Murphey was inspired to write "Geronimo's Cadillac" by a photograph showing Apache chief Geronimo at the wheel of a luxury roadster: this photograph was reproduced as a drawing on the back album cover of Geronimo's Cadillac and also on the picture sleeve of the single. The July/August 1987 issue of American Songwriter quotes Murphey as saying: "the two images together - Geronimo and a Cadillac - just struck me as a song title. It was every irony I could ever think of about our culture in two words. Their attempt to make of him what we would define as a civilized person. That was the reason they put him in a Cadillac in the first place. He was actually in jail at the time." The photograph was taken at a show for the US press held June 11, 1905 at a ranch located southwest of Ponca City, Oklahoma: Geronimo, then imprisoned at Fort Sill, is actually posed in a Locomobile rather than a Cadillac.
Released July 31, 1972 as a single - which edited the track's original 4:39 length to 3:21 - "Geronimo's Cadillac" reached #37 on the Hot 100 in Billboard magazine. The track also charted in Canada with a peak of #30 on the Top Singles chart in RPM magazine. "Geronimo's Cadillac" afforded Murphey his sole Hot 100 charting until "Wildfire" on Epic Records reached #3 in 1975. The success of "Wildfire" caused A&M to re-issue "Geronimo's Cadillac" with a new B-side: "Blessing in Disguise" a track from Murphey's 1973 album Cosmic Cowboy Souvenir, replacing "Boy From the Country." However this re-issue of "Geronimo's Cadillac" did not chart, failing to deflect interest from Epic's follow-up single release to "Wildfire": "Carolina in the Pines", which just fell short of the Top 20.