When it comes to songs about wind, many songwriters have mined the subject for metaphors and similes that make the wind so much more than the background noise of a nature hike. Of course, some talk about actual windy days too. Here are the best songs about wind ever.
1. Blowin’ in the Wind by Bob Dylan
Song Year: 1963
Though Bob Dylan’s song catalog is enormous, Blowin’ In the Wind might be the most iconic one. Dylan uses wind as a metaphor in the song, posing questions related to the uneasy state of the world in the 1960s. The wind is where the answers to society’s issues can be found. The idea is that solutions are simple and natural. We just have to look for them.
2. Candle in the Wind by Elton John
Song Year: 1974
Candle in the Wind was supposed to be the next single from Elton John’s smash-hit album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. But his next effort, Caribou, was ready for release, and Goodbye had already spawned hits with its title track and Bennie and the Jets, so the record label decided to release a new album rather than another single.
That’s too bad, because Candle in the Wind is a beautiful tribute to the fragility of life, especially when viewed through the lens of the cautionary tale that was the life of Marilyn Monroe, the song’s subject.
Following the death of Princess Diana, Sir Elton rerecorded it as Goodbye England’s Rose, which hit number one globally and sold 33 million copies.
3. Dust in the Wind by Kansas
Song Year: 1978
Inspired by a Bible verse from the Old Testament, Dust in the Wind is a beautiful piece of music. Its lyrics are kind of a bummer, but it’s very pretty.
Kansas guitarist Kerry Livgren wrote the song almost accidentally, as he was just trying to create a fingering exercise for his own guitar practice. The song was vastly different from other Kansas material, but it worked, as Dust in the Wind would be the band’s only Top Ten hit.
4. The Wind Cries Mary by Jimi Hendrix
Song Year: 1967
After an argument with his girlfriend Kathy (the same woman who inspired Fire), Jimi Hendrix wrote The Wind Cries Mary perhaps as an apology. The surrealist lyrics take some unpacking, but overall, they presage loss, as if Hendrix was afraid Kathy was gone for good.
The album version we hear was introduced to the band and fully recorded in 20 minutes of downtime at the studio.
5. Against the Wind by Bob Seger
Song Year: 1980
Bob Seger ran cross-country in high school, and those days of training brought him the idea at the root of Against the Wind. The song is about getting older and watching things change, but it was inspired by those days when, in training, Seger would find himself running against the wind, which made the run more difficult than when the wind was at his back.
As our lives move forward, there are external forces— metaphorical wind— pushing against us. The things that we really want are things we have to work for. And we have to work against those forces.
6. Wind Of Change by Scorpions
Song Year: 1990
As the Soviet Union was nearing collapse and the Berlin Wall had fallen, the world was rapidly changing in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Scorpions’ frontman Klaus Meine, while spending time in Moscow, penned Wind of Change to comment on the social upheaval that would characterize the end of the second millennium.
The German-based band gave the world a power ballad that remains one of the best-selling singles of all time and holds the honor of being the biggest single ever from a German act.
7. Colors of the Wind by Vanessa Williams
Song Year: 1995
Written by Alan Menken for Disney’s Pocahontas, Colors of the Wind is a song inspired by the writings of Chief Seattle. It plays over the film’s closing credits and offers advice to everyone to pay attention to the world around them.
The interconnected nature of the world ties us all together, whether our fate is to flourish or drive ourselves to extinction.
8. Four Strong Winds by Neil Young
Song Year: 1978
Folk singer Ian Tyson wrote Four String Winds in the 1960s for his own folk act Ian and Sylvia. Neil Young recorded it more than a decade later, and it has since become a staple of his live shows.
The winds in the title are the north, south, east, and west winds— things that never change, along with the seven seas. But for the narrator, everything else changes and eventually ends. In this case, his and his girl’s relationship has ended. He refers to trying to rekindle things, but he seems resigned that that won’t happen.
9. Easy Wind by The Grateful Dead
Song Year: 1970
Easy Wind is about a regular Joe working man knocking about the country working, drinking, and whoring. It’s not a song for kids.
It also almost doesn’t fit on Workingman’s Dead, the album that contained it. The other songs are gentler, less in-your-face, but the narrator character in this song might just be the exact workingman in the album’s title. He does, after all, have some Everyman qualities.
10. Ride Like the Wind by Christopher Cross
Song Year: 1980
Using simile, Christopher Cross conveys the sense of urgency felt by the protagonist in Ride Like the Wind. As a wanted criminal, he’s fleeing from (probably) a posse, and he understands that speed is of the essence.
On top of the posse on his trail, he is far from his destination of the Mexican border, the crossing of which will put him out of reach of the lawmen who want to bring him to justice.
A quintessential example of yacht rock, Ride Like the Wind made it all the way to number two. Not bad for a debut single.
11. Ride the Wild Wind by Queen
Song Year: 1991
Queen drummer Roger Taylor wrote Ride the Wild Wind as another tribute to how much he loves cars. The other Taylor-penned piece about cars was I’m in Love with My Car, the B-side to Bohemian Rhapsody.
The lyrics alternate between talking about a whirlwind and a wild wind. Riding either one usually connotes a dangerous undertaking, and with the sounds of an Audi revving in the background, the assumption is that this is a song about driving a fast car.
12. Winter Winds by Mumford and Sons
Song Year: 2009
The narrator in Winter Winds is torn between doing what’s probably best for him and what he wants. Winter represents the end of things very often, and that’s the case here, too. The relationship the narrator sings about is on the rocks, but he understands a few things about it:
- She’s working hard to keep things together.
- He isn’t.
- And he isn’t because he doesn’t know if this is what he wants, even though he recognizes that this relationship is good for him.
The heart wants what the heart wants. And sometimes it doesn’t want what it doesn’t want.
13. Wild is the Wind by David Bowie
Song Year: 1976
While Johnny Mathis recorded Wild is the Wind as the title track of the 1957 film, and Nina Simone recorded it a couple of different times, David Bowie’s version is haunting, if for no other reason than his resounding baritone voice stretching notes out and occasionally flipping into an unexpected falsetto.
The gist of the song is that the speaker loves his partner with the intensity, unwaveringness, and unpredictability of the wind. Since wind is such a vital part of how our environment functions, it’s an archetypal comparison.
14. They Call the Wind Maria by Harve Presnell
Song Year: 1969
Paint Your Wagon was a Lerner & Loewe show that debuted on Broadway in 1951. It was a show about the Gold Rush, and it was a big hit. In 1969, when Paramount Pictures made a film version (featuring a singing Clint Eastwood), They Call the Wind Maria, sung by Harve Presnell, who was decidedly NOT the star of the film, stole the whole thing.
The ballad is a melancholy meditation on missing a loved one, something all the miners would have experienced as they left their friends and families behind to find fortune out west.
15. Summer Breeze by Seals & Crofts
Song Year: 1972
Before we seemed to choose a Song of the Summer every year, Summer Breeze was something of the default every year for decades.
The song’s easy-going feeling makes it a yacht rock staple that helps the wistful longing of the song not sting quite so much. With each breath of the summer wind, the narrator thinks back on good times from past summers that are long over.
16. The Wind by Mariah Carey
Song Year: 1991
The laid-back jazz chords that open The Wind telegraph the song’s roots, as it began life as a jazz instrumental piece on a Keith Jarrett album from the 1950s.
In the lyrics that Mariah Carey wrote for her version of it, she uses the wind as a metaphor for both time and tragedy, as that wind has taken away a friend who was killed in a car wreck. There is longing and regret in the singer’s hope that the friend knew how much Carey loved her.
17. The Wind Blows by The All-American Rejects
Song Year: 2008
The recurring promise in The Wind Blows is that the speaker will leave the relationship the next time the wind blows, which seems to indicate that, no matter what, this coupling will end.
Not every love story ends in screaming matches and dramatic exits. Sometimes they just end because they have run their course.
18. Idiot Wind by Bob Dylan
Song Year: 1975
Bob Dylan’s lyrics often shine a light on people behaving badly, and sometimes those people make up all of society. In Idiot Wind, he does that, because he also shines the same light on himself.
The idiot wind in question is a metaphorical wind that seems to blow stupid into all of us as we seem to be actively trying to burn down civilization and the planet on which it’s situated.
Including himself in the mix, Dylan seems to argue that we’re all responsible for the bad things in the world, but by the same token, we can all effect change.
19. Watch the Wind Blow By Tim McGraw
Song Year: 2003
Written by singer-songwriter Anders Osborne, Watch the Wind Blow by Tim McGraw is a number-one country hit. In addition to its catchy melody and easy feeling, the song may have grabbed the public’s attention because it’s about relaxing.
To sit and watch the wind blow is, essentially, to do nothing. Anyone who’s spent a lazy Saturday with a significant other can attest to how nice that can be.
20. She’s Like The Wind by Patrick Swayze ft. Wendy Fraser
Song Year: 1987
Patrick Swayze not only delivered the worst line in all of cinematic history in 1987’s Dirty Dancing (Nobody puts Baby in a corner), but he also contributed music to the soundtrack. He co-wrote She’s Like the Wind for a 1984 film that ended up not using it, but the producers of Dirty Dancing liked it and included it in the soundtrack.
Just exactly how she’s like the wind remains a mystery, but the song was a worldwide top-ten hit, and for some reason, it charted in Sweden in 2009. Okay, that probably had to do with Swayze dying that year.
21. Hickory Wind by The Byrds
Song Year: 1968
When Gram Parsons joined The Byrds, he quickly started bringing his love of country music into what the band was doing. That may not be on display any better than in Hickory Wind, which has come to be Parsons’ signature song.
In the song, the hickory wind represents the narrator’s youth, back when life was simple and innocent. He tends to think back on that wind— its smell and how it felt— when life starts to get complicated.
22. The Wind By Zac Brown Band
Song Year: 2012
Songwriter Wyatt Durrette co-wrote The Wind with Zac Brown, creating a heartbreaking set of lyrics that are hidden in plain sight over a rollicking bluegrass instrumentation.
The members of Zac Brown Band have some chops, and they’re on display here, but for all the lightning-fast licks, the lyrics tell of a man who’s lost his love and will gladly go back to her if only given the chance.
23. Hasten Down the Wind by Warren Zevon
Song Year: 1976
When someone has a restless heart, you can never possess all of it. They can’t give it all to you, and that restless part will always buck up against the rest of it, no matter how much the owner wants to stay.
That’s what the narrator of Hasten Down the Wind deals with. He’s in love with someone who just can’t commit to sticking around. She feels like she needs to be free, and we all know what that means.
24. Seminole Wind by John Anderson
Song Year: 1992
It’s hard to imagine, in our polarized, red-or-blue world these days, a country singer singing about preserving the environment, but that’s what John Anderson does in Seminole Wind. He sings about Florida lands, once home to noble native tribes. The spirits of those Seminoles, in the song, cry out against the abuse of the land and overuse of resources.
Seriously, 30 years later, can you imagine a mainstream country artist embracing such a message?
25. Riding on the Wind by Judas Priest
Song Year: 1982
Riding on the Wind is about speed and power. Whether frontman Rob Halford is singing about riding on a motorcycle or a lightning bolt is anyone’s guess. Either way, the wind he’s riding on is fast, man.
26. Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler
Song Year: 1989
It wasn’t enough for Bette Midler to star in the tear-jerker Beaches with Debra Winger. No, she had to go and sing something for the soundtrack. And since she’s Bette Midler, it couldn’t just be a throwaway song. No way. It had to be something that would become a global smash.
The wind in question is the support we get from our loved ones, and though the song wasn’t written by or for the Divine Miss M., she made it her own and has turned it into her signature song. Can you imagine anyone else singing this one? The word you’re looking for is no.
27. Summer Wind By Frank Sinatra
Song Year: 1965
Frank Sinatra had a commanding presence about him that made people sit up and listen, and the velvet voice helped with that. Summer Wind, when sung by Wayne Newton, made it all the way to number 78 on the Billboard charts in 1965. Sinatra went into the studio a year later and made it a number-one hit.
It’s a wistful song about the waning days of a love affair, and the wind felt in the summer represents those happier days when things were going well for the pair.
28. The Wind By Cat Stevens
Song Year: 1971
Cat Stevens has followed his own path throughout life, and that’s a sentiment present in The Wind. Stevens sings about being blown around on his journey through the world, but he’s not as aimless as that might make him seem.
Instead, the wind that’s blowing him here and there is the wind inside his soul, so in a way, he’s guiding himself to whatever destination he is reaching for.
29. Catch the Wind by Donovan
Song Year: 1965
Catching the wind is a figure of speech used to describe absolute futility. In Donovan’s Catch the Wind, he sings about wanting a specific woman to be with him, to hold his hand, to walk with him, and to love him, but he avers that he’d have an easier time catching the wind. Because apparently, she’s not having any of it.
Top Songs About Wind, Final Thoughts
Songs about wind can bring some powerful imagery to a songwriter’s creation. In these songs, we see some lovely uses of the wind in storytelling. Did we leave off your favorite song about wind?