What Are Some Famous Cowboy Songs?


Quick Answer

Famous cowboy songs include "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky," "Beer for My Horses" and "El Paso." Stan Jones wrote and recorded "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky" in 1948, but since then over 50 performers have recorded their own versions of the song. Toby Keith and Willie Nelson recorded "Beer for My Horses," and Marty Robbins recorded "El Paso."

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Full Answer

"(Ghost) Riders in the Sky" is about a cowboy who sees red-eyed cattle running in the sky, while the spirits of cowboys chase after them. One of the spirits warns the cowboy to change his ways or he too is going to spend eternity chasing after "the devil's herd."

"Beer for My Horses" references criminal events occurring, with the singer describing his grandfather's version of justice. After hanging the criminals, the grandfather and his friends meet back at the local saloon and order whiskey for themselves and beer for their horses.

"El Paso" is the story of a cowboy who falls in love with a Mexican dancer in El Paso. After another man has a drink with her, the cowboy challenges him and shoots him. He flees the scene of the murder and steals a horse, eventually hiding in New Mexico. His love for the dancer causes him to return to El Paso, where the victim's friends immediately see him and shoot him. As he lays on the ground dying, the dancer holds him, although it's unclear if this is real or a vision.

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