FREE AGAIN…!, Christopher Cross and ‘Ride Like The Wind’

I’ve been a bit of a part-time blogger of late because my college course has been taking up most of my spare time. The last assessment has now been submitted however, so as of this week, I’M FREE AGAIN…

but I don’t have to ride like the wind,

I don’t have a long way to go,

and I don’t have to make it to the border of Mexico…, to be free again. Phew.

Cue Christopher Cross from 1980, with Ride Like The Wind.

Ride Like The Wind by Christopher Cross:


Well, I genuinely didn’t intend to revisit Christopher’s song when I sat down to blog today, but as soon as I’d typed those words about being free again, as happens with predictive text on our phones, the rest of the the lyrics jumped into my head. I can’t remember what I did yesterday but I can remember all the words to a song from over 40 years ago that only reached the No. 69 spot on the UK Singles Chart. To be fair it gets quite a bit of airplay on some of the mainstream radio stations and it also popped up on the soundtrack to a film I went to see last week…, so that could explain why the predictive lyrics popped into my head.

My Last Thursday of the Month Film Club is getting back on track and last week we went to see The Phantom of the Open starring Mark Rylance. I come from a sport-loving family so all through my childhood and teenage years I had a fairly good knowledge of what was happening in the world of sport – The Olympics, The World Cup, Wimbledon and golf’s British Open were all watched in our house. For some reason however, I didn’t remember the name Maurice Flitcroft, the non-golfer who somehow blagged his way into the 1976 British Open. It could never happen in today’s world, but back then the administration behind these big competitions was a lot more analogue, and ‘players’ like Maurice could slip through the net. It was a really enjoyable watch, very funny in places, but it also had a lot of heart. The soundtrack was chock full of ’70s and ’80s songs I knew well, and to accompany one of Maurice’s flights from the fairway whilst being chased by officials, they used Ride Like The Wind (had Maurice and his caddy son been in a buggy it would have made even more sense, but it still worked with them on foot).


Christopher Cross has appeared around here before when his song about being caught between the moon and New York city featured in my Full Moon In Song series. Back then I mentioned that Christopher had been pigeon-holed as a proponent of Yacht Rock, a sub-genre of Soft Rock which sadly was poked fun at back in the day. Anyone who visits this place regularly will know I don’t have a problem with soft rock at all, but of course I am conscious that such fodder might not fit the sidebars of some of the serious music blogs I have very kindly been added to. Hope we are a broad enough church around here to accept all comers and that I don’t sully your ‘cool’ blogs with my post titles.

It was Christopher’s song Sailing that led the pack when it came to having yacht rock credentials. Such music apparently related to the stereotype of the yuppie yacht owner, who enjoyed smooth music while out for a sail. Since sailing was a popular leisure activity in Southern California, many yacht rockers deliberately made nautical references in their lyrics, videos, and album artwork. Ride Like The Wind on the other hand, was inspired by the cowboy movies Christopher grew up with. He came from San Antonio near Mexico so as a kid he always thought of the border as being a place where an outlaw could escape authority, drink and behave in a debauched manner. Cowboy boots and hard liquor rather than designer deck shoes and cocktails with little parasols this time.


So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – If you ever have to take a break from blogging, for whatever reason, it’s quite hard to get back into it again as I think you lose your momentum, and your confidence. In some ways it was a lot easier when I started out as a music blogger as no-one knew about me and few people dropped by. I could revisit whoever I wanted to, without feeling self-conscious about whether they fell into the ‘cool’ camp or not. Anyway, I’m back, and I’ve shared Christopher Cross, someone whose songs I’ve always enjoyed. If I have to be removed from some of the sidebars, so be it (but I hope not).

Something nice that did happen this week was that I got a badge from the WordPress people telling me I had now clocked up over 500,000 views around here. A new one on me and not a landmark I would have spotted had I not received the alert. I may not always be ‘cool’ with my song choices but I must be doing something right.

My badge from the WordPress people

Until next time…

Ride Like The Wind Lyrics
(Song by Christopher Cross)

It is the night
My body’s weak
I’m on the run
No time to sleep

I’ve got to ride
Ride like the wind
To be free again

And I’ve got such a long way to go
To make it to the border of Mexico
So I’ll ride like the wind
Ride like the wind

I was born the son of a lawless man
Always spoke my mind with a gun in my hand
Lived nine lives
Gunned down ten
Gonna ride like the wind

And I’ve got such a long way to go
To make it to the border of Mexico
So I’ll ride like the wind
Ride like the wind

Accused and tried and told to hang
I was nowhere in sight when the church bells rang
Never was the kind to do as I was told
Gonna ride like the wind before I get old

It is the night
My body’s weak
I’m on the run
No time to sleep
I’ve got to ride
Ride like the wind
To be free again

And I’ve got such a long way to go
To make it to the border of Mexico
So I’ll ride like the wind
Ride like the wind

Postscipt:

Another soft rock legend Michael McDonald, ex of the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan can be heard singing backing vocals on Ride Like The Wind.

‘Such a long way to go’ – Yep, that’s his line (immortalised in The Cleveland Show).

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

25 thoughts on “FREE AGAIN…!, Christopher Cross and ‘Ride Like The Wind’”

    1. Hi Neil – Yes I’m always nervous before checking out an artist from that era, in case they are no longer with us. Sounds as if he was hit hard by Covid in 2020 but is back touring again. Good for him.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Being of that age, I never found CC to be legitimate. Ride like the Wind has great lyrics but he sings so ….meh. Mom music. As opposed to Marty Robbins singing El Paso…. Chris Cross…Meh, without an exclamation point, sums him up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not entirely sure what you mean by legitimate but thanks for dropping by with your thoughts Patrick. This was the era of soft rock where the harder edges of pop rock had been softened, and the songs were accompanied by big, lush productions – Personally I loved soft rock but of course it came to be classed as Adult Contemporary which doesn’t always get the credit it deserves. It took me a long time to admit to being a fan of the The Carpenters around here but few would disagree nowadays that their output was anything other than exceptional.

      I read the comments on YouTube that accompanied the video for Ride Like the Wind and nearly everyone had really fond memories of the song and of Christopher Cross himself. Coming of age music for those of us now in late middle age and comforting music that can take away the stresses of the day. Also he was the first person to win all four general field Grammys in one year, a feat not matched until Billie Eilish did the same in 2020.

      BUT his voice is obviously not for you, which I respect. I don’t think anyone would have envisaged him riding like the wind in real life, like an outlaw, but then Bruce Springsteen has never held down a blue-collar job and was Willie Nelson ever a real-life outlaw? Not sure but by a fluke of genetics they perhaps look more the part.

      Thanks again for dropping by.

      Like

  2. Oh Bless you Alyson, you certainly are ‘ doing something right’! As we have said before, we are a similar age and listened to the same music, but your writing around the subject is always so entertaining, as though you’re just having a chat with your readers, and always makes me smile. I’m glad to hear you are reaching the end of your studies, more time for enjoying music then!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Starmoonweaver – I think my style is ‘stream of consciousness’ writing as most of the time I don’t know what I’m going to write about and share when I sit down at my desk. If anyone around the same age reads my posts they will probably recognise the songs and have had shared experiences, so it seems to work well.

      As for my studies, yes, the term is all but finished so I have the summer to do other things – Hopefully there will be more blog posts than there have been of late and I’m going to try and be true to myself a bit more, not worry so much about whether the songs I share are ‘cool’ or not. Watch this space!

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  3. I never found CC to be legitimate – I beg your pardon!
    I’ve seen the trailer to the film.It looks fun.
    Well done on completing your assignment.You can relax now.

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    1. Ha ha, you are not the only CC around here today so don’t panic, no-one is questioning your credentials.

      The film was an unexpected joyful experience. Why I enjoy the random approach we take, some are stinkers but some we would never have picked turn out to be winners.

      It’s been an intense term and I’ve definitely spent what would be classed as full-time hours on it. Now it’s time for the tourist season to start but will be a breeze compared with that last term.

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  4. “It’s quite hard to get back into it again as I think you lose your momentum, and your confidence.”

    Very true. I hope this is the first sign of Spring in the blog world though.

    Keep flying the Yacht Rock flag, Alyson. It takes us back to happier times.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can sometimes see why you (used to) post something daily. It can sometimes feel easier than staring at a blank screen after a break of a month or fortnight, wondering where the heck to start. Not always possible though I know and I hope it’s not the new job that’s making you too busy at the moment. Then again there is good busy and soul-destroying busy – Hope it’s the former.

      Like

    2. As for the yacht rock, I certainly intend to keep the flag flying. Reading the comments below the YouTube clip the song really does take people back to happier, more carefree times.

      Like

  5. Enough of this so-called ‘cool / not cool’ concern! What we like is what we like and if we’re going to use the expression ‘uncool’ then I’d suggest that anyone who isn’t open-minded enough to appreciate and understand the differences between people’s tastes would have to be pretty ‘uncool’ themselves.
    So great to hear that you’ve completed your last assignment and have some well-deserved freedom! A lovely feeling and I hope you can make the most of it. Looking forward to more blog posts from you too (no pressure!) Congrats too on the 500k award – impressive!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, however I sometimes edit my post titles not to include a particular singer’s name as I get embarrassed when I see my latest offering pop up on the sidebars of blogs where such artists would never appear. Good of you all to indulge my sometimes questionable choices. Doesn’t matter how often we reiterate ‘there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure’, there kinda is!

      Yes, such a relief to get that last big assignment in – It’s been quite a term. More time for blogging again. As for the 500k, not such a big deal for people who blog daily, and have been going a long time, but for me as a relative newcomer it felt quite something.

      Like

    1. Thanks – It is quite something for a weekly blog that’s only 6 years old – I was chuffed.

      I did remember that you’d said you liked Ride Like the Wind in a previous post. You are also with me on liking Love Is The Answer by England Dan and John Ford Coley and Guilty by Barbra and Barry so I hoped you’d drop by with affirmation. How can I remember that yet I can’t remember what I did yesterday? Our brains work in strange ways.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations on your several milestones! Both require dedication and hard work, although I would hope the blogging is not so much of a slog. I remember the Chris Cross track from back in the day, and am surprised that it didn’t chart higher, because as you say, it has certainly received some airplay over the decades. Decades?! How is that even possible 😲

    For me, a track with a similar trajectory in the UK is Asia’s ‘Heat of the Moment’ which only made it to #46 but is the group’s signature single. You’ve reminded me of the line “And now you find yourself in ’82, The disco hotspots hold no charm for you” which is 40 years old this year. Jings, stop the clock!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think pretty much every time you drop by with a comment it’s because you are still reeling from the fact something can be from 40 or even 50 years ago, yet it doesn’t feel like that at all. I must admit, I’m with you there Graeme and would like nothing more than to stop the clock too but sadly outwith our control. We can still enjoy revisiting the music of our younger years however and thanks for reminding me of that Asia song as it does pop up on mainstream radio a fair bit but didn’t really bother the charts at all back in the day. I think a lot of these tracks that are being played for middle-aged listeners nowadays come from albums that did well on both sides of the pond but didn’t produce chart hits and appearances on TOTP.

      It’s a long time since a ‘disco hotspot held any charm for me’ and I don’t imagine they are thick on the ground in Orkney!

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    1. Ha ha, I can only feel privileged that a man who has Black Sabbath as their ringtone bothers to drop by this place, but thanks.

      I will have to have to revisit some of the Aberdeen haunts again sometime soon – Always enjoy a trip down Memory Lane to my old stomping ground.

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  7. Congrats, Alyson on reaching your blog milestone and also for your continuing courage to recognize the value in all styles of music. I share your appreciation for Soft Rock/Yacht Rock or whatever else it’s now called. The kids with guitars, that grew up listening to the three ‘Bs’ (Beatles, Bacharach & The Beach Boys)in the mid 60s, formed bands in the late 60s and created some amazing music throughout the 70s. Over here in North America, Sirius XM offers us a full channel entitled ‘Yacht Radio’. The band ‘Toto’, a mainstay on the channel, is made up of the generation of superb session musicians that followed the Wrecking Crew in Los Angeles. Likewise, David Gates and Bread. Great songs played by great musicians. So much music from then to now and it is such a joy to not have to exclude one type because you really like another style. Even Michael Buble gets lucky once in a while with a decent song. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks and it really feels like something for a non-muso such as myself to have had that level of interest. Six years ago I needed an outlet that didn’t involve bothering my real life friends and having picked music as a theme I seem to have made a bunch of new like-minded virtual friends.

      I re-read David Hepworth’s book recently called Uncommon People – He reckoned that the ‘pop era’ ended on New Year’s Eve 1970, when Paul McCartney issued a writ in London to wind up the Beatles. The following day was 1971, and the first day of the ‘rock era’. As you say the bands of the 70s had grown up listening to the 3 Bs but formed a new kind of music.

      You mention Toto – One of my favourite set of lyrics is from their song Africa. Full marks for trying to get the word Serengeti to fit the music. Always makes me smile.

      Like

  8. The first Christopher Cross LP was released right about the time I was starting out as Saturday staff behind the counter of an independent record shop and I vividly recall it selling in absolutely huge quantities over many months, numbers that even top artists could only dream about these days. My other memory is of the three year gap between that first album and the second, ‘Another Page’, by which time I was actually managing my own branch of the same independent record shop chain! These days a three year wait, or even longer, between releases is not uncommon, but back then it felt like an eternity and inevitably, in spite of it selling very respectably, ‘Another Page’ couldn’t possibly hope to live up to the success of its predecessor.

    Congratulations on your award Alyson – it’s richly deserved. Here’s to the next 500k!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great stuff. Anecdotal account of how well his first album did but then how the second didn’t live up to expectation. I read somewhere that the fashion for his kind of music moved on in the three years before the second one but I think the answer is probably a lot simpler, it just wasn’t as good and didn’t have the stand out songs his first one did.

      As for the badge, a silly thing really, but I do get fascinated by the stats we get about such things. Only 14 countries left on my list to get a visitor from – Tuvalu and Vanuatu, your time is up!

      Like

  9. I’ve always liked Ride Like the Wind; in the same way I also like Don’t Pay the Ferryman. Reading your post I can see that this doesn’t make me a bad person.
    ***
    Can I just say not only how much I enjoy your writing, but also your replies in the comments section? (I maybe shouldn’t say this – as it’s probably akin to telling someone you know what their ‘tell’ is) but you open up more (not just personally) and expand on the premise of the original point(s) you’ve made in your piece and show us your workings out. Am I making sense? Probably not. I’ll get my coat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most definitely doesn’t make you a bad person. There’s a lot of us about.

      As for your second comment, yes it makes total sense, and as there have been a lot of comments on this post (not sure why but maybe because I brought up the whole ‘guilty pleasure’ issue again) I’ve been on a roll with my replies. I often wish I could ask for comments first and then write the blog post second, as it’s just so much easier writing in reply to a prompt. Why I like it when I ask for suggestions, like the Woozy With Cider one. Also it’s a lot more relaxed in the comments boxes and I think I forget that it’s public sometimes, as it feels like having a chat with friends down the pub. I have been known to overstep the mark on occasion but hopefully not too often.

      Like

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