If you are a fan of country/western music, you might have heard of the song “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend”. This song was written in 1948 by Stan Jones, an American songwriter, film and television actor. The song is based on a folk tale of a cowboy who sees a vision of ghostly cattle and cowboys in the sky, and is warned to change his ways or join them in their eternal chase. The song has been recorded by hundreds of artists, including Gene Autry, Johnny Cash, Bing Crosby, Frankie Laine, Marty Robbins and The Outlaws. The song is considered one of the greatest Western songs of all time by the Western Writers of America.

The song has a catchy melody that is derived from the Civil War-era song “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”. The lyrics tell a story of a cowboy who rides out on a dark and windy day, and sees a herd of red-eyed cows with steel hooves plowing through the sky, followed by ghost riders who are doomed to chase them forever. One of the riders tells him that they are the spirits of cowboys who never repented of their sins, and that he should change his ways or he will join them in their endless pursuit. The cowboy is terrified by the sight and prays for mercy.

The song has been adapted into different genres and styles, such as rock, metal, bluegrass, folk and instrumental. Some versions have changed the lyrics or added new verses to suit the artist’s interpretation. The song has also been featured in several movies and TV shows, such as Riders in the Sky (1949), Ghost Rider (2007), The Blues Brothers (1980) and SpongeBob SquarePants (2000). The song is a classic example of how a simple folk tale can inspire generations of musicians and listeners.