Monday, 11 January 2016

Bowie Track of the Day - "Wild is the Wind"

From Pushing Ahead Of The Dame blog:
Bowie saw potential for obsessiveness and grandeur in Wild Is the Wind: the essential moodiness of [Dimitri] Tiomkin’s music, with its constant shifts from major to minor, and the desperation in its lyric (“with your kiss my life begins”) deserving of an equally extravagant vocal. He found his inspiration in Nina Simone, who had performed Wild Is the Wind at Carnegie Hall in March 1964. There Simone (who Bowie had met in Los Angeles during his exile) snakes and burrows through the song over seven minutes - where [Johnny] Mathis had sung “my love is like the wind” as though he was reading a greeting card, Simone intends to embody the element for a time.

Bowie seems determined to outdo Simone’s renovations to the vocal: there’s a three-bar tortuous “you-ooo-oooh-ooh kiss me,” he hollows out vowels and elongates consonants into trills of sound (“willlllllllld is the winnnnnnnnnd”), there’s the dramatic plunge into the depths on another “you kiss me,” and Bowie’s final, increasingly manic, repetitions of the title line, the last ending with a sustained high B eventually subsiding to A. The vocal is on such a grandiose scale that no actual human being seems deserving of its efforts - it’s a monumental performance seemingly intended for a monument itself.
It is, and always will be, one of my favourites. It evokes memories of confused sexuality, of love, and of loss:

Love me, love me, love me, say you do
Let me fly away with you
For my love is like the wind, and wild is the wind
Wild is the wind
Give me more than one caress, satisfy this hungriness
Let the wind blow through your heart
For wild is the wind, wild is the wind

You touch me,
I hear the sound of mandolins
You kiss me
With your kiss my life begins
You're spring to me, all things to me
Don't you know, you're life itself!

Like the leaf clings to the tree,
Oh, my darling, cling to me
For we're like creatures of the wind, and wild is the wind
Wild is the wind.

I think it is appropriate to cry.


  1. It's just a heartbreaking performance made all the more touching. I keep playing "Heroes" '....because we're lovers...and that is that.'

    1. "And we kissed,
      as though nothing could fall."

      Heartbreaking performances, indeed. Jx

  2. Fascinating review of an awesome performance.

    1. "Monumental", it certainly was. Jx


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