Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.
MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: “Windy” was originally written about the hippie boyfriend of the songwriter, with the lyrics re-written by The Association to be about a woman.
The infectious pop classic, “Windy,” was released by the band The Association in 1967 and was a smash hit, going all the way to #1 on the Billboard charts.
The song is about an engaging young woman named Windy, about whom it was sung:
Who’s trippin’ down the streets of the city
smiling at everybody she sees
whose reaching out to capture a moment
everyone knows it’s Windy…
For years, the rumor was that while the character in the song is definitely a woman, that the song initially was written about a MAN, the hippy boyfriend of the songwriter, before the Association changed it.
For example, here’s a quote from the book, Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader
Although the Association sang about a girl named Windy, the song was actually written about a man. The composer was Ruthann Friedman and Windy, her boyfriend, was an original hippie. In that context the lyrics make a lot more sense. Example: he’s “tripping” down the streets of the city.
Is it true?
Friedman has long denied this story. However, she has admittedly been not all together consistent in her description of the story, but one thing she HAS been consistent about is denying that it was about either a boyfriend of hers or about a hippie at all (which, in turn, specifically refutes the whole “it’s ‘tripping’ as in ‘tripping on drugs,’ man!!” interpretation of the song). So I think it’s pretty safe to say that it is not about a hippy and/or her boyfriend at the time.
The most recent version of the story that I have seen came from Songfacts, who Friedman told:
[H]e was another singer/songwriter, and not “a freewheeling Haight Ashbury Hippy” as often reported. Friedman says of the song: “I have heard so many different permutations of what the song was about. Here is the TRUTH. I was sitting on my bed – the apartment on the first floor of David Crosby’s house in Beverly Glenn – and there was a fellow who came to visit and was sitting there staring at me as if he was going to suck the life out of me. So I started to fantasize about what kind of a guy I would like to be with, and that was Windy – a guy (fantasy).
The legend is…
STATUS: Mostly False, With Perhaps Some Truth Mixed In
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