Grant – “Wayward Wind”
Stanley Lebowsky and Herb Newman wrote “Wayward Wind.” Gogi Grant had a number one hit with it the year I was born, 1956.
The lyrics paint a stirring picture of wide vistas and lonely landscapes. The song attributes so many human emotions to this wind, lonely, restless, and born to wander.
The wayward wind is a restless wind
A restless wind that yearns to wander
And he was born the next of kin
The next of kin to the wayward wind"
— Gogi Grant – “Wayward Wind”
2. Kansas – “Dust in the Wind”
“Dust in the Wind” was a last-minute addition to the lineup of Kansas’ 1977 album 1977 album Point of Know Return. Kerry Livgren wrote the song, but was hesitant to play it for his band mates. It was so unlike their other songs. The band loved the song, and it became their biggest hit.
The song itself is a meditation on the temporary nature of our existence. What could be more insignificant and less in control than dust in the wind?
"Dust in the Wind" was one of Kansas's first acoustic songs. The melancholy melody and contemplative lyrics are a departure from their typical material like "Carry on Wayward Son."
I close my eyes, only for a moment, and the moment's gone
All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity
Dust in the wind
All they are is dust in the wind"
— Kansas – “Dust in the Wind”
3. Peter, Paul and Mary – “Blowin’ in the Wind”
Bob Dylan wrote “Blowin’ in the Wind” in 1962 and released it as a single and on his album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan in 1963. People have many, sometimes complex ideas what the song is about, but according to Dylan himself it's really very simple. Here is what he had to say about it:
“There ain't too much I can say about this song except that the answer is blowing in the wind. It ain't in no book or movie or TV show or discussion group. Man, it's in the wind — and it's blowing in the wind. Too many of these hip people are telling me where the answer is but oh I won't believe that. I still say it's in the wind and just like a restless piece of paper it's got to come down some ... But the only trouble is that no one picks up the answer when it comes down so not too many people get to see and know... and then it flies away.”
Hundreds of musicians have recorded "Blowin' in the Wind." The most commercially successful, and possibly best-known, rendition is by Peter, Paul and Mary. They released their version of the song only three weeks after Dylan released his.
Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind"
— Peter, Paul and Mary – “Blowin’ in the Wind”
4. Bette Midler – “Wind Beneath My Wings”
Anything that flies must be held up by the wind. In “Wind Beneath My Wings” the wind represents a supportive force. In comparing a person to that wind, it is saying that is a strong person that you can lean on, someone you depend on for support. Who is there who cannot relate to these lyrics? We all need someone we can lean on.
Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley wrote “Wind Beneath My Wings” in 1982. Various artists recorded the song, but the most popular version was the 1988 version by singer and actress Bette Midler for the soundtrack to the film Beaches. It was released as a single in early 1989, spent a week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in June 1989. The song won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1990.
Did you ever know that you're my hero?
You're everything I wish I could be.
I could fly higher than an eagle,
For you are the wind beneath my wings."
— Bette Midler – “Wind Beneath My Wings”
5. Seals and Kroft – "Summer Breeze"
I love this song, especially the line “Blowin’ through the jasmine in my mind.” It evokes such strong memories of summer. Smells are strongly linked to memories. Just think of how the scent of apple pie might take you back to your grandma’s kitchen. If you have ever had jasmine growing near your home, you will know what a strong and distinctive scent it has. For me that smell brings back wonderful images.
Summer Breeze is the fourth album by Seals and Crofts, released in 1972. They released the title cut as a single, and it peaked at #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart and #6 on the Pop chart.
Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind"
— Seals and Kroft – "Summer Breeze"
6. Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band – “Against the Wind”
In the song “Against the Wind,” the wind is something to fight against. If you are running against the wind, you are pushing against a force that is trying to hold you back. It is kind of like fighting an uphill battle. It is the opposite of having the wind in your sails. If you are young and strong, you have a better chance of being successful in running against the wind.
“Against the Wind" is a song by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band from their 1980 album Against the Wind. The song was released as the second single from the album; it peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Glenn Frey and Don Henley sang background vocals.
And the secrets that we shared
Mountains that we moved
Caught like a wildfire out of control
'Til there was nothing left to burn and nothing left to prove"
— Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band – “Against the Wind”
7. Fleetwood Mac – “The Chain”
"The Chain" is a song by Fleetwood Mac, released on their 1977 album Rumours. It is credited to all five members of the band (Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood).
It came at a troubled time in the band’s relationship. It is made up of bits and pieces of other things the various members were working on. The chain represents the force that is holding them together. Perhaps the wind blowing is the noise and static that is trying to push them apart.
Listen to the wind blow, watch the sun rise
Running in the shadows, damn your love, damn your lies"
— Fleetwood Mac – “The Chain”
8. Neil Young – “Four Strong Winds”
Ian Tyson wrote "Four Strong Winds" in the early 1960's. Ian and Sylvia recorded it first in 1964. Many other artists have covered the song.
Neil Young included the song on his 1978 album Comes a Time, with harmony vocals from Nicolette Larson. It has become part of Young's concert repertoire.
The song is about a lost relationship. The singer seem to be as odds with himself. On the one hand, he wishes they could have another go at things, but also he puts up barriers to any chance of that happening. The four strong winds are blowing them apart, and that’s just too powerful for them to fight.
If I get there before the snow flies, and if things are looking good
You could meet me if I sent you down the fare
But by then it would be winter, not too much for you to do
And those winds sure can blow cold way out there”
— Neil Young – “Four Strong Winds”
9. Sam Cooke: – "They Call the Wind Maria”
Alan J. Lerner wrote the lyrics and Frederick Loewe wrote the music for "They Call the Wind Maria." for their 1951 Broadway musical, Paint Your Wagon. The story was set in the California gold rush. It is a sad and wistful song with a cowboy flavor. It is a song of longing; a song about the miners missing the women they left behind.
The wind way out west seems to be a sound that the singer associates with his separation from his girl. Maybe just the sound of it makes him feel lonelier.
The name Maria has an unusual pronunciation in the song, more like Mariah.
Now before I knew Maria's name
And heard her wail and whining
I had a girl and she had me
And the sun was always shining"
— Sam Cooke: – "They Call the Wind Maria”
10. Bob Dylan – “Idiot Wind”
“Idiot Wind” is a song written and performed by Bob Dylan, it appeared on his 1975 album Blood on the Tracks.
It’s so hard to ever know what Dylan’s songs really mean, and he is usually not helpful in clarifying his intent. According to him, this is just a piece of art, like a painting.
There is some very vivid and disturbing imagery in this song. Most people think it is at least in part about the end of his marriage to Sara.
It starts out with anger and lashing out, and in the refrain “You’re an idiot babe.” By the end of the song, he accepts that it is as much his fault as hers. In the final refrain, they are both idiots.
Idiot wind, blowing through the buttons of our coats,
Blowing through the letters that we wrote.
Idiot wind, blowing through the dust upon our shelves,
We're idiots, babe.
It's a wonder we can even feed ourselves."
— Bob Dylan – “Idiot Wind”
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 08, 2018:
I love this playlist, Sherry. All great songs by some of my favorite artists.
Sherry Hewins (author) from Sierra Foothills, CA on November 05, 2018:
Thanks Pat Mills. All great songs
Pat Mills from East Chicago, Indiana on November 05, 2018:
Other good ones include Catch The Wind by Donovan and Dead End Street by Lou Rawls. Another great wind song from Young is Like A Hurricane.