Song Of The Day 2/11/2016: Saxon – “Ride Like the Wind”

Quarterly Covers Report – Proof that the boundary between '80s metal and adult contemporary is thinner than corporate-sponsored beer. Once again, I admit that I'm far from a metal habitué (partly because I use words like "habitué"), but I'm led to believe Saxon are no wussies. They ran in as part of the brigade of the British New Wave of Heavy Metal and carry some profound influence over many of their contemporaries. I'm not certain where they fall in the ongoing bona-fide-vs.-poseur discussion group in the abstract metal discussion, but I'm fairly sure owning one of their albums is no cause for embarrassment. Again, metal community, correct me if I'm wrong in your usual even-handed, softly-spoken way.

But one person I think we can safely assume does not have his name writ in the Metal Roll Of Thunder in the pantheon of Valhalla is Christopher Cross, the MOR legend who launched the 1980's with songs like "Sailing" and "Never Be the Same." Cross' first single was "Ride Like the Wind," a provocative tale of a murderous fugitive being carried to freedom on the angel wings of Michael McDonald. It's the least threatening song related to outlaw culture since "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head." But something in its narrative obviously rang true in the hearts of Saxon, as they recreated the number as a pop-metal statement with a music video where the whole band is in prison on charges of appearing bored. Barely dressed models act as sort of a wandering Greek chorus in the video -- perhaps they're phantoms, reminders of the hot nights at Applebee's that await these prisoners upon their escape. Who knows. It's sobering enough just to know that this exists.

(Incredibly, "Ride Like the Wind" had two more heavy metal renditions: One from American band Speeed in 1999, and another from Norwegian singer Jorn just four years ago. Jorn's is probably my favorite of these three versions. He's the most committed.)

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