Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band - Against the Wind (1980)
- 80's score: 1.26
"Against the Wind" is a song recorded by the American singer-songwriter Bob Seger for his eleventh studio album of the same ...
"Against the Wind" is a song recorded by the American singer-songwriter Bob Seger for his eleventh studio album of the same name. It was released as the second single from the album in April 1980 through Capitol Records. Seger recorded the ballad during a two-year process that begat his eleventh album; it was recorded with producer Bill Szymczyk at Criteria Studios in north Miami, Florida. Sonically, "Against the Wind" is a mid-tempo soft rock tune with piano backing. It was recorded with Seger's Silver Bullet Band, and features backing vocals from Eagles co-frontman Glenn Frey.
"Against the Wind" explores the space between care and indifference from friends and loved ones. It centers on maturation and memories, like many other Seger songs, and carries a tender, mellow tone. Seger pulled from his high school years as a cross-country runner to form the song's title–a metaphor for growing old. "Against the Wind" became one of Seger's most successful singles, reaching number five on the Billboard Hot 100. It also charted in Canada, Australia, and Belgium. It received high marks from music critics, with many praising Seger's songwriting. The song has been celebrated by generations of contemporary country artists, with covers ranging from Garth Brooks to Brooks & Dunn.
Rolling Stone critic Dave Marsh stated in his review of the Against the Wind album that none of the ballads (including the title track) contained any memorable lines, but he later amended that to acknowledge that the lines "Well, those drifter's days are past me now/I've so much more to think about/Deadlines and commitments/What to leave in/What to leave out" are not only memorable but also haunting in the way Seger "haltingly expresses his indecisiveness." Hilburn at the Los Angeles Times praised Seger's " timeless, often graceful Everyman edge" he lends to "Against the Wind" and its "tension between the idealism that searches and the pitfalls in realizing the dreams."
A Rolling Stone reader's poll ranked "Against the Wind" as the third-best Seger tune.
"Against the Wind" has remained one of Seger's most popular songs; upon his arrival to streaming services in 2017, it ranked his second-most streamed song, behind "Night Moves". "Against the Wind" was famously used in a scene of the 1994 film Forrest Gump, where the main character walks across the U.S.; it was included on its accompanying soundtrack album.
"Against the Wind" has been celebrated by generations of contemporary country artists. Toby Keith's 1994 single "Wish I Didn't Know Now" borrows a lyric from "Against the Wind". Brooks & Dunn performed a cover of the song in 1999 that charted at number 55 on the Hot Country Songs charts based on unsolicited airplay. Of the duo, Ronnie Dunn called it one of the songs that shaped his taste, and suggested it influenced "This is one of those songs that, lyrically, we tried to write at the end of the Nineties. We were just taking Seger's era of rock and applying it to what we were doing in country at the time." Later stars, like Jason Aldean, offered similar remarks: "You listen to a song like 'Against the Wind' and you’re hanging on every word of the thing. You can’t help but be drawn into it." Vince Gill, who singled out "Against the Wind" as a composition he felt rivaled the work of Lennon-McCartney or Paul Simon. Garth Brooks recorded a cover of the song for a 2016 box set, as did The Highwaymen for their debut album. Other artists from varying genres have also covered the tune; alternative rock group The Hold Steady released their version of the song on their 2007 extended play, Stuck Between Stations.