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The Windmills of Your Mind

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The Windmills of Your Mind

The Windmills of Your Mind is a song with words and music by Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman and Michel Legrand from the 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair. Noel Harrison performed the song for the film score. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1968. (Harrison's father, the British actor Rex Harrison, had performed the previous year's Oscar-winning Talk to the Animals).

Dusty Springfield's version of the song is also well known, although it has been remade by singers such as Alison Moyet and Sting, whose version was used in the 1999 remake of the same film. Dusty Springfield's version appears on the soundtrack to Breakfast on Pluto (2006).

The song illustrates a person's mental state after a romantic break-up, relating the way emotionally charged thoughts and memories can run in tortured circles. With its succession of similes ("Like a circle in a spiral/Like a wheel within a wheel"), hypnotic rhythms and complex imagery, it is a song that can "stick in your head." The lyrics even refer to this phenomenon: in among a collection of disjointed memories is "a fragment of a song," in the 1968 recording, and "a fragment of this song," in the 1999 recording.

The line "That the autumn leaves were turning to the color of her hair" is generally altered to the opposite gender when the song has been sung by a woman.

The song was featured in a skit in an episode of The Muppet Show, being sung faster and faster until catastrophe ensued. In the Morecambe & Wise Show it was sung straight whilst Eric and Ernie were blown around in the background.

In "The Songbird Sings Legrand" live at Araneta Coliseum, Regine Velasquez performed the song with Legrand accompanied by Manila philharmonic orchestra

The final episode of I'm Alan Partridge ends on the King's Singers version of the song, as Alan goes to see his autobiography being pulped.

Tina Arena covered the song for her 2007 album Songs of Love & Loss.