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Willie Nelson Sings a Bittersweet Rendition of “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys”

Willie Nelson + My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

Legendary musician Willie Nelson stirs up our hearts with his own version of Waylon Jennings’ single “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys.” Originally recorded by Jennings for his 1976 album Wanted! The Outlaws, Nelson made it popular as part of the Western comedy-drama film The Electric Horseman in 1979. 

Nelson’s version of the song entered the US Billboard Country Charts and peaked at No. 1 in 1980, making it his fifth number one on the charts. In the same year, it also reached No. 1 in the Canadian RPM Country Tracks and No. 3 in Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks.

It’s included among the list of Top 100 Western Songs of All Time ranked by the Western Writers of America.

Meaning Behind the Song

“My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” was composed by Sharon Vaughn, who has written smash records for Reba McEntire, The Oak Ridge Boys, Kenny Rogers, Claire Richards, and other big names in the music industry. The song was her most notable songwriting success when Waylon Jennings released it as a single in 1976. Then Nelson came into the picture and popularized it during the late 1970s.

The bittersweet experience of achieving the cowboy dream can be costly, for it takes an emotional toll and a heavy burden. In every hardship and sacrifice for such a luxurious lifestyle is the abandonment of any attachment to romantic relationships and burning out their youth. Giving in to temptations and pleasures may lead to forgetting one’s passion. Despite all this, the singer’s admiration for cowboys did not falter. But from this situation, one might ask of the essence of all the glitz and glamor if you’ve got no place to belong at all.

Nelson’s warm and relaxed style of singing brings out the meaning of the song and evokes old memories and hurdles of being a cowboy. Truly a masterpiece of a rendition that will forever linger in the country outlaw.

Now, sit back, and reminisce about your childhood heroes while listening to Willie Nelson‘s “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys.”

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