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I grew up a-dreamin' of bein' a cowboy,
And Lovin' the cowboy ways.
Pursuin' the life of my high-ridin' heroes,
I burned up my childhood days.
I learned of all the rules of the modern-day drifter,
Don't you hold on to nothin' too long.
Just take what you need from the ladies, then leave them,
With the words of a sad country song.
My heroes have always been cowboys.
And they still are, it seems.
Sadly, in search of, but one step in back of,
Themselves and their slow-movin' dreams.

Cowboys are special with their own brand of misery,
From being alone too long.
You could die from the cold in the arms of a nightman,
Knowin' well that your best days are gone.
Pickin' up hookers instead of my pen,
I let the words of my years fade away.
Old worn-out saddles, and 'old worn-out memories,
With no one and no place to stay.

My heroes have always been cowboys.
And they still are, it seems.
Sadly, in search of, but one step in back of,
Themselves and their slow-movin' dreams.

Sadly, in search of, but one step in back of,
Themselves and their slow-movin' dreams.



Lyrics taken from http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/w/willie_nelson/my_heros_have_always_been_cowboys.html

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  • U
    +3
    UnregisteredAug 15, 2012 at 4:37 pm
    I believe every man reaches a point in his life, whether banker or dish washer, that he feels impeled to look back and wonder if he would have been happier "livin' the cowboy way"
  • U
    +1
    UnregisteredMar 16, 2012 at 8:38 pm
    "sadly, in search of, but one step in back of, themselves and their slow moving dreams". Still looking for that lost cowboy in every mans heart.
  • U
    +1
    UnregisteredFeb 18, 2012 at 6:35 am
    I think this song is really about the same kind of cowboys that "mommas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys" is--that is, truck drivers and guitar pickers--a key line is " pickin' up hookers instead of my pen i let the words of my youth slip away. " another is "i learned all the rules of the modern day drifter, don'tcha hold onto nothin' too long, but take what you need from the girls of the evening, with the words of a sad country song. "
  • U
    UnregisteredJun 28, 2014 at 2:04 am
    I don't know any cowboys. Met a rodeo champion once, he was selling jewelry. Many jobs seem glamorous from the outside. Are cowboys by nature drifters? They move around a lot. So do truckers and maybe in some parts of the country they cross fertilize culture wise. We boys who grew up on cowboy movies, most of us had that imaginary life where we rode hard, faced danger, won over the girl(s), had a loyal dog (and of course, horse) and spit tobacco. We were Rowdy Yates or Matt Dillon breaking rules or enforcing them. Strong and silent. This song recognizes the fantasy but pulls out the harder facts of men who may wear their skin like iron and whose hot days on the trail make their breath as hard as kerosene (hats off to Townes Van Zandt). That man will always appeal to us as a hero. But most of us don't want to really be him. It's a hard lonely life. Better to be a doctor or a lawyer?
  • U
    UnregisteredJun 18, 2012 at 8:02 pm
    If it weren't for cowboys (and other men exactly like them), even the kind of which willie sings, america wouldn't have a 'west'. We'd still be languaising in the 'east'!

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