Empty Saddles in the Old Corral
Western Music
The Lone Writer  

Western Song: Empty Saddles In The Old Corral

Empty Saddles in the Old Corral is a classic American cowboy song written by an American songwriter, violinist, and pianist Billy Hill. He based the song on a poem about grieving for lost companions by J. Keirn Brennan. In July 1936, the song became widely recognized to the public when Bing Crosby sang it with heartfelt emotion in the Paramount musical Rhythm on the Range. Crosby’s Decca recording made on July 14, 1936, with Victor Young and His Orchestra, reached the Top 10 that September.

Crosby’s recording of Empty Saddles with other country songs gave them legitimacy by showing that they could attract sophisticated pops and rural audiences. He performed them with integrity and didn’t look down his nose at the music.

The members of the Western Writers of America also included it in the Top 100 Western songs of all time.

Popular Recordings of Empty Saddles In The Old Corral

The song was later recorded by many artists, including:

  • The Sons of the Pioneers
  • Johnny Bond
  • Sons of the San Joaquin
  • Roy Rogers
  • Burl Ives
  • Dean Martin
  • Jimmie Rodgers 
  • Rudy Vallée and His Connecticut Yankees
  • Chick Bullock
  • Ambrose and His Orchestra
  • The Ranch Boys
  • The Mullen Sisters – Tony Mottola and His Orchestra
  • Spade Cooley (King of Western Swing) and His Band
  • Johnnie Ray
  • The Diamonds
  • The Eligibles
  • The Randy Van Horne Singers
  • Johnny Bond
  • Tex Ritter with Stan Kenton’s Orchestra

In Albums

The song has been included in the tracklist of the following albums:

  • Songs of the West
  • That Wild, Wicked but Wonderful West
  • Sing Songs of the West
  • Stan Kenton! Tex Ritter!
  • Dean Martin as Matt Helm Sings Songs from “The Silencers”
  • Rollin’ West
  • Along the Trail
  • Songs from the Old West
  • Twilight On The Trail / When The Spirit Moves You
  • On the Trail
  • Spade Cooley Plays Billy Hill for Dancing
  • The Last Roundup

Listen (The Sons of the Pioneers Version)

Empty Saddles In The Old Corral Lyrics

There's something strange in the old corral
There's a breeze, though the wind has died
Though I'm alone in the old corral
Seems there is someone at my side

Empty saddles in the old corral
Where do you ride tonight?
Are you roundin' up the dogies, the strays of long ago
Are you on the trail of buffalo?

Empty saddles in the old corral
Where do you ride tonight?
Are there rustlers on the border, or a band of Navajo
Are you headin' for the Alamo?

Empty guns covered with rust
Where do you talk tonight?
Empty boots covered with dust
Where do you walk tonight?

Empty saddles in the old corral
My tears will be dried tonight
If you'll only say I'm lonely as you carry my old pal
Empty saddles in the old corral

There is no smoke, still the fires burn,
There's no song, still I hear guitars,
There is no dust, still the ghosts return
Softly to vanish through the bars

Leave A Comment

book cover mockup for Western Writing

Looking for an Epic Western Adventure? Look No Further!

How would you like to ride hell-bent for leather into a world full of adventure and heroism?

Get Your Free Copy Today>>