The year was 1970, and the song of the moment was called Ride Captain Ride. It cut through the boring sounds on the AM radio like a diamond on glass. You listened to the song and thought: Who are these guys? You got the sense that this was a band that was tight and going places.
That sense turned out to be wrong. The band was called Blues Image. Although Ride Captain Ride sounds like the creation of a west coast band — after all, the song does refer to the San Francisco Bay — Blues Image hailed from Tampa, Florida. By the late 1960s the band had performed as the house band at a club in Miami and then moved to Los Angeles to try to make it big. The group recorded a debut album and then in 1970 released a second album called Open that featured Ride Captain Ride. The song went to number 4 on the American charts. Less than a year later, however, Blues Image broke up and its members moved on to perform in other bands.
Ride Captain Ride holds up pretty well as a signature song of a group that disbanded more than 30 years ago. The song has it all — from the chirpy keyboards in the intro, to the funky drumming and rhythm section, to the fine guitar fills and song-ending guitar solo — but what really made it a classic was the lyrics. Sung in a key that was easily reachable by even the most vocally challenged teenage boy, the song told the nonsense story of 73 men on a mystical voyage of discovery in words that demanded to be sung out loud. Who wouldn’t want to ride along to another shore and laugh their lives away and be free once more?