Empty Saddles (in the Old Corral)

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Record label for Bing Crosby's 1936 Decca recording of "Empty Saddles"

"Empty Saddles (in the Old Corral)" is a classic American cowboy song written by Billy Hill. Hill based the song on a poem by J. Keirn Brennan grieving for lost companions.[1] The song became widely known to the public in July 1936, when Bing Crosby sang it with deep emotion in the Paramount musical Rhythm on the Range,[2] and his Decca recording of it, made on July 14, 1936 with Victor Young and His Orchestra,[3] reached the Top 10 that September.[4]

Crosby's recording of this and other "country" songs gave them a legitimacy by showing that they could appeal to pop sophisticates as well as rural audiences. He performed them with integrity and did not "look down his nose" at the music.[5]

"Empty Saddles" was later recorded by many artists, including the Sons of the Pioneers, Johnny Bond, and Sons of the San Joaquin.[2] Particularly notable recordings were by Roy Rogers (1947), Burl Ives (1961), Dean Martin (1966), and Jimmie Rodgers (1983).[4]

Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.[6]


  1. ^ Reynolds, Fred (1986). The Crosby Collection 1926-1977 (Part Two - 1935-1941 ed.). Gateshead, UK: John Joyce. p. 35. 
  2. ^ a b "The Last Roundup - A Tribute to Songwriter Billy Hill". AmericanMusicPreservation.com. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  3. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved April 17, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b "Song:Empty Saddles". Shapiro Bernstein. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  5. ^ Cusic, Don (2011). "25 - Bing Crosby and Country Music". The Cowboy in Country Music: An Historical Survey with Artist Profiles. McFarland. pp. 112–113. ISBN 978-0786486052. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  6. ^ Western Writers of America (2010). "The Top 100 Western Songs". American Cowboy. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014. 

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