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(Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"(Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend"
Song
Published1948, Edwin H. Morris & Co Inc
ReleasedJune 5, 1948
GenreCountry, western
Songwriter(s)Stan Jones

"(Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend" is a cowboy-styled country/western song written in 1948 by American songwriter, film and television actor Stan Jones.[1]

A number of versions were crossover hits on the pop charts in 1949, the most successful being by Vaughn Monroe. The ASCAP database lists the song as "Riders in the Sky" (title code 480028324[2]), but the title has been written as "Ghost Riders", "Ghost Riders in the Sky", and "A Cowboy Legend". Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.[3]

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Transcription

Contents

Overview

The song tells a folk tale of a cowboy who has a vision of red-eyed, steel-hooved cattle thundering across the sky, being chased by the spirits 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". Jones stated he had been told the story when he was 12 years old by an old cowboy friend.[1]


More than 50 performers have recorded versions of the song. Charting versions were recorded by The Outlaws, Vaughn Monroe ("Riders in the Sky" with orchestra and vocal quartet), which topped the Billboard magazine charts, by Bing Crosby (with the Ken Darby Singers), Frankie Laine, Burl Ives (two different versions), Marty Robbins, The Ramrods and Johnny Cash. Other recordings were made by Eddy Arnold, Peggy Lee (with the Jud Conlon Singers), Christopher Lee, and Spike Jones and his City Slickers. Gene Autry sang it in the 1949 movie, Riders in the Sky. Jones himself recorded it for his 1957 album Creakin' Leather.[4] Children of Bodom, Impaled Nazarene and Die Apokalyptischen Reiter have also made covers.

The melody is based on the song "When Johnny Comes Marching Home."[5]

Recordings

1948

1949

  • Burl Ives recorded the song on February 17, 1949, and the song was released by Columbia Records as catalog No. 38445. The recording first appeared on the Billboard charts on April 22, 1949, lasting six weeks and peaking at No. 21.[6]
  • The version by Vaughn Monroe and His Orchestra with Vaughn Monroe and The Moon Men on vocals, was recorded on March 14, 1949, and released by RCA Victor Records as catalog No. 20-3411 (in USA) and by EMI on the His Master's Voice label as catalog No. BD 1247, HN 3014, HQ 2071, IM 1425 and GY 878. The recording first appeared on the Billboard charts on April 15, 1949, lasting 22 weeks and reaching No. 1.[6] Billboard ranked it as the No. 1 song for 1949.[7]
  • The Bing Crosby version was recorded on March 22, 1949,[8] and released by Decca Records as catalog No. 24618. The recording first appeared on the Billboard charts on May 6, 1949, lasting 6 weeks and peaking at No. 14.[6]
  • The Peggy Lee version was recorded on April 18, 1949, and released by Capitol Records as catalog No. 57-608. It reached No. 2 on Billboard's Most Played By Disc Jockeys listing without appearing in the retail Top 30.
  • Spike Jones recorded the song on May 24, 1949, and it was released by RCA Victor Records as catalog No. 20-3741. Copies of the original release, containing lyrics ridiculing RCA stockholder Vaughn Monroe, are rare. The recording parodies the original Monroe recording, injecting much of Jones' quintessential humor along the way.
  • Gene Autry recorded the song for Columbia Records on August 16, 1949, which issued as Columbia 20635, backed with "Cowboy's Trademarks" (recorded August 27, 1940), and sang it in his 1949 film Riders in the Sky released through Columbia Pictures.

1950s

  • Opening track of Scatman Crothers' 1956 album, Rock 'n' roll with Scat Man.
  • Theodore Bikel sang a humorous version of the song in his An Actor's Holiday album (1956).

1960s

1970s

1980s

1990s

2000s

2010s

  • Judy Collins, featuring the Nashville Rhythm Section and Ghost Riders Chorus, covered "Ghost Riders in the Sky" on her 2010 album Paradise.
  • Florida/Utah death metal band, Gorlock, covered it on their 2011 EP titled Despair is My Mistress.
  • The song is the opening track on Roswell Rudd's album, Trombone For Lovers.
  • The character of Granddad Brown in the Irish comedy series Mrs Brown's Boys briefly covered Ghost Riders in the Sky in the 2011 Christmas special episode "Mammy's Ass". The scene involves Granddad singing the song whilst Agnes hits him over the head with a metal tray, testing a crash helmet (which Granddad's wearing) her friend Winnie is meant to be testing.
  • A track on Drop The Lime's 2012 album Enter The Night used the instrumental of "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky".
  • "Outsider" music star, The Space Lady, featured it on her GREATEST HITS LP. (2013, Night School Records)
  • Screaming Orphans covered on the album Lonely Boy. (2011)
  • In 2015, a lower tempo version of Johnny Cash's cover was used on the announcement trailer for the forthcoming Space-Opera RPG, Mass Effect: Andromeda.
  • Monster truck Black Stallion uses it as its theme song.
  • Country artist Ray Scott (singer) covered Johnny Cash's version of this song on his EP, "Roots Sessions, Vol. 1" which was released in 2015.
  • Chrome Division covered Johnny Cash's version of this song on their 2011 "3rd Round Knockout" album.
  • Devil Driver covered Johnny Cash's version of this song on their 2018 "Outlaws 'Til the End: Vol. 1" album.

Additional versions

Versions in various genres have also been made by the following artists:

Non-English versions

Czech

  • Czech versions titled "Ďáblovo stádo" by Rudolf Cortéz released in 1956, and by Waldemar Matuška in 1981.
  • Czech version titled "Nebeští Jezdci" by Taxmeni & Roger Latzgo released in 1991

Estonian

  • Estonian-Canadian musician Jüri Lipp translated and recorded a surf rock version in Estonian in 1968.

Finnish

  • A Finnish version titled "Aaveratsastajat" was written by Kullervo (born Tapio Kullervo Lahtinen) and it has been recorded by several popular artists including Henry Theel ja Metro-tytöt, Kari Tapio, Danny, Tapani Kansa, Reijo Taipale, and Ismo Alanko.
  • Juha Vainio wrote an alternative, humoristic version titled "Hirvenmetsästys" (The Moose Hunt). Pertti Metsärinteen yhtye recorded it in 1970.
  • An instrumental jazz version by Kalle Kalima on the album High Noon released in 2016.

French

  • A French-language version titled "Les Cavaliers du Ciel" was released by Les Compagnons de la chanson in 1949.
  • French guitarist and singer, Gill Dougherty, also released a version on his 1990 album, Live In Bourges.
  • In 1992, another French language version titled "Où tu iras" was released by Les Naufragés, on their album A contre-Courant.

German

  • In 1949, a German-language version titled "Geisterreiter" was recorded and released by East German entertainer, Rita Paul & Her Cornel-Trio. In the same year, a version was released by Gerhard Wendland.
  • Additional German-language versions have been released by surf-punk-electro band, Mikrowelle, and television entertainer, Götz Alsmann featuring Bela B of Die Ärzte.
  • An instrumental version was done by the Austrian band "da Blechhauf`n" in 2012.[18]

Italian

  • An Italian-language version of the song, titled "I Cavalieri del Cielo" was recorded by famous Italian singer Gino Latilla in 1952.

Lithuanian

  • A Lithuanian-language version of the song titled "Jupi Ja Je" was recorded by Adolfas Jarulis ir Estradinės melodijos in 1971.

Portuguese

Spanish

  • In 1966, a Spanish-language version, "Jinetes en el cielo", was recorded and released by the Mexican group, Los Baby's.[20]
  • Mexican singer Pedro Vargas also recorded a version.
  • The popular singer from Spain, Raphael, also released a Spanish version in the 1970s. The lyrical subject was changed to reflect a cowboy doomed to ride for eternity for breaking a young girl's heart. The song ends happily when the girl saves him from that horrible destiny by crying and praying for him then letting a rose fall on his grave.
  • Mexican singers and actors Manolín y Shilinsky (Manuel Palacios and Estanislao Shilinsky) recorded a comic version.[21]

Yugoslavian

  • Iskre - Nebeski Jahači (Ghost Riders In The Sky) 1965

Influences

Apart from the numerous recordings by various artists, "Ghost Riders in the Sky" has inspired various artists.

References

  1. ^ a b "Stan Jones". Western Music Association. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
  2. ^ "ACE Repertory". Ascap.com. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  3. ^ Western Writers of America (2010). "The Top 100 Western Songs". American Cowboy. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014.
  4. ^ Creakin' Leather (1957). Disneyland Records WDL-3015. "Stan Jones sings his own compositions" Recorded by Walt Disney Music Co. Copyright Walt Disney Productions.
  5. ^ "(Ghost) Riders In the Sky by The Outlaws Songfacts". Songfacts.com. 1949-05-14. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  6. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940-1955. Record Research.
  7. ^ Number One Song of the Year: 1946-2013, Bob Borst website
  8. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  9. ^ "Billboard Music Week Hot 100", Billboard, October 9, 1961. Accessed July 28, 2016.
  10. ^ "DICK JENSEN - A DISCOGRAPHY". Stereocandies.blogspot.com.
  11. ^ "Frank Ifield 'Born Free'". 45worlds.com. Retrieved 31-03-2017.
  12. ^ "Dean-Reed-Website". Deanreed.de. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  13. ^ "Dean-Reed-Website". Deanreed.de. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  14. ^ Collar, Matt. "Ghostrider: Great Guitar Hits - Duane Eddy". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  15. ^ "Ghost Riders in the Sky". Debora Harry. Archived from the original (MP3) on 2016-04-10. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
  16. ^ ""Ghostriders in the Sky" on the 2006 Die Apokalyptischen Reiter EP, Friede Sei Mit Dir". discogs.com. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  17. ^ "Art Greenhaw Music CD's & Cassettes". Theconnextion.com. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  18. ^ Video on YouTube
  19. ^ Neder, Alvaro. "Caçador de mim". Allmusic. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
  20. ^ ""Jinetes en el cielo" by Mexican group, Los Baby's". popsike.com. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  21. ^ ""El Bueyecito" by Mexican singers, Manolín and Shilinsky". youtube.com. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  22. ^ "Riders On The Storm by The Doors Songfacts". Songfacts.com. 1950-12-30. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  23. ^ "The origins of Aston Villa's famous terrace chants". Mat Kendrick. 2018-02-21. Retrieved 2018-03-10.
  24. ^ "Dick Ayers: A Life in the 'Gowanus'". Alter Ego. 3 (10). interview part 1 of 2. Autumn 2001. Archived from the original on June 1, 2010. Co-creator Dick Ayers recalled that editor Vin Sullivan "describe[d] what he wanted in the Ghost Rider" and told Ayers to see the 1949 Disney animated feature The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, one segment of which adapted Washington Irving's story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", featuring the Headless Horseman. "[A]nd then he told me to play the Vaughn Monroe record "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky". And then he started talking about what he wanted the guy wearing."

External links

This page was last edited on 6 November 2018, at 21:54
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