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Santa Ana winds in popular culture

The Santa Ana winds (strong, extremely dry down-slope winds that originate inland and affect coastal Southern California and northern Baja California), are commonly portrayed in fiction as being responsible for a tense, uneasy, wrathful mood among Angelenos. Some of the more well-known literary references include the Philip Marlowe story "Red Wind" by Raymond Chandler, and Joan Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem.[1][2]

  • 2008 Silent Love Song Jason Mraz includes the lyrics "The window opens up and lets in The Santa Ana winds again She's a silent love song Never stays long Does not belong to any person Though she's opening the curtains in my head She's a kind of quiet And always hides it in a flame She's certainly a hurricane"
  • The 1970 Tim Buckley song "Venice Beach" includes the lyrics "White heat of swaying day/ Dark slap of conga cries/ 'Come out and breathe as one'/ Salt sea and fiddles drone/ Out on the dancing stone/ While the Santanas blow/ Sing the music boats in the bay."
  • The 1983 Randy Newman song I Love L.A. includes the lines "Santa Ana winds blowin’ hot from the north / And we was born to ride"[3]
  • The Beach Boys song "Santa Ana Winds" appears on their 1980 album Keepin' the Summer Alive. In the song they refer to the Santa Ana winds as "fire wind" and "desert wind."
  • The song "Babylon Sisters" by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, from the 1980 Steely Dan album Gaucho has the refrain "Here come those Santa Ana winds again."
  • On Survivor's 1983 album Caught in the Game, an atmospheric song named "Santa Ana Winds" refers to a disastrous woman.
  • Steve Goodman's Santa Ana Winds, the last album released before his death in 1984, contains the song of the same name. Goodman wrote this analogy of unrequited love from the view of a man from a city where wind is understood.
  • The a cappella group The Bobs' song "Santa Ana Woman" from their 1988 album Songs for Tomorrow Morning has the line "The Santa Ana winds had come back / And the whole city of LA was acting like it had PMS."
  • The band Animal Logic recorded a song "Winds Of Santa Ana" appearing in the band's self-titled 1989 album.
  • Los Angeles punk band Bad Religion mentions the winds a few times, using their nickname "murder winds", "St. Anne's skirts are billowing" and the line "The fans of Santa Ana are withering" in their song "Los Angeles Is Burning" on their 2004 album The Empire Strikes First. "When the hills of Los Angeles are burning/ Palm trees are candles in the murder winds/ So many lives are on the breeze/ Even the stars are ill at ease/ And Los Angeles is burning."
  • British indie rock band, The Wedding Present released their eighth studio album, El Rey in 2008 which begins with the song "Santa Ana Winds" containing the lyrics "Outside, the Santa Ana Winds are blowing hot/Inside, some things are happening that really should not."
  • Rock band Sons of Bill have a song called "Santa Ana Winds"
  • Australian singer Ben Lee sings about a girl at a concert in Pomona telling him about the Santa Ana Winds in his 2005 single "Catch My Disease."
  • Raymond Chandler's 1938 detective story "Red Wind" opens with a description of the Santa Anas and their effect on the populace.
  • Erle Stanley Gardner (writing as A.A. Fair) described the winds in chapter 12 of his 1941 novel Double or Quits; the winds were relevant to an experiment carried out by the fictional detective who was attempting to prove whether a man's death was accidental.
  • The Santa Ana winds are the subject of a 1965 essay by Joan Didion entitled "Los Angeles Notebook," which appears in her Slouching Towards Bethlehem collection of essays.
  • The Santa Ana winds are important to the plot of the 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  • The Santa Ana winds are important aspects in the 1985 novel Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis.
  • The Santa Ana winds are important to the plot of the 1999 novel White Oleander by Janet Fitch.
  • The prologue of Clive Barker's 2001 Coldheart Canyon describes in three pages how the winds "come sighing off the desert, heavy with their perfume..." in a metaphysical as well as environmental sense.
  • Tom Russell's 2009 album Blood and Candle Smoker contains a song titled Santa-Ana Winds about the phenomena.
  • Several references to the winds are made in the hit TV show Beverly Hills, 90210.
  • Kitty's fear of the winds were featured in the "Date Night" episode of the ABC series Brothers & Sisters.
  • In an episode of Southland titled 'The Winds', the Santa Ana Winds are mentioned multiple times and play a key role throughout the episode.
  • The Television show Popular features the winds in Windstruck season one, episode 4.
  • The Santa Ana Winds were an important part of the plot in the 2006 movie The Holiday.
  • In Joan Didion's essay, The Santa Ana, she describes the winds effect on the local residents in a story-like manner.
  • Los Angeles native Belinda Carlisle's album Runaway Horses mentions "...kisses hotter than the Santa Ana Winds" in the song Summer Rain.
  • Danish indie rock band Mew's song The Zookeeper's Boy from their 2005 album And the Glass Handed Kites has the line "Santa Ana Wind brings seasickness."
  • Everclear (band) features a track titled "Santa Ana Wind" on their 2012 album Invisible Stars. The song is an ode to living in Southern California.
  • In the manga and anime series Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, the character Santana's name is derived in-universe from this phenomenon. Outside of the context of the setting, his name comes from Carlos Santana and his self-titled rock band.
  • In 1994, Season 4 of BEVERLY HILLS, 90210 Episode 94 titled WINDSTRUCK, features an entire sub-story surrounding the Southern California Santa Ana winds. Kelly Taylor (played by Jennie Garth) comments to Dylan McKay (played by Luke Perry), "I don't know what it is about the Santa Ana's but I haven't been myself all day. Maybe it's not the Santa Ana's, maybe I'm just nervous about being with you." Dylan McKay then tells her a story about the similar Sirocco Winds in the Middle East, "And, while these winds are blowing...if you kill somebody, they won't even try to punish you."
  • The winds and their psychological impact feature heavily in the 1971 American horror film, The Return of Count Yorga.
  • In his 2014 song "Devil, Devil", Country music singer Eric Church uses the line "I'm a brush fire in a drought land and you're Santa Ana Breeze" when addressing his precarious relationship.
  • Orange County author Dean Koontz writes suspense thrillers and often references the Santa Ana winds as lending an uneasy sense of an impending evil and doom, as in The Husband: "Eager breathing, hissing, and hungry panting arose at every vent in the eaves, as though the attic were a canary cage and the wind a voracious cat. Such was the disquieting nature of a Santa Ana wind that even the spiders were agitated by it. They moved restlessly on their webs."
  • In Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the Santa Ana winds are personified as a Frankie Valli-esque sound-alike that makes everyone in West Covina, California act "weird".
  • The 2016 Fox Broadcasting Network animated series Bordertown had the episode "Santa Ana Winds", where the annual winds are portents for strange, unexplainable events around the town of Mexafornia such as the main character Bud Buckwald encountering a Mexican doppelgänger of himself, and a demonic leaf haunting the landscaper Ernesto Gonzales. The ending of the episode reveals that the winds are caused by aliens who use them as cover for their experiments on humans.
  • The Santa Ana winds are also, and often, referred to as "LA winds" by Angelenos on social media.
  • The Santa Ana winds are described in the opening credits of the surfing movie, Big Wednesday.
  • The song "Homeboy" on Michael McDonald's 1990 album Take It to Heart includes the line, "When the Santa Ana blows across the killing ground, it sweeps away what mercy is left to be found."
  • The song "Western Stars" by Bruce Springsteen includes the line, "Tonight the riders on Sunset are smothered in the Santa Ana winds..."


  1. ^ Masters, Nathan (October 25, 2012). "SoCal's Devil Winds: The Santa Anas in Historical Photos and Literature". KCET. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
  2. ^ Needham, John (March 12, 1988). "The Devil Winds Made Me Do It : Santa Anas Are Enough to Make Anyone's Hair Stand on End". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 3, 2013.
  3. ^ "Randy Newman Albums: Trouble in Paradise". Retrieved 30 April 2014.