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).

Fireworks, Full Moons and “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)”

Well, socially it’s a busy time of the year in my neck of the woods and there have been two soirées in the last week alone. Last Tuesday our “across-the-road-neighbours” hosted a Halloween party which was great fun. We all specialise in different kinds of events (I do quiz nights and landmark dates in the calendar) but Halloween belongs to them. Despite being in their late sixties now, their son’s old baby bath is hauled out to enable “dooking for apples”, the garage is given a spooky makeover and all the local kids drop by in their costumes.

Then on Saturday, friends who live across on what is called the Black Isle (it’s not actually an island but it’s bordered on three sides by firths, so almost), asked if we’d like to join them for their local Bonfire Night celebrations. The best bit of the whole night however was that we witnessed the most spectacular full moon I think I’ve ever seen. The picture below is not of that actual moon, as I wasn’t quite on the ball with my camera equipment, but it could well have been.

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Having looked into it a bit more it was called the Frost Moon which peaked this year on the 4th November. It is also called the Beaver Moon however, that name coming from the Native Americans as this was the time of year they set their beaver traps to make sure there were enough warm furs ahead of winter. It turns out all full moons have a name which is something I hadn’t realised before and they go as follows:

December – Cold Moon
January – Wolf Moon
February – Snow Moon
March – Worm Moon
April – Pink Moon
May – Flower Moon
June – Strawberry Moon
July – Buck Moon
August – Sturgeon Moon
September – Corn Moon
October – Hunter’s Moon 
November – Beaver Moon

Over the last year I have written about all the landmark dates in the ancient Pagan, or Celtic calendar, but as that cycle is now complete I think I can feel a new series coming on, this time all about moons! But of course Saturday’s moon wasn’t just impressive because it was a full one – Oh no, it was also a “supermoon”, when it comes to that point nearest the Earth. Despite being only about 26,000 miles closer than at other times, it appears around 14% larger and a whopping 30% brighter than usual. I love all this stuff.

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But this is a music blog, so which song came to mind as I wandered along the beach on Saturday night on my way to the bonfire? Perhaps because I have written both about Frank Sinatra and the song Fly Me To The Moon in my last couple of posts, I ended up going down the Rat Pack route, and serenaded our friends with this golden oldie.

“In Napoli where love is king
When boy meets girl, here’s what they say:

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore”

That’s Amore is a song written by Harry Warren and Jack Brooks which became a big hit (and signature song) for Dean Martin in 1953. Funnily enough, I remember it best from the Cher film Moonstruck, where she plays a widowed Italian-American who falls in love with her fiancé’s estranged, hot-tempered younger brother (played by Nicolas Cage). Cher won the Oscar for Best Actress in that one and as I haven’t watched it in years, I think I will now go and seek it out.

But what else comes to mind when I think of songs with the word moon in the title or lyrics. Well, this might be a good time to include something by Christopher Cross in the blog. I have held off as long as possible as it seems that Christopher has unfortunately ended up being attributed to that category of artists who produce what is called soft rock, or even worse yacht rock. Apparently yacht rock relates to the stereotype of the yuppie yacht owner, who enjoys smooth music while out for a sail. Also, since sailing was a popular leisure activity in Southern California, many yacht rockers made nautical references in their lyrics, videos, and album artwork, particularly Sailing by Christopher Cross.

But hey, I have never owned a yacht nor am I ever likely to, but I still warm to the melodic tones of Mr Cross and always enjoy that romantic line from his Academy award winning song Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)If you get caught between the Moon and New York City, the best that you can do is fall in love”.

Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do) by Christopher Cross:

It is no surprise really that I have always liked this song as it was written by Burt Bacharach (amongst others) for the 1981 film Arthur starring our own Dudley Moore. Burt’s song Wives and Lovers featured in my last post so definitely on a Frank and Burt roll at the moment it seems. What I have just discovered however is that the line about getting caught between the moon and New York City was inspired not by a romantic encounter but because one of the credited songwriters, Peter Allen, got stuck in a holding pattern waiting to land at JFK airport in New York several years earlier. Oh well, best not to know sometimes how these memorable lines came to pass.

So, “What’s It All About?” – I seem to have a new series on my hands! (Yes, I know I have a few others in progress but I will make time for them too, promise.) There are certainly many, many songs that mention the word “moon” in the title but which are your favourites?

In December, all being well we will witness the Cold Moon, that name again from the Native Americans as it was associated with the month when winter cold fastens its grip and the nights become long and dark. Any suggestions for songs therefore that relate to both the moon, and to the cold grip of winter, gratefully received. I will get my thinking cap on myself before that date and apologies that I couldn’t muster up anything this time that related both to the moon, and to beavers – Might have been a stretch?!

Until next time….

Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do) Lyrics
(Song by Burt Bacharach/Carole Bayer Sager/Christopher Cross/Peter Allen)

Once in your life you find her
Someone that turns your heart around
And next thing you know you’re closing down the town
Wake up and it’s still with you
Even though you left her way across town
Wondering to yourself, “Hey, what’ve I found?”

When you get caught between the Moon and New York City
I know it’s crazy, but it’s true
If you get caught between the Moon and New York City
The best that you can do,
The best that you can do is fall in love

Arthur he does as he pleases
All of his life, he’s mastered choice
Deep in his heart, he’s just, he’s just a boy
Living his life one day at a time
And showing himself a really good time
Laughing about the way they want him to be

When you get caught between the Moon and New York City
I know it’s crazy, but it’s true
If you get caught between the Moon and New York City
The best that you can do,
The best that you can do is fall in love

Postscript:

Out of interest here are a few pictures from the display we went along to on Saturday night – The fireworks were indeed spectacular but not quite as spectacular as that amazing full moon reflected on the water of the firth. Very special indeed.

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