Willie Nelson Gay Cowboy Song

First there was the Nut N’ Honey Crunch commercial in which five cowboys draw on their chuckwagon cook for the famous tagline “Nuttin’, Honey.”

Then there was the classic “South Park” episode where Cartman says that independent films are all about “gay cowboys eating pudding.”

Then there was “Brokeback Mountain,” which featured gay cowboys who were actually sheep herders.

Now, we have “Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly (Fond of Each Other)” Willie Nelson’s gay cowboy song.

Country music outlaw Willie Nelson sang “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” and “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” more than 25 years ago. He released a very different sort of cowboy anthem this Valentine’s Day. “Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly (Fond of Each Other)” may be the first gay cowboy song by a major recording artist. But it was written long before this year’s Oscar-nominated “Brokeback Mountain” made gay cowboys a hot topic.

Available exclusively through iTunes, the song features choppy Tex-Mex style guitar runs and Nelson’s deadpan delivery of lines like, “What did you think all them saddles and boots was about?” and “Inside every cowboy there’s a lady who’d love to slip out.”

The song, which debuted Tuesday on Howard Stern’s satellite radio show, was written by Texas-born singer-songwriter Ned Sublette in 1981. Sublette said he wrote it during the “Urban Cowboy” craze and always imagined Nelson singing it. Someone passed a copy of the song to Nelson back in the late 1980s and, according to Nelson’s record label, Lost Highway, he recorded it last year at his Pedernales studio in Texas.

Nelson has appeared in several Western movies and sings “He Was a Friend of Mine” on the “Brokeback Mountain” soundtrack.

This also puts the lyrics to “Pancho and Lefty” in a whole new light.


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    Years ago I noticed that the University of Wyoming Cowboys were often referred to as “the ‘Pokes.”

    I suspect if that has continued until now, it will change.

  2. TexMex says:

    This also puts the lyrics to “Pancho and Lefty” in a whole new light.

    Nelson didn’t write “Pancho and Lefty.” Noted philanderer and alcholic Townes Van Zandt wrote the tune.

  3. ICallMasICM says:

    Now I know why babies aren’t supposed to grow up to be cowboys.