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Czarcasm
04-22-2011, 09:44 AM
(warning-YouTube links)When it comes to timeless classics, I think this one defines the term. I don't think I've heard a real bad version, but I know that I've had the pleasure of listening to dozens of good takes on this masterpiece. My favorite is actually the first one, released by Burl Ives (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2klh2cTa_Q&feature=related), while my second favorite is Neil La Vang (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMdS9ExnW-w&feature=related) from(believe it or not) The Lawrence Welk Show.

Zeldar
04-22-2011, 09:52 AM
The definitive version for me is the first I ever heard: Vaughn Monroe - Riders in the Sky - 1965 concert performance (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyDNnQbbkSQ) and YouTube doesn't appear to have that original version up.

Czarcasm
04-22-2011, 09:56 AM
The definitive version for me is the first I ever heard: Vaughn Monroe - Riders in the Sky - 1965 concert performance (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyDNnQbbkSQ) and YouTube doesn't appear to have that original version up.Vaughn Monroe made the song famous in '49, but Burl Ives released it first a month earlier.

Zeldar
04-22-2011, 10:21 AM
Vaughn Monroe made the song famous in '49, but Burl Ives released it first a month earlier.

Just to clarify: the "original" I referred to was Monroe's 1949 version. I heard it on the radio at roughly that time. I have yet to hear the Ives version. I'll check out your link to remedy that. Right now.

Nothing against Burl, I have loved many of his renditions of other songs and his acting chops, but I much prefer Vaughn's take on the Riders.

blondebear
04-22-2011, 10:30 AM
I'm a fan of the version by Marty Robbins (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1xSYyMDaq4).

kenobi 65
04-22-2011, 10:35 AM
I enjoy Johnny Cash (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mynzbmrtp9I)'s version, as well as the "rock" version by the Outlaws (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYNTSejc0zY).

Ogre
04-22-2011, 10:36 AM
Big fan of Johnny Cash's and Willie Nelson's live duet (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fdCuRKatjs).

Not a big fan of Debbie Harry's (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dt0mJDzTbyo&feature=related) version.

Czarcasm
04-22-2011, 10:50 AM
Not a big fan of Debbie Harry's (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dt0mJDzTbyo&feature=related) version.It sure as hell beats Sha Na Na's version. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iifoq3VKYW8&feature=related)

Gary T
04-22-2011, 11:16 AM
Vaughn Monroe's rendition has tempo, vocals, and instrumentation that I find quite pleasing and suitable to the song, which I can't say about many other versions. But Monroe also does two things that REALLY make it stand out to me. The first is that the first chorus says "ghost herd in the sky." Since the first verse has only mentioned the cows, and NOT the cowboys yet, this makes the narrative flow effortlessly in terms of being perfectly sensible. Ives is the only other I have noticed doing this. The second is that in the third verse, the pauses between lines are omitted. This has the effect of making it a bit frenetic, increasing the intensity, and thus creating a climax. I haven't observed anyone else doing this. In my view, these two touches put this rendering head and shoulders above all others. To me, it's like most of the rest don't really get it.

Arkcon
04-22-2011, 11:47 AM
"Bluegrass?"

"Riders"

"Duck, gimme a mountain tempo in A-minor"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8sJm7ZecR8

Alright, I know it's cheesy, but I always did enjoy Riders, and it was a nice way to do homage to the other film, and they do sing it well.

Czarcasm
04-22-2011, 11:54 AM
"Bluegrass?"

"Riders"

"Duck, gimme a mountain tempo in A-minor"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8sJm7ZecR8

Alright, I know it's cheesy, but I always did enjoy Riders, and it was a nice way to do homage to the other film, and they do sing it well.And they did the original first chorus with "ghost herd"!

Bosstone
04-22-2011, 11:56 AM
"Bluegrass?"

"Riders"

"Duck, gimme a mountain tempo in A-minor"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8sJm7ZecR8

Alright, I know it's cheesy, but I always did enjoy Riders, and it was a nice way to do homage to the other film, and they do sing it well.I was looking for this! This is the version I usually listen to on Youtube when I want to hear this song. Come on, it's Goodman and Aykroyd. Not to mention John Popper threw in a cameo with the harmonica.

Czarcasm
04-22-2011, 12:05 PM
I was looking for this! This is the version I usually listen to on Youtube when I want to hear this song. Come on, it's Goodman and Aykroyd. Not to mention John Popper threw in a cameo with the harmonica.
Damn! He has put on a few pounds since then!

Peremensoe
04-22-2011, 12:34 PM
Buckethead, "Ghost Riders in the Dub" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jrxYC-dgSQ)

Lots of people just don't get dub at all--the "values" of the music are pretty different from pop forms--but I think the airiness and surreality fit the theme well.

Skywatcher
04-22-2011, 12:44 PM
I like Gene Autry's version (http://www.archive.org/download/GeneAutry-01-10/GeneAutry-GhostRidersInTheSky.mp3) best. This MP3 file is in my Fallout: New Vegas custom station.

pohjonen
04-22-2011, 12:58 PM
I always liked the instrumental version by the Ramrods. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eknVLLdhjk) Mostly because I enjoyed the mental picture of all the cattle huddled around the microphone.

Thudlow Boink
04-22-2011, 01:10 PM
We had a thread about this 6 years ago (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=309876), but probably more has become available on YouTube since then (though alas, the one I mentioned there is not).

johnpost
04-22-2011, 01:37 PM
Ives has two versions.

Riders in the Sky (a group of eggheads, who are also musicians, who took a liking to the name) have released it a couple of times. In addition to being musicians they also do Riders Radio Theater a radio serial.

Miller
04-22-2011, 04:55 PM
One thing I always thought was a little odd about this song - the idea that this is supposed to be the ghost rider's punishment. Spending all eternity riding the range and moving a herd of cattle along sounds like it ought to be cowboy heaven, not cowboy hell.

tripthicket
04-22-2011, 05:39 PM
One thing I always thought was a little odd about this song - the idea that this is supposed to be the ghost rider's punishment. Spending all eternity riding the range and moving a herd of cattle along sounds like it ought to be cowboy heaven, not cowboy hell.
Maybe, especially if said ghost riders were just moseying along with a slow-moving herd. The scenario here is that the herd is doing the next best thing to stampeding, on the run as fast as they can go. The riders are described as having their shirts "all soaked with sweat." They are riding as fast and as hard as they can to catch the herd, because everyone knows you have to stop a stampede, or else there might be a few less hamburgers in the world.

The hell of it would seem to be that the cowboys are engaged in an activity that non-cowboys might look at as what cowboys love to do, but consider these ghost riders are doing it as hard as they can, forever, and they'll never be able to catch the herd, nor can they ever stop or even slow down to rest.

Think of your favorite thing to do. Yes, even that. Now imagine doing it as hard and as fast as you've ever been able to do it, maybe even harder and faster than that. Now imagine never, ever, EVER being able to stop or slow down. Sooner or later, even if it's years or decades or centuries later, your pleasure will turn to torment.

Of course, not trying to harsh on your opinion, Miller, but that's my take on it.

Chronos
04-22-2011, 05:43 PM
Except they never quite catch up to the herd. There's no lassoing them and bringing them in and sitting around the fire with beans and a harmonica, just the endless chase.

Miller
04-22-2011, 05:43 PM
That's a good take. I hadn't considered it that way before.

silenus
04-22-2011, 05:49 PM
Without a doubt the best version - Johnny Cash and Friends (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5HRSmLlaiA).

Zeldar
04-22-2011, 05:51 PM
In case y'all haven't bothered with it, here's the Wiki story:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/(Ghost)_Riders_in_the_Sky:_A_Cowboy_Legend

Maybe somebody can help me find the story behind the song that Stan Jones was watching an approaching storm when the idea came to him.

Wiki says:Jones said that he had been told the story when he was 12 years old by an old cowboy friend.[3] The story resembles the northern European mythic Wild Hunt.

NDP
04-22-2011, 06:00 PM
Except they never quite catch up to the herd. There's no lassoing them and bringing them in and sitting around the fire with beans and a harmonica, just the endless chase.

Quite true. It is what is called a Sisyphean Task (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisyphus#.22Sisyphean_task.22).

Incidentally, while we're on the subject of mythology, "Ghost Rider in the Sky" is a modern retelling of the old European myth of The Wild Hunt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Hunt).

For the record, my favorite version of the song is one by Dick Dale (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6M6kd8cmpI&feature=related) (which he blends with "Apache").

Steophan
04-22-2011, 06:55 PM
Without a doubt the best version - Johnny Cash and Friends (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5HRSmLlaiA).

I've just listened to all the versions in this thread, and this is the best! Although for seriousness, Marty Robbins just takes it over Cash's original.

Thanks to the OP for starting this thread!

ElvisL1ves
04-22-2011, 07:29 PM
The Spike Jones version (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4bMHp3nEIQ) may ruin the song for you forever. Beware.

"This is a cowboy legend? Oy!"

DesertDog
04-23-2011, 12:55 AM
Except they never quite catch up to the herd. There's no lassoing them and bringing them in and sitting around the fire with beans and a harmonica, just the endless chase.Besides, cowboy heaven would be a $3 whore and an endless bottle of whiskey (or beer, depending).

Zoe
04-23-2011, 01:20 AM
You can't leave out a cowboy's horse in heaven.

Zeldar, do you remember seeing a version of how and why that particular song was written? Still, the father (grandfather?) may well have swiped the idea from The Wild Hunt.

Czarcasm, this is one of my all time favorite songs. It has always given me chills to hear it. Good thread!

Zeldar
04-23-2011, 08:10 AM
Zeldar, do you remember seeing a version of how and why that particular song was written? Still, the father (grandfather?) may well have swiped the idea from The Wild Hunt.

If you're thinking about something on TV about the backstory of the writing of the song, then perhaps I did see such a thing. However, the thing I'm vaguely remembering is more along the lines of
http://www.jukkajoutsi.com/jonesstan.html

B) An impressionable 12 year old rode to the top of an Arizona hill one afternoon with an old cowboy friend by the name of Cap Watts to check a windmill quite a ways out of town. A big storm was building and they needed to lock the blades down before the wind hit. When finished, they paused to watch the clouds darken and spread across the sky.
As lightning flashed, Cap told the boy to watch closely and he would see the Devil's Herd, their eyes red and hooves flashing, stampede ahead of phantom horsemen. Cap warned the youth that if he didn't watch himself, he would someday be up there with them, chasing steers for all eternity. The terrified boy jumped on his horse and took off for the the safety of home. Years later, he recalled that scary, dark afternoon and on his 34th birthday, Stan Jones sat outside his Death Valley home and wrote "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky."

This is close enough to what I'm trying to remember that it may well be the very thing -- unless somebody's else's version gives even more details.

A search on "stan jones ghost riders cap watts" produced Echoes: Ghost riders in the sky (http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/column.php?id=62235) and dozens more hits that I have yet to investigate.

Chefguy
04-23-2011, 08:55 AM
My stepfather was a bartender for a lot of years and pretty much hated all music. The only song he could abide was the Monroe version of Ghost Riders. I always thought he was weird for not liking music, but respected his choice of this classic.

Zeldar
04-23-2011, 09:05 AM
This may be of some interest to fans of this thread:
http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/The_Wild_Hunt/70124586?trkid=2361637#height945

The Wild Hunt (2009)
(http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1493886/)

Looks like the DVD may not be out yet.

Zoe
04-23-2011, 04:01 PM
Zeldar, that sounds like what I saw. I was thinking the old man wrote the song, but it was the kid after he was grown. The older man could have had the legend passed down to him.

kunilou
04-23-2011, 07:40 PM
Think of your favorite thing to do. Yes, even that. Now imagine doing it as hard and as fast as you've ever been able to do it, maybe even harder and faster than that. Now imagine never, ever, EVER being able to stop or slow down. Sooner or later, even if it's years or decades or centuries later, your pleasure will turn to torment.

If your stampede lasts longer than four hours, seek medical attention.

To me Johnny Cash edges out Monroe, primarily because Cash's voice is more gritty.

Rick
04-23-2011, 11:24 PM
Big fan of Johnny Cash's and Willie Nelson's live duet (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fdCuRKatjs).

Not a big fan of Debbie Harry's (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dt0mJDzTbyo&feature=related) version.

It sure as hell beats Sha Na Na's version. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iifoq3VKYW8&feature=related)And now for something completely different, Scatman Crothers' version (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBYAis7akKw&feature=related). Not traditional.

ElvisL1ves
04-24-2011, 06:07 AM
Mario del Monaco (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7utTxalDLQ&feature=related)'s version is Verdiesque.

But seriously, Monroe and Cash both had the proper ominous timbre in their voices for this song, but all others listed here are just trying hard.

SirRay
04-24-2011, 01:46 PM
Silly folks, you can't merengue to the Johnny Cash version...Ned Sublette's version (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwfOdB8Dbgk), however...

msmith537
04-24-2011, 03:07 PM
Much like the song Iron Man by Black Sabbath, this song was used in a comic book movie (Ghost Rider) that has little to do with the song other than sharing the same name.

Chronos
04-24-2011, 07:43 PM
Mario del Monaco's version is Verdiesque.Now that's Spaghetti Western.

Spit
04-25-2011, 10:45 AM
(warning-YouTube links)When it comes to timeless classics, I think this one defines the term. I don't think I've heard a real bad version, but I know that I've had the pleasure of listening to dozens of good takes on this masterpiece. My favorite is actually the first one, released by Burl Ives (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2klh2cTa_Q&feature=related), while my second favorite is Neil La Vang (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMdS9ExnW-w&feature=related) from(believe it or not) The Lawrence Welk Show.

I don't believe it You have actually found something I can listen to on the Lawrence Welk Show. Why the hell didn't they play this on one of those nights I was forced to watch with my Grandparents?!?

Muffin
04-25-2011, 11:16 AM
I'm picturing the late Burl Ives as Santa sledding through the sky, singing Ghost Riders . . .

Muffin
04-25-2011, 11:19 AM
Buckethead, "Ghost Riders in the Dub" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jrxYC-dgSQ)Thanks for the link -- that was terrific!

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