Cowboys back in the days used to herd livestock for a living, and in history, the life of one wasn’t as simple and fun as we romanticize it to be.
With pop culture and how they have evolved with the times, they have become part of mainstream entertainment, especially with movies and even music.
Cowboy songs are mostly upbeat and depict how a cowboy would have lived in any era, we’re serious because there’s a horse-riding cowboy in a suburban neighborhood in this list.
10 Songs about Cowboys
1. “Rhinestone Cowboy” by Glen Campbell
The first song on the list is by far one of the catchiest tunes in here. Released in 1975 by Glen Campbell, it shows the hardships of a musician who wants to make it big in America while maintaining the grit of a cowboy.
Remember that this is 1975, there’s no other way to get your music out unless it’s played on the radio or you play live in bars or events. The song has a hustle to it and is the oldest song in this list.
The song also shows how a dreamer ultimately fulfills his dreams, where he said that “I’m gonna be where the lights are shining on me”, pretty much foreshadowing his own career as he went on to be one of the most awarded and top selling artists in the country.
2. “Cowboy Song” by Thin Lizzy
Released in 1976, the song is of a cowboy who can’t get a girl out of his head; it’s apparent how obsessed he is as the song starts in a slow, melancholic tune.
It’s interesting how it starts this way because you get surprised a few seconds after as it suddenly switches to a rock and roll tune. It’s a fun listen and is criminally underrated.
It depicts how fast the life of a cowboy goes, along with the spirit of never giving up and hitting the ground running. The song also sneaks in some innuendos here and there, which for the time, wasn’t necessarily a new trend, but for sure still surprised some listeners.
3. “Cowboy in LA” by Lany
The first song from the 2020s, Lany’s cowboy in LA is the perfect song to include in your playlist if you plan on driving a long route, especially if it’s at night. The serene feeling makes you want to just look out your window and linger.
The song is a story about how the cowboy differentiates himself from everyone else. While every other guy would pick to go out to the club and party with a crowd, the cowboy would rather be a gentleman and take the lady out for a real date.
And by the end of it all, the other girls would envy this girl because she gets treated right. I guess you can say that the song is exactly this phrase, “Chivalry isn’t dead”.
4. “Like A Cowboy” by Randy Houser
For a list about cowboy songs, you’d think we’d have a lot of country songs here, but this is only the first one. From 2013, the music video is really good and a fun fact about this song is in the video, you can literally see Randy Houser herding cow. That’s dedication to your role.
The song is about love and how the cowboy has to spend so much time working that he feels like he neglects his wife; but at the same time, he smothers her with love every single time he comes home.
5. “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X feat. Billy Ray Cyrus
Released last 2019, this song is by far one of the most popular ones in this list. Now, the definition of cowboy by Lil Nas X is definitely different from all the other ones here, but what do you expect? He just beat a car in a drag race with a horse. How much horsepower does his horse have?
From the lyrics we can see how, as a cowboy, he just doesn’t care what people think. He’ll bring his horse wherever he pleases, but he does brag about a couple of things he probably shouldn’t.
Having a legendary country artist featured in your song isn’t that bad either. Billy Ray Cyrus’ inclusion in the song was the icing on the cake and gave it that old school feel mixed with the new generation.
6. “Cowboy Like Me” by Taylor Swift
From her 2020 album called Evermore, Cowboy Like Me is another heart-wrenching song from Taylor Swift. As is the usual tone of her songs, it’s modern country and perfectly complements her voice.
This is another one of those songs that make you want to look out your window while the moon is out, reflect a little bit, just because it’s of love but somehow a bittersweet one. Two people who normally con others using their emotions meet and suddenly, they’re in love, but it’s not meant to be. Not in this story.
Out of all the songs in this list, this is the exception to the rule of love, especially with the line, I’m never gonna love again.” Ouch!
7. “Beach Cowboy” by Brian Kelley
Released in 2021… wait, that was last year, why does it feel like an eternity ago? Anyway, the song focuses on being a high baller, quite different from a normal cowboy.
This one is meant to make you think of a cowboy like a playboy, a guy who moves fast and works even faster. The ladies don’t really stand much of a chance with beach cowboy, but wait, does he ride horses or sharks?
There’s a huge difference compared to the traditional cowboy we know, but we have to admit that the beat kicks and it’s fun to see a cowboy with a Rolex and a bike.
8. “Cowboy” by Sunny Cowgirls
First of all, there should definitely be a dating app for cowboys called “Booty, Cowboy Tracker 2.0”, this song from 2016 is a very fun and upbeat country song. The story is about a girl who has a family who have already found their path or calling in life, unfortunately for her, she hasn’t. Sounds familiar?
Her dad lays it down on her that she needs to find something to do rather than freeload in their house, so what’s a single girl going to do? Well, find a cowboy, that’s what.
As cowboys in history normally herded cows for a living, it’s fun how the song embraces this piece of nostalgia.
9. “If I Was A Cowboy” by Miranda Lambert
If you’re ever in a situation where you can go to the beach, this song would be perfect while you walk along the shoreline. Released last 2021, the song is a mix of loving and freeing yourself from the common stereotypes of the world.
This is obvious with the lines, “If I was a cowboy, I’d be wild and free / Rollin’ around these towns like tumbleweeds / I’d be a legend at loving and leaving”. Cowboys don’t cheat that much right? Right?
To free one’s self from any inhibitions and just go for what you want, that’s how you’d feel with this playing in the background.
10. “All the Cowboys” by Alexandra Kay
While we know we asked if cowboys didn’t cheat that much, this song doesn’t help their case. The song from 2020 focuses on heartache. How love can be so one-sided. How painful it is when you give love and the person you love just goes away.
That’s called ghosting by the way. It’s a typical story of a good girl trying to change a bad boy, but remember, you can only change the people who want to change.
Full of regret and pain, this rounds out the list as a cowboy song you listen to when you’re at your lowest.
It’s been said that cowboy songs are born out of the isolation of living in the vast country wilderness. But through the years, with the amalgamation of different genres, cowboy songs take on new, varied flavors that are guaranteed to make you feel nostalgic, euphoric, and optimistic.
Joyce Ann graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies at New Era University. She especially enjoyed her journalism class and was nominated for Photojournalist of the Year. Joyce Anne loves music; she is a self-taught piano player. When she's not writing (or baking or watching documentaries), she's probably playing songs on the piano, mostly by ear.