The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy

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"The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy"
Promotional single by Chris Stapleton
from the album Toy Story 4
ReleasedJune 5, 2019
FormatDigital download
LabelWalt Disney
Songwriter(s)Randy Newman

"The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy" is song written and composed by Randy Newman, and performed by Chris Stapleton, for the soundtrack of the Disney/Pixar feature film Toy Story 4. The song was released as a single on June 5, 2019, and was met with a positive reception from critics.

Background and composition[edit]

Randy Newman, known for his work as composer and songwriter on the Toy Story films, was confirmed to be returning for Toy Story 4.[1] "The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy", the film's main single, written by Newman and performed by Chris Stapleton, was revealed and released on June 5, 2019.[2] The song is performed through the perspective of Sheriff Woody, the film's main character, because, according to Newman, "[Woody] feels like he was a lonesome cowboy until someone comes along and changes his world."[3] Newman was particularly pleased by the fact that Stapleton performs the song, while Stapleton felt that "[i]t's a tremendous honor to get to sing a Randy Newman song in what is without question one of the most iconic animated franchises in history. The song shares the same melody as an earlier Newman piece called "the Ballad of the Three Amigos" which appeared in the opening scene of that film."[3]

Music video[edit]

On June 5, 2019, a lyric video of the song was released.[4]

Other versions[edit]

Randy Newman will perform a version for the soundtrack of Toy Story 4.[3]


Rania Aniftos of Billboard praised the song's melody as "catchy".[2] Nick Evans of CinemaBlend positively compared the song to Newman's previous songs from the Toy Story films, writing: "In keeping with the tradition of Toy Story songs, Randy Newman’s “The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy” is equal parts tear-jerking and heartwarming".[5] Similarly, Ming Lee Newcomb of Consequences of Music compared the song to Newman's "You've Got a Friend in Me" from the original film, writing that "the charming Western ballad is similarly feel-good and kid-friendly".[6] Angela Stefano of The Boot wrote that "[n]ot only is Pixar making childhood dreams come true with the release of a new Toy Story movie, they're making [their] country music dreams come true, too" praising Newman's lyrics as "heartfelt yet childlike" and Stapleton's singing as "instantly recognizable".[7]


  1. ^ "D23: Pixar Previews 'Finding Dory' and 'Toy Story 4'".
  2. ^ a b Aniftos, Rania. "Chris Stapleton's 'The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy' Off the 'Toy Story 4' Soundtrack Is Here: Listen". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-06-06. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |website= (help)
  3. ^ a b c "Press Kit" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  4. ^ "The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy (From "Toy Story 4"/Official Lyric Video)" – via
  5. ^ "The Toys Come To Life In Video For Toy Story 4's Tear-Jerking Song". CINEMABLEND. June 5, 2019.
  6. ^ "Hear Chris Stapleton's heartwarming addition to the Toy Story 4 soundtrack: Stream". June 5, 2019.
  7. ^ Stefano, Angela. "LISTEN: Chris Stapleton Has a Song in 'Toy Story 4'". The Boot.