blatantly bad 70s songs: wildfire (michael murphy)

here, horsey horsey!

singing cowboy michael martin murphy sings wildfire, a song about a dead girl, a dead horse, and the man who should be quivering in fear at the knowledge that they’re comin’ for me i know. sounds like some westernized stephen king, if you ask me. and yet people in 1975 found this a terribly romantic song, and voila! it became a hit.

in 1975, i was 10 years old and at the height of every young girl’s favorite pasttime: horses. i read all about misty of chincoteage and every single solitary follow-up book marguerite henry wrote about those damn ponies. i oohed and aahed every time i had the opportunity to go horseback riding at camp; i especially loved it when i could get my horse to canter or even gallop. you’d think i was a solid audience for a song about a pony.

you’d be wrong. dead ponies don’t go off well with 10 year old girls.

it took me awhile to figure out that the pony AND the girl were dead. but then, i couldn’t understand why the singer was sounding glad that the dead things were coming for him. run, mister, RUN! hadn’t he seen horror movies? did he not value his life? did he want to wander the earth, zombie-like, terrorizing the masses in the countryside?

sheesh. grownups can be sooooooo dumb.

and musically, though i enjoyed the piano in the very beginning of the song, it seldom got any airplay on my favorite music radio WABC. the music is sleep-inducing; the lyrics are horrifying.  i didn’t know whether to snooze or become a serial killer.

how wildfire caught on like, well, you know what, i will never understand.

14 thoughts on “blatantly bad 70s songs: wildfire (michael murphy)

  1. “Wildfire” was more of a WMGQ (Magic 98) type of song, it’s true.

    Have you heard the Langley Schools Music Project CD from some years back? Canadian kids singing ’70s pop hits in their echoey school auditorium, led by a hippie music teacher. It’s one of my all-time favorites. http://www.keyofz.com/keyofz/langley/

  2. While I’ve been able to tolerate most of the blatantly bad choices this month, “Wildfire” makes my ears bleed. That nasal “wiiiiiiiiiiiiildfire” refrain is worse than fingernails on a chalkboard. At least David Soul was tolerable. Michael Martin Murphy? Not at all.

  3. the very sad truth is that tony orlando and dawn SHOULD be here. but 30 days isn’t even enough time to hit everything. i may have to expand the timeframe, though i want a break from posting every single day. for now 😉 but yes. say has anybody seen my sweet gypsy rose ought to be here. it SCREAMS to be here.

  4. I was just a few years older than you when Wildfire hit the airwaves. I found it, and still do, an incredibly sad song of loss. It pulls the heartstrings.

  5. Some people just have to gripe about every little thing.

    Songs are like poems people sing to express themselves or to tell a story.

    So what, you don’t like the song…..do you have to make a BIG deal out of it. The time it took for you rant and rave about it, like a little 3 year old sissy, you could have done some homework.

    Get a life and try to focus on REAL issues instead of going around bitchin’ about something that isn’t affecting your life….if you have one

    By the way, I love the song and it makes more sense than your whining.

  6. Someone has a (horse) hair caught somewhere painful.

    Well, I happen to agree with you, Miss Wreke. But that’s why we have a bajillion different outlets for music — because no one should have to listen to “Theme from Elmo’s World,” “Kung Fu Fighting” or Wildfire” if she doesn’t want to. And I don’t want to.

    But I’ll listen ONE MORE TIME, to see if I can find the poetry amidst the rhyme.

  7. If you have time to knock the song, don’t knock those who have the time to knock you for knocking the song.

  8. Okay, here it is 2009 and this song still does something to people. Whether good or bad, it did get your attention, it did make you think about it and the piano part is absolutely beautiful (kind of reminds me of how the music from “Man from Snowy River” makes me feel). So, accept the beauty where you find it, for what it is and don’t worry about the rest. It was a dream MMMurphy had and he put it into a song. 4 million people can’t all be wrong. I absolutely loved, and still love “Wildfire”. I think it’s great we can all have an opinion and that we all don’t think the same or have the same likes and dislikes…this IS America and God Bless America.

  9. Im a sixteen year-old guy who just recently discovered this song
    and i was so touched the first time, it really is a masterpiece unlike what many of you believe. just imagine being a man who lost the girl of his dreams in that manner only to hope one day she and her horse will come for him.
    just my take

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