Music Box: Dobie Gray – I Want You To Know I Believe In Your Song

Dobie Gray’s version of “Drift Away” is, justifiably, the most famous and, by far, the most brilliant reading of the Mentor Williams-penned (that would be Paul Williams’ brother) 70s staple. Originally released on John Henry Kurtz’ 1972 REUNION album, the indelible classic always takes me away…to that far away place I used to reside – within the deepest caverns of my soul. At times the song makes me weep, as I miss the halcyon days of my youth and the kinder world we thrived in. When any ills of the world would be swept away when reaching for your LP of your favorite music was all that was needed to, well, drift away.

And when my mind is know a melody can move me...and when I'm feelin' blue...the guitar's comin' through to soothe me...

The song was covered hundreds of times these past 40 years, most famously and recently in a passionless 2003 recording by Uncle Kracker. Credited as Uncle Kracker featuring Dobie Gray, the track meandered along in  karaoke sterility until finally Gray’s soul chimed in mid-point and he infused it with a thrilling tremble. When the track reached #9 on Billboard’s Top 100, Gray broke the record for the biggest gap between top US top 10 appearances (it had been 30 years between both). The Kracker version had a far more major impact on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary charts – it holds the record as the longest #1 on that chart, having reigned for 28 weeks in 2003-04. No doubt thanks to Gray.

There was a story told by Kracker that the song was initially written for Elvis, but Presley turned it down once he heard Gray’s version of it.  Gray was a demo singer in Memphis at the time.  Talk about decree.

Gray’s had a decades-long career. While never matching the mega-success of “Drift Away” (Uncle Kracker notwithstanding), he’ s recorded dozens of albums.  HERE is his Wikipedia page – spelunk and learn.

And here is “Drift Away”


  1. Drift away was one of my favorite songs but I truly loved Eddie’s song. I hear the opening verse ” I went out a searching for a friend of mine” and I am back to being young again. 🙂

  2. While one of the most influential songs of decades past,,just like Johnny Nash ,,I can see clearly,,..This one has a grounded and spiritual meaning that opens doors to all situations, encompasses to bad times ,,good times,,Love,hate,relationship,,and forgiveness, has an appeal to generations untold,…I want to thank him for his belief ,.JSD..USMC..ATP

  3. I want to thank God above for allowing my path to cross with Dobie’s for the times they did. I was always so touched by his wonderful soul..he was a great person with awesome ideas and talent!
    …..”Gimme the beat boyz and FREE MY Soul…” You’re free now Dobie! I feel sure our paths will continue to pass even beyond this! (susie-Q-WBSJ extinct)

  4. Let’s not forget Dobie’s other big hit, “The In Crowd,” in which he sang “The original’s still the greatest.” That is true of “Drift Away.” I recall a miserable version by one Narvel Felts – the line “I wanna get lost in your rock & roll” was changed to “I wanna get lost in your country song,” which never failed to make me cringe.

  5. I hope the Neville Brothers still perform this one. They are the only ones I have heard come close to Dobie Gray’s version.

  6. R.I.P Sir thank you for the gift you have given to me & so many others a gift that can never be “lost” & will always have a place in my heart the gift of your music will be here for ever xxx

  7. I have loved and been so moved by this song for years. Thank you… It so embarrass this song. It has helpped me through such difficull times in my life. It’s exactly how music makes me feel……. Thank You soooo much…… And I mean that with all my heart…

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