Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?

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"Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?"
Paula Cole whatcg.jpg
Single by Paula Cole
from the album This Fire
B-side "Hush, Hush, Hush" (duet with Peter Gabriel
Released March 25, 1997
Format CD
Recorded 1995-1996
Genre Alternative rock, pop rock
Length 4:26 (Album Version)
3:47 (Album Edit/Radio Version)
Label Warner Bros.
Songwriter(s) Paula Cole
Producer(s) Paula Cole
Paula Cole singles chronology
"I Am So Ordinary"
"Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?"
"I Don't Want to Wait"
"I Am So Ordinary"
"Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?"
"I Don't Want to Wait"
Audio sample
"Where Have All The Cowboys Gone"

"Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?" is a song by Paula Cole. It is featured in her album This Fire. The song is Cole's only U.S. Top Ten hit on Billboard's Hot 100, reaching number 8. It is also Cole's only UK Top-40 hit to date, reaching number 15 on 22 June 1997. The song was also a critical success, nominated for three Grammys, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Besides, the song did help Cole become the Best New Artist.


The song received Grammy nominations for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance (losing to Sarah McLachlan's "Building a Mystery"), Record of the Year, and Song of the Year (the latter two losing to "Sunny Came Home" by Shawn Colvin).

Music video[edit]

The video was directed by Caitlin Felton. It is simple, primarily featuring Cole in the foreground singing or posing for the camera, while her band plays in the background. These shots are augmented by various shadowy or obscure images of people walking, sitting at a table, sitting in a car and riding a horse. There are several points where the video looks grainy, adding to the effect of the song.

"Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?" was nominated for Best Female Video at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards, losing to Jewel's "You Were Meant for Me".


Peak positions[edit]

Chart (1997) Peak
ARIA Charts[1] 32
Canada[2] 7
Germany 76
New Zealand[3] 32
UK Singles Chart[4] 15
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[5] 8
U.S. Billboard Adult Top 40 4
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play 10
United States Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 32
United States Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks[6] 27

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1997) Position
US Billboard Hot 100[7] 38


In a 2005 episode of The Simpsons, "Marge's Son Poisoning", Apu Nahasapeemapetilon performs the song in a karaoke competition, switching to the falsetto register for the "do-do-do, do-do-do" break.

In 2006, Paul Shanklin recorded a version for The Rush Limbaugh Show called "Where Have All the Conservatives Gone?", blaming the Democratic Party's gains in the United States 2006 midterm elections on a lack of conservatism on the part of elected Republicans.

In 2008, on the eve of the NBA Finals, sports songwriter Ryan Parker did a parody entitled "Where Have All The White Boys Gone?", referring to how the Boston Celtics, who were playing in that year's finals, had a significantly larger number of African-American players when compared to their successful 1980s squads.

In the 2009 Family Guy episode "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side", a spoof of The Empire Strikes Back, the song is used as a form of torture by the Sith on a captured Han Solo.

In the 2011 Xbox Live Arcade game Ms. Splosion Man, the player controlled character will sometimes sing a line from the song.

In Mika's 2015 song "Where Have all the Good Guys Gone," the first lines reference "Cowboys" and imply that the question was outdated before the song was even released: "It’s not the cowboys that are missing anymore//That problem was already old in ’94."


  1. ^ "PAULA COLE - WHERE HAVE ALL THE COWBOYS GONE? (SONG)". Retrieved 2016-03-03. 
  2. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-03-03. 
  3. ^ "PAULA COLE - WHERE HAVE ALL THE COWBOYS GONE? (SONG)". Retrieved 2016-03-03. 
  4. ^ "where+have+all+the+cowboys+gone - full Official Chart History - Official Charts Company". The Official UK Chart Company. Retrieved 2016-03-03. 
  5. ^ "Music: Top 100 Songs - Billboard Hot 100 Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-03-03. 
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 60. 
  7. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1997". Retrieved 2010-08-28. 

External links[edit]