(GHOST) RIDERS IN THE SKY - chords and comments


Scared to death of a ghost tale an old cowboy friend told him during a working mission, 12-year old Stanley Davis "Stan" Jones (1914-1963) hurried back home to hide. About 20 years later he remembered the scene on his forest range, and wrote THE ultimate cowboy song.
I don't remember when I heard it the first time, nor with who; it was written 8 years before I was born. But it has always followed me. I've had a life-long attraction to cowboy songs, and I'm not ashamed. About the age Stan got scared, I'd started picking up songs, learning to play the guitar. I couldn't pick up all the words, so I spent money on buying the notes postally from "Musikkforlaget Norge". Rats; they sent me a folder with truncated lyrics and piano tab in G minor; impossible to play with simple guitar. Same shit happened when I ordered the original of "Old Man River". Fraud!
Not many today know about "the singing ranger", but I came upon a site in memory of Stan Jones, including recordings (mp3) of other songs he wrote: mainly western songs. I adore it: cozy and thrilling tunes. Click the icon at the bottom of this page to know about a songwriter now more or less forgotten.
Legacy: (Ghost)Riders in the Sky was first recorded by Stan himself, late 1948. Rumours spread, and in spring 1949 Burl Ives, Vaughn Monroe, Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee, Sons of the Pioneers and Spike Jones(!) almost simultanously released versions. Most successful was Vaughn Monroe (with Orchestra and the Moon Men), reaching the top of the Billboard Charts and ranked as #1 Song for 1949. Latest recording so far: heavy metal band "Devil Driver" in 2018 for album "Outlaws 'till the End".
Bm                                  D
an old cowpoke went ridin' out one dark and windy day
  Bm                          D
upon a ridge he rested as he went along his way
     Bm
when all at once a mighty herd of red-eyed cows he saw
G                   Emt             Bm
coming through the ragged skies and up a cloudy draw

Bm        D              Bm
yippie-yi-aie  yippie-yi-oh
G          Em7     Bm
ghost herd in the sky
B minor
Bm
D major
D
G major
G
E minor seventh
Em7
Stan Jones