"Ride Like The Wind" is a song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Christopher Cross. It was released in February 1980 as the lead single from his Grammy-winning self-titled debut album. It reached number 2 on the U.S. charts, behind Blondie's "Call Me." On the album's inner sleeve, Christopher Cross dedicated this song to Lowell George, formerly of the band Little Feat, who had died in 1979. It features backing vocals by Michael McDonald and a guitar solo by Cross.
According to an interview by Guitar 2001 Magazine, guitarist Eric Johnson performed on "Ride Like the Wind," but his contributions were not included in the final version.
This Soft Rock classic tells the story of a condemned man on the run to Mexico. The storyline is one not often heard on Adult Contemporary radio, but the precise instrumentation and soaring background vocals, which were provided by Michael McDonald, helped make the song a big hit.
The story told in the lyrics, according to Cross himself, is "sort of a romanticized Western where the bad guy gets away." Told from a first-person point of view, it describes how an outlaw and convicted multiple murderer, on the run from a death-by-hanging sentence, has to "ride like the wind" to reach "the border of Mexico," where, presumably, the posse apparently in pursuit of him will not be able to reach him. Cross is Texan, and the narrator, presumably, drew his death-by-hanging sentence from a criminal court in Texas, where hanging was then a permissible method of execution of convicted criminals who had been sentenced to death.
Christopher Cross was on acid when he wrote the lyrics. "We were living in Houston at the time, and on the way down to Austin to record the songs, it was just a beautiful Texas day," he told us. "I took acid. So I wrote the words on the way down from Houston to Austin on acid."
In 1999, the satirical newspaper The Onion published a story with the headline, "Christopher Cross Finally Reaches Mexican Border," which was a reference to this song. Cross appreciated the honor.
In 1991, Italian dance music group East Side Beat remixed "Ride Like The Wind" in a style typical of early 1990s dance music. There are five remixes in total. Two versions are found on the 7" single and an additional three are on the CD single.
Belgian DJ Laurent Wéry released a cover version of the song, the song features vocals from Joss Mendosah. The song was produced by Laurent Wery. It was released in Belgium as a digital download on March 30, 2013. The song has peaked to number 26 in Belgium