Favorite Western Songs

The Grammy Awards are coming up, on February 8, and thinking about the awards show also started me thinking about western songs and songs in western movies. I recently saw Rio Bravo (1959), starring John Wayne, Dean Martin, and Ricky Nelson, and was struck by the performance of the song “My Rifle, My Pony, And Me.” In the scene, the main characters are gathered in the jail, and, for two minutes or so, the plot is abandoned, and we have a nice little duet with Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson singing the song. The only real motivation that I can imagine is that, if you have Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson in a movie together, how can you not have them sing?

I don’t know if this my favorite song performed in a western, but it’s a pleasant and memorable moment in the film.

So, in honor of the Grammy Awards, I thought I would ask, what is your favorite song from a western film and/or  favorite western song (whether that song has been part of a film or not)?

You can use the comment link at the end of this entry to name your favorite western song (and say a little bit about it if you wish).

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6 Responses to “Favorite Western Songs”

  1. Michael K. Johnson Says:

    P.S. I’m also fond of Tom Russell’s “When Sinatra Played Juarez.”

  2. Lesley Brown Says:

    I don’t think it’s necessarily a great song, but the theme song from High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling) never leaves my head. I haven’t seen that movie in over 30 years, and yet the song pops into my head regularly.

    I like all the old raunchy western songs, and among the overly familiar western songs, Tumblin Tumbleweeds will remain my favorite because the harmony is just so good. The PBS special _American Roots Music_ has a good section on western music and its influence on what we now consider to be Roots Music.
    My favorite song to sing is an old song called “My Love is a Rider,” which can be found in a book called _He Was Singin’ That Song_ by Jim Bob Tinsley, U Press of Florida, 1981.

    Favorite verse: My love has a gun that has gone to the bad/ And that makes my lover feel pretty damned sad/ For the gun it shoots high, and the gun it shoots low/ And it wobbles around like a bucking bronco.

  3. david cremean Says:

    My favorite two (among the many, many I love) are more contemporary: John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” and Michael Murphey’s “Carolina in the Pines.” Many lasting personal connections.

    Filmically, probably Marty Stuart’s closing song to the mediocre film version of “Pretty Horses,” “So Far Away.”

  4. Jim Price Says:

    Three of the best are Ghost Riders In The Sky, Mr.Shorty
    and The Streets of Laredo.Now this is real western music,
    and Strawberry Roan and El Paso City are pretty good
    as well.

  5. drtombibey Says:

    Hello there. My name is Dr. Tom Bibey. As far as I know my blog is the only physician bluegrass fiction blog on wordpress. I hope to post favorite songs from around the world today and would love your input. I’m an old bluegrass guy, but by no means do I want the songs to be limited to that genre. Hope you’ll come visit.

    Dr. B

  6. Kelly Says:

    “Tomorrow is the song I sing”, and “Butterfly Mornins, Wildflower Afternoons” are probably my absolute favorite western film songs… well… I guess that entire soundtrack is amazing. Just thought I would throw that out there. Sam Peckinpaw movies always have the best music :)


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