Thursday, July 11, 2013

"(Ghost) Riders In the Sky" by The Outlaws

Song#:  0450
Date:  12/27/1980
Debut:  83
Peak:  31
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Southern Rock, Country Rock

Pop Bits:  This Tampa band had several stops and starts and line-up changes before finally releasing their self-titled debut release in 1975. That album featured the #34 chart song "There Goes Another Love Song." They continued to release albums through the 70s and gathered a solid following thanks to their successful tours. Although labeled as a Southern rock band, their sound also featured vocal harmonies that were more inline with groups like Poco. In 1980, they issued the LP "Ghost Riders" and this first single became their biggest pop hit. Unfortunately, it would also be their last. After a couple more albums the group initially called it quits in 1982. Different iterations of the group popped up in later years and recorded albums, but the group's prime period is considered the late-70s/early-80s era.

ReduxReview:  I've heard this song too many times - and not by choice. It was practically a staple song to be done in a country show or in a country bar band were I was in Branson. If done right, it is a haunting folk song. But most of the time I've heard it done for laughs or parodied. I will say this is the first time I've really heard a rocked-up version. The Outlaws do a pretty good job with it until they really take off in that amp'ed up Southern rock sound in the last quarter of the song. Ugh. (If you follow my posts you will know I'm not a huge fan of Southern rock.) Actually, I can't believe this peaked in the Top 40. Strange time and song to do so. (Not loving this song, but on the album the second track is "White Horses" and it is pretty tasty. Check it out.)

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The Outlaws were the very first act signed by Clive Davis for the Arista label.  2) This is a remake of a folk-tale song written in 1948 by Stan Jones. The first recording of it was by Burl Ives in 1949. The first appearance on the modern pop chart was in 1961 when the Ramrods took the song to #30, but beating out The Outlaws' #31 peak to be the highest the song has made it on the chart. It has been covered by many artists including Johnny Cash, Peggy Lee, Elvis Presley, and even Deborah Harry (Blondie). It has also been mentioned that the song provided inspiration for The Door's song "Riders On the Storm."


1 comment:

  1. This version of the song makes me want to punch a baby. The whole family singing "ghost riders in the sky" part where they are (?) harmonizing (?) is particularly aggravating.