1961 The Ramrods – Ghost Riders In The Sky

1961 The Ramrods – Ghost Riders In The Sky 

When Stan Jones was barely twelve years old, a native American (perhaps an Apache) told him the locals believed at death their spirits joined ghosts in the sky that herded ghostly cattle. While staring at the sky, Stan and his friend felt they could make out the ghostly spirits of the riders, and that led to the lyrics of the song Ghost Riders In The Sky

Stan recorded the song in late 1948 or 1949. Burl Ives recorded a cover version in early 1949 and his single reached #21 on the US charts. It eclipsed his version in March when Vaughn Monroe released his own single version; that record topped the charts in late 1949.

The song went on to win a prestigious award when members of the Western Writers of America chose it as the greatest Western song of all time.

Many artists have covered the song since then, with one of the most surprising covers coming in 1960 from an instrumental group, The Ramrods. Claire Litke (aka Claire Lane) and her brother Rich Litke formed the group in 1956 and recorded a cover version of the song in 1960 that reached #30 on the Hot 100 in early 1961.

The group had little success after that cover and broke up completely by the early seventies.


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