"Four Strong Winds" is a song written by Ian Tyson in the early 1960s. It was first recorded by The Brothers Four in a version that "Bubbled Under" the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1963. Subsequently, it was recorded by Ian and Sylvia on an album of the same name released in 1964.
The song is based on the life of transient farm workers, forced to move where work can be found, but its theme is the sometimes temporary nature of human relationships.
This folk classic has been recorded by many artists including Neil Young on his 1978 album Comes a Time (Young also performed the song with The Band at the famous The Last Waltz concert, and in his 2005 documentary Neil Young: Heart of Gold), Sarah McLachlan, Hank Snow, The Seekers, Judy Collins, Bob Dylan, Marianne Faithfull, The Searchers, Teenage Fanclub, John Denver, Bobby Bare, The Brothers Four (in an album by the same name), The Kingston Trio, Trini Lopez, Waylon Jennings, Chad and Jeremy, Ulf Lundell, The Tragically Hip, Joan Baez, and most recently, Johnny Cash. It was a hit by Bobby Bare in 1964. It was also a big hit in Norway in 1966 in a Norwegian version: "Mot ukjent sted" by The Vanguards and a big hit in Sweden in 1967 in a Swedish version: "Mot okänt land" recorded by The Hep Stars.
The song is also referenced in A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. The narrator remembers how the main character, Owen, loved to hear that song as sung by the character of Hester.
In 2005, CBC Radio One listeners chose this song as the greatest Canadian song of all time on the series 50 Tracks: The Canadian Version.
The mentioning of Alberta in the lyrics led it to be considered in a contest to choose a provincial song, which it did not win. Additionally, the song is sung on the last night of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival each year...pls enjoy!!!