35 Years Ago: Willie Nelson Hits No. 1 With ‘My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys’
Thirty-five years ago today (March 8, 1980), Willie Nelson rode to the top of the charts with his single “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys.”
The song was the debut single from his The Electric Horseman album, which was the soundtrack to the film of the same name. The movie starred Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, and Nelson also appeared. “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” was Nelson’s fifth No. 1 hit and stayed at the top of the charts for two weeks.
The Texan may have made the song famous, but he wasn’t the first artist to record the tune. Waylon Jennings sang the song on the 1976 Wanted! The Outlaws record, a collaborative album between himself, Nelson, Jessi Colter and Tompall Glaser.
Nelson immortalized his version of the song with a live concert DVD, Willie Nelson Live at the U.S. Festival. The U.S. Festival was a seven-day event that brought together Van Halen, the Police, U2, Hank Williams Jr. and several other acts in San Bernadino, Calif.
Country America magazine named “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” as one of the Top 100 Country Songs of All Time in 1992. It was also used as the wake-up call for the astronauts on the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1993.
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