Wild Is the Wind (song)

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"Wild Is the Wind" is a song written by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington for the 1957 film Wild Is the Wind. Johnny Mathis recorded the song for the film and released it as a single in November 1957. Mathis' version reached No. 22 on the Billboard chart. It was nominated for an Academy Award.[1]

The song has been recorded many times, by many performers. The best known versions are one by Nina Simone in 1966, and one by David Bowie released in 1976/1981 as a tribute to Simone.[2]

Johnny Mathis[edit]

Mathis recorded the song with a flexible sense of meter, rushing some words as if they were speech.[3] At the 30th Academy Awards in 1958, Mathis performed the song live.

Nina Simone[edit]

Nina Simone first recorded "Wild Is the Wind" live in 1959, this version appearing on the album Nina Simone at Town Hall. Her most famous interpretation of the song was a studio recording released on the compilation album Wild Is the Wind (1966), made of songs recorded for two earlier album projects. Simone reworked the song with slow, sparse instrumentation, stretching the vocal delivery to express soulful, hopeless loss.[4][5] Simone's 1966 version appeared on the trailer for the 2008 movie Revolutionary Road. In November 2013 the song reached number 6 on Billboard's Digital Jazz chart.[6]

David Bowie[edit]

"Wild Is the Wind"
Bowie WildIsTheWind.jpg
Single by David Bowie
from the album Station to Station and Changestwobowie
B-side"Golden Years"
ReleasedJanuary 23, 1976 (album)
November 1981 (single)
Format7" single
RecordedSeptember – November 1975
StudioCherokee, Los Angeles
Length3:34 (Music video)
5:58 (album version)
BOW 10
David Bowie singles chronology
"Under Pressure"
"Wild Is the Wind"
"'Baal (EP)'"

David Bowie recorded a version of "Wild Is the Wind" for his 1976 album Station to Station. Bowie was an admirer of Simone’s style, and after meeting her in Los Angeles in 1975, he was inspired to record the song for his album. Bowie later said that Simone's version "really affected me... I recorded it as an hommage to Nina."[2] This was the only cover song released by Bowie during this period of his career; he wrote or co-wrote the other songs on his albums.[3]

Bowie took special care with the contemporary rock arrangement and production of "Wild Is the Wind", committing to an emotional and romantic vocal performance, the words drawn out more slowly and with a greater sense of loss, following the 1966 Simone version rather than the Mathis original.[3]

Promotional video[edit]

To promote the 1981 compilation album Changestwobowie, a black and white promotional video was made, directed by David Mallet. It featured Bowie and four musicians miming to the studio recording, including Tony Visconti (double bass), Coco Schwab (guitar), Mel Gaynor (drums), and Andy Hamilton (saxophone). The black backdrop and stark lighting reproduced the style of Bowie's Isolar – 1976 Tour.[7]

1976 production credits[edit]


Bowie live[edit]

Bowie performed the song during his June 2000 Mini Tour. A live recording from the BBC Radio Theatre, London, on June 27, 2000, was released on a bonus disc accompanying the first release of Bowie at the Beeb in 2000. A performance on June 23, 2000 was recorded for Channel 4's TFI Friday. Bowie's performance of the song, as his opening number, at the Glastonbury Festival on June 25, 2000, was released in 2018 on Glastonbury 2000.

Bowie also performed the song with Mike Garson on piano for the Black Ball charity concert in New York in November 2006; the concert was Bowie's final stage performance.[8]

Other versions and usage[edit]


  1. ^ https://www.oscars.org/oscars/ceremonies/1958
  2. ^ a b Pegg 2011, p. 278.
  3. ^ a b c James E. Perone (2007). The Words and Music of David Bowie. Greenwood. pp. 54–55. ISBN 9780275992453.
  4. ^ https://www.npr.org/2015/07/06/419252433/first-listen-nina-revisited-a-tribute-to-nina-simone
  5. ^ How Nina Simone transformed Wild is the Wind into an enduring ballad - Financial Times (March 6, 2017)
  6. ^ https://www.billboard.com/music/nina-simone/chart-history/JDT/song/802830
  7. ^ Pegg 2011, p. 734.
  8. ^ Pegg 2011, p. 279.
  9. ^ Colin Larkin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Omnibus. p. 36. ISBN 9780857125958.


External links[edit]