Dobie Gray – Drift Away (1973, Vinyl) - Discogs

Oh, give me the beat boys, and free my soul
I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away

And so goes the chorus to one of my favorite songs of all time, Drift Away, by Dobie Gray. Drift Away is off of his 1973 album of the same name and reached #5 on the US charts. It was written by producer/songwriter Mentor Williams.   What a great set of lyrics!  They perfectly capture what music means to us, what it can do for us, how great it is to just get lost in the melody and lyrics of a song.

Whenever conversations with friends turn to “what is your favorite song?” or “what song would you want to be played at your funeral?” I always come back to this one. I don’t remember when I first heard this song, but I’ve always loved it.  I don’t really know much about Dobie Gray other than this song, never checked out any of his other work pre or post this song, own none of his albums.  I just love this song!

Beginning to think that I’m wastin’ time
I don’t understand the things I do
The world outside looks so unkind
So I’m countin’ on you to carry me through

Like of all you,  I believe music has always had the ability to be there for me when I needed it, to help frame my experiences in a way that helps me make sense of the world.  A song can validate your feelings, letting you know that someone else out there is dealing with the same set of issues or experiencing the same troubles or doubts or confusions about life.  And knowing that sometimes makes it easier to deal with those issues – maybe there is not a solution in the song, but you know that you are not alone.

And when my mind is free
You know a melody can move me
And when I’m feelin’ blue
The guitar’s comin’ through to soothe me

Music is there for us whatever our moods or state of mind.  The melody of a favorite song by a favorite artist experienced live has sometimes moved me to what I can only describe as a near religious experience – the opening chords to Born to Run, for example, usually experienced during the encore of a Springsteen show, always does the trick.  On the opposite end, music can be there for you when you’re down and feeling depressed, say after a bad romantic break up.  I know that listening to a Stevie Ray Vaughn guitar solo always made me believe that someone else out there was sharing my pain with me.

Thanks for the joy that you’ve given me
I want you to know I believe in your song
Rhythm and rhyme and harmony
You help me along makin’ me strong

This song just really connects with me at a deep level – it really perfectly captures what music means to me, what a big part of my life music appreciation is.  I feel this song is a tribute to the spirit of music out there that our favorite artists tap into to bring us so much joy with their songs and melodies.  I’ve read interviews with musicians where they say that a great song just came to them, that they felt that they weren’t coming up with the song, but that the song and music were just using them as vessels to be expressed – that’s the spirit that I’m talking about.

 So give the tune a listen, and I hope you get the same joy and satisfaction out of it that I do. Then go put on whatever your favorite song or artist is and be moved.  Thanks for reading.

Oh, give me the beat boys, and free my soul
I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away


  1. That is one of those songs I have never gotten tired of hearing. I have to admit back when I was a Little Hans- I thought they were singing ‘ give me the Beach Boys and free my soul.’

  2. Paul…that was a fantastic write up.
    When I hear this song I feel like everything is going to be alright no matter what is going on. The guitar intro hooked me even as a child and like Hans said…. I never got tired of it.
    Great great song.

  3. While I haven’t quite figured out the music to my funeral yet, I love this tune!

    That being said, I never paid much attention to the lyrics, but now that I’ve read Hans’ comment, yes, it definitely sounds like ,’Give me the Beach Boys and free my soul’ – I mean, who wouldn’t want sun, surfin’, go to Hawaii, and giddy up, giddy up a 409!

  4. I remember when this song was on the radio. It always brought a peaceful feeling to me, and as a tortured obnoxious teenager not easy to do. To me the lyrics feel religious and the chorus is like a mantra. I also have to wonder about songs that seem to spring whole into a songwriter’s psyche! I like your personalized write-up about what this song means to you, Paul.

  5. I just love this song. Your write up is spot on. I can’t imagine a world without music. It does something to us.

    This song is one that stands the test of time. Lyrically and musically, it could be a hit in any decade. I never cared for the Uncle Cracker cover. I felt his voice lacked everything that Dobie’s had.

    Great pick!!!

  6. Oh and I figured out what live Springsteen song has the story about his father that we were talking about last week or so – can’t find the thread so am putting it here. It is part of the intro to the River on the Live 75-85 album. Here is the YouTube link – it never fails to get me.

  7. Dude! Great pick. I love this song and the words speak volumes. So many times in my life, I ran to music to cheer me up or help me get some nasty emotions out of me. There are some pieces of music that will move me to tears every time, no matter how many times I listen to them.

  8. Tremendous song and write-up! Not my top favorite of that era, but a great song I always enjoy hearing…though like others here already commented, the Uncle Kracker version is rather disappointing other than it probably earned Dobie a lot of new cheques. Good pick!


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