Back in the Saddle Again

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"Back in the Saddle Again"
Single by Gene Autry
Released1939 (1939)
GenreWestern Classic
Songwriter(s)Gene Autry, Ray Whitley
Gene Autry singles chronology
"South of the Border"
"Back in the Saddle Again"
"Blueberry Hill"
"South of the Border"
"Back in the Saddle Again"
"Blueberry Hill"

"Back in the Saddle Again" was the signature song of American cowboy entertainer Gene Autry.[1] It was co-written by Autry with Ray Whitley and first released in 1939. The song was associated with Autry throughout his career and was used as the name of Autry's autobiography in 1976.[2] Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.[3]


Although the song has long been associated with Gene Autry, the original version of "Back in the Saddle Again" was written by Ray Whitley for the film Border G-Man (RKO Pictures, June 24, 1938) starring George O'Brian, Laraine Day, and Ray Whitley in which Ray Whitley and his Six Bar Cowboys sang the song. As Ray Whitley's Rangers, Whitley recorded the song for Decca Records on 26 October 1938, matrix number 64701, issued as Decca 5628 backed with "On the Painted Desert", matrix number 64703.

Gene Autry liked the song and together with Whitley revised it and recorded it in April 1939, then performed "Back in the Saddle Again" on film in Rovin' Tumbleweeds (Republic Pictures, November 16 1939), and introduced it as his theme song for Gene Autry's Melody Ranch which premiered over the CBS Radio Network on January 7, 1940 where the show ran until 1956. The song also became the title song for the Autry film Back in the Saddle (Republic Pictures, March 14, 1941).

Gene Autry recorded "Back in the Saddle Again" for the first time on April 18, 1939 in Los Angeles for Columbia Record Corporation, matrix number LA 1865, which was originally issued on Vocalion 05080.[4][5] LA 1865 also issued on the Conqueror, OKeh, and Columbia labels. Early Vocalion and Conqueror labels say "BACK TO THE SADDLE". Conqueror was a private label for Sears. In the U.K. markets LA 1865 issued on the EMI Regal Zonophone label. Gene Autry later made two additional commercial recordings of the song, both for Columbia. Matrix number HCO 1707 recorded on February 13, 1946 issued on the Columbia label. Matrix number RHCO 10195 recorded on June 19, 1952 also issued on Columbia.[5] The matrix number is found in the run-out groove area of the record and is often also shown on the record label. The prefix indicates the facility where the recording was made. Often there are several takes for a recording. The matrix number in the run-out area may also include a suffix to identify the take used for the issue.

In addition to being used as the theme for Autry's radio program, Gene Autry's Melody Ranch[6], "Back in the Saddle Again" was also used for The Gene Autry Show on television[7][8][9] as well as for personal appearances.

The 1993 film Sleepless in Seattle included "Back in the Saddle Again" as one of "a number of standards" heard in its soundtrack.[10]



78rpm commercial phonograph recordings and issues of "Back in the Saddle Again"

Session Date Matrix No.  Artist  Label and Issue Number
26 Oct 1938 64701 Ray Whitley's Rangers Decca 5628
18 Apr 1939 LA 1865 Gene Autry Vocalion 05080, OKeh 05080, Conqueror 9341, 9544, Columbia 20036, 37010
25 Feb 1942 DLA 2914 Eddie Dean Decca 6034
13 Feb 1946 HCO 1707 Gene Autry Columbia 20084, 37183 (included in Columbia Set C 120 Gene Autry's Western Classics), Columbia Hall of Fame 52026
19 Jun 1952 RHCO 10195 Gene Autry with Carl Cotner's Orchestra and the Cass County Boys MJV-148, 90168-V


  1. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 9 - Tennessee Firebird: American country music before and after Elvis. [Part 1]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.
  2. ^ Autry, Gene with Herskowitz, Mickey. (1978). Back in the Saddle Again. Doubleday & Company, Inc. ISBN 038503234X
  3. ^ Western Writers of America (2010). "The Top 100 Western Songs". American Cowboy. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014.
  4. ^ Cusic, Don (2007). Gene Autry: His Life and Career. McFarland. p. 84. ISBN 9780786430611. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  5. ^ a b Turner, Stan, "Gene Autry Discography", 1971
  6. ^ French, Jack & Siegel, David S. (eds.) (2014). "Radio Rides the Range: A Reference Guide to Western Drama on the Air, 1929-1967. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-7146-1. Pp. 77-78.
  7. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2009). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present. Random House Publishing Group. p. 521. ISBN 9780307483201. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  8. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2013). Television Introductions: Narrated TV Program Openings since 1949. Scarecrow Press. p. 141. ISBN 9780810892507. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  9. ^ Gene Autry Show Intro, YouTube
  10. ^ Russell, Deborah (July 17, 1993). "`Sleepless' Soundtrack Is Sleeper Hit" (PDF). Billboard. p. 9. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  11. ^ "'Back in the Saddle'". National Public Radio. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  12. ^ "GRAMMY Hall of Fame". Retrieved 3 December 2016.

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