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
ReleasedMarch 25, 1997
Length4:26 (Album Version)
3:47 (Album Edit/Radio Version)
LabelWarner 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"
Audio sample
"Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?"

"Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?" is a song by American artist Paula Cole. It was released in March 1997 as the lead single from her second studio album, This Fire. The song is Cole's only US Top Ten hit on Billboard's Hot 100, reaching number 8. It is also Cole's only Top-40 hit in the UK to date, reaching number 15. The song was also a Grammy success, nominated for three awards, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. The song helped Cole become the Best New Artist.

Style and theme[edit]

The song traces the stages of a tragic romance. The first two verses explore infatuation and discovery; a bridge expresses disillusionment, and a final verse changes to despair. A brief transition and chorus that repeats the song's title follows each verse, and questions the loss of the narrator's idyllic dream of spending her lifetime with a Western-styled hero. The song is written in 4/4 time and maintains a minor key throughout. The verse score is minimalist and includes only low, rasping vocals by Cole with percussion accompaniment, while the choral transitions, chorus, and bridge use the full instrumentation and Cole's mezzo-soprano range.


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.

The video was nominated for Best Female Video at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards, losing to Jewel's "You Were Meant for Me".



  1. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Paula Cole – Where Have All the Cowboys Gone". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  2. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-03-03.
  3. ^ "Musicline.de – Paula Cole Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  4. ^ "Charts.nz – Paula Cole – Where Have All the Cowboys Gone". Top 40 Singles.
  5. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  6. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  7. ^ "Music: Top 100 Songs - Billboard Hot 100 Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
  8. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 60.
  9. ^ "RPM Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1997". RPM. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  10. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1997". Retrieved 2010-08-28.

External links[edit]