Ghost Riders In the SkyWords & Music by Stan Jones
Recorded by Vaughn Monroe*, 1949 (#1)
Em G An old cowpoke went riding out one dark and windy day; Em G B7 Upon a ridge he rested as he went along his way, Em When all at once a mighty herd of red-eyed cows he saw, C Am Em A-plowin' through the ragged skies and up a cloudy draw. Refrain: G Em C Am Em Yip-pie-ya-aye, yip-pie-yi-o, ghost riders in the sky. Em G Their brands were still on fire and their hooves were made of steel, Em G B7 Their horns wuz black and shiny and their hot breath he could feel; Em A bolt of fear went through him as they thundered through the sky, C Am Em For he saw the riders comin' hard and he heard their mournful cry. Repeat Refrain: Em Their faces gaunt, their eyes were blurred, G Their shirts all soaked with sweat; Em G B7 They're ridin' hard to catch that herd, but they ain't caught 'em yet; Em They've got to ride forever in that range up in the sky, C Am Em On horses snortin' fire, as they ride on, hear their cry. Repeat Refrain: Em G As the riders loped on by him, he heard one call his name; Em G B7 "If you want to save your soul from hell a' ridin' on our range, Em Then cowboy change your ways today or with us you will ride, C Am Em A-tryin' to catch the Devil's herd across these endless skies." Repeat Refrain: Coda: C Am G Ghost riders in the sky.
Originally popularized in the movie of the same name (and sung there by Gene Autry) this version is probably most widely-remembered today. Competing versions by Peggy Lee (# 2), Bing Crosby (#14), and Burl Ives (# 21) were all recorded the same year.