Ghost Riders in The Sky

Ghost riders in the sky
Photo Illustration Tyson Dueck

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 yay
Yippie yi oh
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 yay
Yippie yi oh
Ghost riders in the sky

 


 

As Hallowe’en approaches there is no better time than now to present the real story behind this famous tune.

This ultimate cowboy song began as a frightening story told to a young Stan Jones (1914-1963) by an old cowboy friend as they watched an approaching storm. A dozen years later he still had not forgotten the spooky tale and from his isolated home in Death Valley he penned this classic. Soon a chance meeting with director John Ford led Jones to a songwriting career, including the score of John Ford’s movie Wagonmaster, much of the score for Rio Grande, The Searchers, Disney’s Spin & Marty and Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. In his brief career, Stan Jones wrote over two hundred songs. About one hundred were recorded and millions were sold, including Song of the Trail, Saddle Up, Lilies Grow High, Cowpoke, and the TV theme, Cheyenne. Jones died at 49 and is buried in his hometown of Douglas, Ariz.

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