Ghost Riders In the Sky

Words & Music by Stan Jones
Recorded by Vaughn Monroe*, 1949 (#1)

Em                                  G 
An old cowpoke went riding out one dark and windy day; 

  Em                         G               B7 
Upon a ridge he rested as he went along his way, 

When all at once a mighty herd of red-eyed cows he saw, 

   C                   Am              Em 
A-plowin' through the ragged skies and up a cloudy draw. 


           G               Em   C          Am     Em 
Yip-pie-ya-aye, yip-pie-yi-o, ghost riders in the sky. 

      Em                                   G 
Their brands were still on fire and their hooves were made of steel, 

      Em                                   G                 B7 
Their horns wuz black and shiny and their hot breath he could feel; 

A bolt of fear went through him as they thundered through the sky, 

       C              Am                 Em 
For he saw the riders comin' hard and he heard their mournful cry. 

Repeat Refrain: 

Their faces gaunt, their eyes were blurred, 

Their shirts all soaked with sweat; 
        Em                                  G                        B7 
They're ridin' hard to catch that herd, but they ain't caught 'em yet; 

They've got to ride forever in that range up in the sky, 

    C               Am            Em 
On horses snortin' fire, as they ride on, hear their cry. 

Repeat Refrain: 

       Em                         G 
As the riders loped on by him, he heard one call his name; 

        Em                                   G            B7 
"If you want to save your soul from hell a' ridin' on our range, 

Then cowboy change your ways today or with us you will ride, 

  C                   Am            Em 
A-tryin' to catch the Devil's herd across these endless skies." 

Repeat Refrain: 


C           Am      G 
Ghost riders in the sky. 

Originally popularized in the movie of the same name (and sung there by Gene Autry) this version is probably most widely-remembered today. Competing versions by Peggy Lee (# 2), Bing Crosby (#14), and Burl Ives (# 21) were all recorded the same year.

The lyric and guitar chord transcriptions on this site are the work of The Guitarguy and are intended for private study, research, or educational purposes only. Individual transcriptions are inspired by and and based upon the recorded versions cited, but are not necessarily exact replications of those recorded versions.