Ghost Riders in the Sky
Western Music
The Lone Writer  

Western Song: Ghost Riders in the Sky

Ghost Riders in the Sky was selected as one of the top 100 Western Songs of all time by the The Western Writers of America.

Ghost Riders in the Sky was written by Stan Jones in late 1948. Stan gave credit to the idea for the song to a story he heard as a child from and old Apache man from Arizona.

The story goes that when someone dies, their spirit leaves the body and goes to the sky. They stay there in the sky and become ghost riders. Doesn’t that sound hauntingly beautiful? Since Jones was a kid when he first heard the story, he was surely amazed by it.

Popular Recordings

Hundreds of artists have covered Ghost Riders in the Sky. Some of the most popular versions were recorded by:
• The Outlaws
• Vaughn Monroe
• Bing Crosby
• Frankie Laine
• Burl Ives
• Marty Robbin
• The Ramrods
• Johnny Cash

Other Titles for Ghost Riders in the Sky

A number of versions of this song were recorded by multiple artists. Variations of the same song have also been written as:
• Ghost Riders
• Ghost Riders in the Sky
• A Cowboy Legend

Listen (Johnny Cash Version)

Ghost Riders in the Sky Lyrics

An old cowboy went ridin' 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
Plowed through the ragged skies and up a 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 you 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

Yipie I oh, yipie I ay, ghost riders in the sky
Their face is gaunt, their eyes were blurred

Their shirts all soaked with sweat
He's ridin' 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 them cry

As the riders leaned 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
Tryin' to catch the devil herd across these endless skies

Yipie I oh, yipie I ay,
Ghost riders in the sky
Ghost riders in the sky
Ghost riders in the sky

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