I always love coming across interesting facts. When those facts are associated with music, it’s that much better. The song Drift Away, the most famous version being by Dobie Gray, was written by a man named Mentor Williams. The song has been covered numerous times, and in 2002 was performed by Uncle Kracker featuring Dobie Gray. That version reached the Top 10 and Dobie Gray set the record for the longest number of years between Top 10 hits at 30 years. The same song also topped the Adult Contemporary Charts for 28 Weeks, setting another record.
All of that is wonderful and interesting, but should not be a surprise coming from Mentor Williams, the writer of the song. Consider this, his brother won a Grammy, Academy, and Golden Globe award for the love Evergreen, the theme from the movie A Star is Born, a Grammy for best Children’s Album with The Muppet Movie, from which I had to sing Rainbow Connection at my 6th Grade Graduation, and as recently as 2014 won a Grammy Album of the Year, and is obviously a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The sad part of it all, for all that talent, most of the world knows this man as Little Enos from the Smokey and the Bandit movies.
Yes, Mentor Williams is the brother of Paul Williams.
The song here, Drift Away, was a songwriting breakthrough for Mentor. He learned through this song to allow his emotions to spill over into his lyrics. Every person will take from a song what they like, what they want to. I have my takeaways. Almost every line makes sense to me in parts of my life. I repeat, ALMOST every line. Some obviously don’t, but that “I want to get lost in your rock and roll” takes on a meaning that if you really listen, I think you can interpret quite well.
Following the original version there is a link to the 2002 version. Dobie Gray sings and appears in the 2002 video.