My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys (song)

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"My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys"
Single by Willie Nelson
from the album The Electric Horseman
B-side "Rising Star (Love Theme)"
Released January 1980
Genre Country
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Sharon Vaughn
Producer(s) Sydney Pollack
Larry Rosen
Willie Nelson singles chronology
"Help Me Make It Through the Night"
"My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys"
"Midnight Rider"

"My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys" was recorded by Waylon Jennings on the 1976 album Wanted! The Outlaws, and further popularized in 1980 by Willie Nelson as a single on the soundtrack to The Electric Horseman. "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys" was written by Sharon Vaughn and Nelson's version was his fifth number one on the country chart. The single stayed at number one for two weeks and spent a total of fourteen weeks on the country chart.[1]

Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.[2]


The narrator compares his child dream to become a cowboy and the reality he faces when he actually became a cowboy, and finds a strong contrast between the two.[3]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1980) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 44
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks 3


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 245. 
  2. ^ Western Writers of America (2010). "The Top 100 Western Songs". American Cowboy. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Randall, Alice; Carter Little; Courtney Little (2006). My Country Roots: The Ultimate MP3 Guide to America's Original Outsider Music. Thomas Nelson, Inc. p. 92. ISBN 1-59555-860-8. 
Preceded by
"I Ain't Living Long Like This"
by Waylon Jennings
Billboard Hot Country Singles
number-one single

March 8-March 15, 1980
Succeeded by
"Why Don't You Spend the Night"
by Ronnie Milsap
Preceded by
"Daydream Believer"
by Anne Murray
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

March 29-April 5, 1980
Succeeded by
"I Ain't Living Long Like This"
by Waylon Jennings