GHOST RIDERS IN THE SKY

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
  • GHOST RIDERS IN THE SKY
    “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend” is a country and cowboystyle song. It
    was written on June 5, 1948 by Stan Jones. A number of versions were also crossover hits
    on the pop charts in 1949. The song is about a cowboy who has a vision of red-eyed,
    steel-hooved cattle thundering across the sky, being chased by the ghosts of damned
    cowboys. One warns him that if he does not change his ways he will be doomed to join
    them, forever “trying to catch the Devil‘s herd across these endless skies”. The song’s
    story has a marked resemblance to the northern European mythic Wild Hunt.
    More than fifty different artists have recorded versions of this classic. Charting versions
    were recorded by Vaughn Monroe (with orchestra and vocal quartet), by Bing Crosby
    (with the Ken Darby Singers), Frankie Laine, Marty Robbins and by Johnny Cash. Other
    contemporary versions were recorded by Peggy Lee (with the Jud Conlon Singers), and
    by Spike Jones and his City Slickers. Gene Autry sang the song in his 1949 movie,
    “Riders in the Sky”.
    An old cowboy went riding out one dark and windy day
    Upon a ridge he rested as he went along his way
    When all at once a mighty herd of red eyed cows he saw
    A-plowing through the ragged sky and up the cloudy draw
    Their brands were still on fire and their hooves were made of steel
    Their horns were black and shiny and their hot breath he could feel
    A bolt of fear went through him as they thundered through the sky
    For he saw the Riders coming hard and he heard their mournful cry
    Yippie yi Ohhhhh
    Yippie yi yaaaaay
    Ghost Riders in the sky
    Their faces gaunt, their eyes were blurred, their shirts all soaked with sweat
    He’s riding hard to catch that herd, but he ain’t caught ’em yet
    ‘Cause they’ve got to ride forever on that range up in the sky
    On horses snorting fire
    As they ride on hear their cry
    As the riders loped on by him he heard one call his name
    If you want to save your soul from Hell a-riding on our range
    Then cowboy change your ways today or with us you will ride
    Trying to catch the Devil’s herd, across these endless skies
     Yippie yi Ohhhhh
    Yippie yi Yaaaaay
    Ghost Riders in the sky
    Ghost Riders in the sky
    Ghost Riders in the sky