Ghost Riders in the Sky – Song Lyric Sunday – Wild West


Ghost Riders in the Sky – Song Lyric Sunday – Wild West


Today for SLS, Jim Adams, of A Unique Title For Me, has given us the subject of things associated with the wild west. These include, cowboys, horses, gun, hat, western. Thanks, Jim!

To join in this fun weekly challenge, just click the above link for details, and also to see other entries.



There are so many great songs for this topic today, but I went with this one. I like everything about it. I like the video, the music, the lyrics, and the thought that it came from an American Indian legend. And, it’s pretty spooky! ๐Ÿ™‚


The Outlaws released โ€œGhost Riders in the Sky, in 1980, as a studio album, called, โ€œGhost Ridersโ€. It was written by Stan Jones, and produced by Gary Lyons, on the Arista label.

Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as the greatest Western song of all time.[3]

I read the Wiki article about this song, and this is what it said.

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 Native American who resided north-east of the Douglas, Arizona border town, a few miles behind D Hill, north of Agua Prieta, Sonora. The Native Americans, possibly Apache, who lived within Cochise County, believed that when souls vacate their physical bodies, they reside as spirits in the sky, resembling ghost riders. He related this story to Wayne Hester, a boyhood friend (later owner of the Douglas Cable Company). As both boys were looking at the clouds, Stan shared what the old Native American had told him, looking in amazement as the cloudy shapes were identified as the “ghost riders” that years later, would be transposed into lyrics.[1] The melody is based on the song “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.”[4]


It has been recorded by many, many other artists over the years, and also recorded in at least ten other languages.



ippie-yi-aie, Yippie-yi-oh!

An old cowpoke 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
Come through the ragged skies and up a cloudy draw

Yippie-yi-aie, Yippie-yi-oh!
Ghost riders in the sky

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-aie, Yippie-yi-oh!
Ghost riders in the sky

Their faces gaunt their eyes were blurred their shirts all soaked With sweat
They’re riding hard to catch that herd but they ain’t caught them yet
Cause they’ve got to ride forever on the range up in the sky
On horses snorting fire as they ride hard hear them cry

Yippie-yi-aie, Yippie-yi-oh!
Ghost riders in the sky

The riders rode 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 this devil herd across these endless skies

Yippie-yi-aie, Yippie-yi-oh!
Ghost riders in the sky
Ghost riders in the sky
Ghost riders in the sky

lyrics found on Geniuslyrics


Thanks for visiting! Peace โ˜ฎ๏ธ

ยฉ 2019 BS

10 responses »

  1. I really love this song and I had completely forgotten about it. I know you love ghost stories and this is a real good one, thanks for sharing this today Barbara. The end of this song really jams out!

  2. I did about half a dozen Battles of the Bands on this song a couple of years ago, I like it that much. My favorite versions are by Burl Ives and Johnny Cash, but there’s no such thing as a bad version of this. Great pick!

    • Thanks, John!
      It is a really good song. I might have caught one of your posts about it. I seem to remember the Burl Ives version.
      I was surprised by how many different languages this song was recorded in, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

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