♫ The Windmills Of Your Mind ♫

I have played this one only once before, four years ago.  It’s not the first song that comes to mind, but when I hear it, I wonder why it isn’t, for I do love the song!

This was featured in the 1968 Steve McQueen movie The Thomas Crown Affair. Director Norman Jewison wanted a song that sounded like The Beatles Strawberry Fields Forever for a scene where McQueen’s character is flying a glider.

Songwriters Michel Legrand and Marilyn and Alan Bergman wrote this.  Marilyn Bergman explains how the song was born …

“That was an assignment, for a picture called The Thomas Crown Affair. It was a picture about a very wealthy playboy who has been everywhere and done everything, and for a thrill, plans a very complicated bank heist. There was a scene in which he is flying a glider for pleasure while he’s planning the bank heist, and the director shot six- or seven-minutes of him circling in the glider — which is a dream for a songwriter: no dialogue, no sound effects, just a little shoosh of wind. Norman Jewison, the director, wanted a song that exposed no character, that didn’t tell any plot – he just wanted the restlessness and uneasiness of the character underlined. Michel wrote six or seven full melodies, and when we work with him, we write to his melodies, because even though he expresses himself perfectly in English, his French accent is such that things can come out sounding a little like calypso songs! He played us these wonderful melodies, and we agreed to sleep on it. The next morning all three of us had independently chosen this oddball melody, almost baroque in feel. It was the opposite of what we had thought we would have chosen the night before.”

Noel Harrison, son of famed actor Rex Harrison (My Fair Lady) did this song originally for the film, after Andy Williams passed on it.  The song received an Academy Award nomination in 1969.

And then along came Dusty …

That’s Dusty Springfield, who recorded her own version in 1969.  And then came José Feliciano, and the what seems like 100 others!  For tonight, however, I offer Harrison’s and Springfield’s versions only.  If you want the others … Google!

The Windmills of Your Mind
Noel Harrison and/or Dusty Springfield
Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel
Like a snowball down a mountain, or a carnival balloon
Like a carousel that’s turning running rings around the moon
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping past the minutes of its face
And the world is like an apple whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind!
Like a tunnel that you follow to a tunnel of its own
Down a hollow to a cavern where the sun has never shone
Like a door that keeps revolving in a half forgotten dream
Or the ripples from a pebble someone tosses in a stream
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping past the minutes of its face
And the world is like an apple whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind!
Keys that jingle in your pocket, words that jangle in your head
Why did summer go so quickly, was it something that you said?
Lovers walking along a shore and leave their footprints in the sand
Is the sound of distant drumming just the fingers of your hand?
Pictures hanging in a hallway and the fragment of a song
Half remembered names and faces, but to whom do they belong?
When you knew that it was over you were suddenly aware
That the autumn leaves were turning to the color of her hair!
Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel
As the images unwind, like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind!

Songwriters: Marilyn Bergman / Michel Legrand / Alan Bergman
The Windmills of Your Mind lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

16 thoughts on “♫ The Windmills Of Your Mind ♫


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, one song and two completely different interpretations. The song is new to me so I cannot say which one I like better. To me, it is almost two different songs that sound very good in their own way.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jill, it is a good song, but the lyrical quality of the song probably exceeds the music. Both versions are good, but neither really grab my attention, which is unusual for Dusty Springfield. I wanted to like her version more than I did. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perhaps you’re right … you know I just like music based on the sound, and I remember liking this one way back in the day. I’m so sorry you were disappointed in Dusty’s performance, though. No earworm from this one, I guess, huh? 😉


  4. I don’t remember ever hearing this song before. I would have been a little young for this film. I love all the similes in the song and there is some special quality in the song that really just captures my memories of the 1960’s. Something like a softness, a gentleness. I realize the 60’s are not generally characterized that way but that’s how they were for this young girl.


    • That makes sense. The song was released in 1968 when I was 17, so just at the right time to stick in my mind. But, I’m happy that I introduced you to some new music! I’m glad you enjoyed it!


  5. Still no change in my preference. I turned Harrison’s version off not even hslfway through — he sounded like he was rushing to get the song over. Windmills in a gale.
    Mental windmills should turn slowly, especially if you are in a glider, just drifting along the currents of the wind.
    I’m not saying there isn’t a better version somewhere, but I’m not going looking for one. I’m okay with Dusty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did notice that Harrison’s version did better in the UK and Dusty’s here in the U.S. Something in the water in that big pond, I guess. I’m glad you liked the song, and I’m not too surprised that you liked Dusty’s best, for you’ve liked another of hers, too!

      Liked by 1 person

      • His was more a spoken word version by an actor, and I preferred it being sung. Dusty had a great voice, and apart from her early pop hits, both in the band and solo, I think we underrated her here.

        Liked by 1 person

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