Every #1 Country Single of the Nineties: John Anderson, “Seminole Wind”

“Seminole Wind”

John Anderson

Written by John Anderson

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

October 23, 1992

An environmentalist’s plea becomes John Anderson’s most acclaimed hit single.

The Road to No. 1

Following his comeback No. 1, “Straight Tequila Night,” Anderson returned to the top five with “When it Comes to You,” a Mark Knopfler cover.   BNA then sent the title track of Seminole Wind to radio, and it returned him to the top.

The No. 1

Environmentalist numbers aren’t usually associated with country music, and that’s a bit surprising, given how the genre celebrates rural life and the great outdoors.  When encroachments on either are mourned, the target of ire is usually urbanization and those dastardly city folk.

But maybe country singers are reluctant to go down this road because they’d have a hell of a time topping John Anderson’s “Seminole Wind,” which effortlessly weaves together a narrative of Native American history and his personal ties to their ancestral land with a harrowing look at the tensions between the natural and artificial elements of Florida Everglades topography.

It sounds like a tiresome political science lecture described like that, but it’s anything but that as a record. It’s a soaring, gorgeously melodic song that fully capitalizes on the idiosyncratic features of Anderson’s unique vocal style.  Effective use of piano and fiddle heighten the emotional impact, but it’s Anderson’s performance that shines the brightest.

The Road From No. 1

“Seminole Wind” earned CMA nominations for Song and Music Video of the Year in 1993, along with a nod for Anderson in the Male Vocalist race.  These were his first CMA nominations in nine years.  Seminole Wind went on to sell over two million copies, producing another top ten hit – “Let Go of the Stone” – before Anderson moved on to his next album, Solid Ground.  The lead single would be his final No. 1 single.  We’ll cover it when we get to 1993.

“Seminole Wind” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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  1. I love this song (there was a great video with it) and I would place it among Anderson’s very best endeavors, certainly in his top five. For reasons I don’t understand, this song only reached #2 on Billboard’s country chart. This song got so much airplay in Central Florida that I almost tired of the song

  2. Another ultimate classic from John Anderson’s early 90’s comeback period! I echo Leeann all the way that one of the greatest things about the 90’s, especially the early 90’s, was that songs like this could actually become big hits. I even once read in Country Music Magazine that John had no intentions whatsoever of having a radio hit or even recording it when he wrote this one. He just simply wanted to write a song about where he came from and what was going on down there. It was his producer who told him he must record it. This song was such a perfect fit for Anderson’s unique voice, and I’ve always loved the beautiful haunting fiddle parts. One thing I’ve always noticed about many of his 90’s recordings is the excellent fiddle playing featured. Even both intro and closing of this song with the piano and fiddle is so cool!

    Even as a little kid back then, I remember thinking this was one of the coolest songs on the radio at the time, along with “Midnight In Montgomery.” This has always been one of my dad’s favorite songs, as well, and it’s one of the ones he remembered hearing most often while he was working graveyard shift in the Fall of ’92. He always really enjoyed the video, too, when it came on CMT. I even remember my step dad singing along to the line “I heard the ghost of Osceola cry” when it was on the radio while I was in the car with him. It also makes an appearance on one of my favorite tapes that I recorded in early ’93.

    This one pretty much stayed a steady recurrent on the radio for us throughout the rest of the decade, and I remember still hearing it a lot when I was getting back into listening to country radio in the mid 90’s.

    It’s too bad “Let Go Of The Stone” didn’t also go number one, because I absolutely love that one, too!

  3. This song is a perfect example of the political ecumenicalism that was in place in the early nineties that is all but unimaginable in today’s mainstream country.

    It is too easy to forget the generous spirit that ruled Nashville, often celebrating great songs and great vocals on their own merits.

    In the case of this classic song, a phenomenal lyric is brilliantly served by one of the genre’s most distinctive, emotive vocalists.

    Jamie,”Let Go of the Stone” is perhaps my favourite Anderson cut. I absolutely love that song.

  4. Leeann and Jamie, staying with the stone metaphor, check out George Jones’ “Tied To a Stone” from his 1996 album “I Lived To Tell It All.”

  5. That’s a great song! Thanks for the recommendation, Peter. :) Just added it to one of my favorite Spotify playlists. I also noticed in the credits that it was co-written by Vince Gill along with Max D. Barnes who also wrote the John Anderson song. Pretty neat!

    Anyway, back to this song, I just recently remembered that back when it first came out, I used to think he was saying “Blow, blow seven old wind.” lol!

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