Single Stories: The Association, WINDY

Thursday, July 1, 2021

It was, quite literally, the sound of summer 1967. The breezy and psychedelic sunshine pop single by the Association, "Windy." The happy-faced and dreamy tune told the tale of a free-spirited young woman "Who's tripping down the streets of the city/Smilin' at everybody she sees/Who's reachin' out to capture a moment/Everyone knows it's Windy." Released as a single on May 1, 1967, the song's whimsical melodies and angelic vocals dominated the pop radio airwaves, sending the song all the way to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week of July 1, 1967. "Windy" was the biggest song in America for four weeks straight, finally falling to the Doors' "Light My Fire" on July 28 of '67.

The song, about a girl named Windy, was originally about a boy. Songwriter Ruthann Friedman set the record straight with Songfacts: "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 song took about 20 minutes to write."

For the Association, the track was the result of a marathon overnight recording session that turned into something of a party. In order to capture the swirl of vocals that close the tune, producer Bones Howe pulled everyone present in the studio into the vocal booth, including Friedman, vocal arranger Cliff Burroughs, his wife Marylin, band member Jim Yester's wife Jo-Ellen, and more.