Stefan's musings about

Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?

By Paula Cole - From the CD This Fire

She has the definitive song for my generation. About unfulfilled dreams and broken promises, Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? is a great song about how difficult it is to get what you want in the 90's. The song is haunting and sensual, maybe too country, but being played on the POP stations none the less. Check out the CD - "This Fire."
(I make no claim to copyright of lyrics)

Oh you get me ready in your 56 Chevy
Why don't we go sit down in the shade?
Take shelter on my front porch
The dandy lion sun scorching,
Like a glass of cold lemonade?
      - I will do laundry if you pay all the bills.

Where is my John Wayne?
Where is my prairie son?
Where is my happy ending?
Where have all the Cowboys gone?

Why don't you stay the evening
Kick back and watch the TV
And I'll fix a little somethin' to eat?
Oh I know your back hurts from working on the tractor
How do you take your coffee my sweet?
      - I will raise the children if you pay all the bills?


I am wearing my new dress tonight
But you don't even notice me.
Say our good-byes
Say our good-byes
Say our good-byes

We finally sold the Chevy
When we had another baby
And you took that job in Tennessee
You made friends at the farm
And you joined them at the bar
Almost every single day of the week
      - I will wash the dishes while you go have a beer.

Where is my John Wayne?
Where is my prairie son?
Where is my happy ending?
Where have all the Cowboys gone?
Where is my Marlboro Man?
Where is his shiny gun?
Where is my lonely ranger?
Where have all the cowboys gone?

Yippee Aw, Yippee Yea
Yippee Aw, Yippee Yea
Yippee Aw, Yippee Yea

Lyrics transcribed from album and corrected from WBR pages

Other Links


The song is about unfulfilled dreams, about making deals and them not being fulfilled or turning out the way you planned. I can related strongly to this right now, because none of my plans seem to be working out either. It seems the perfect song for generation X. We made our deals, so where are our rewards?

I went to college, I served in the military, I did everything I was supposed to - I still don't have a decent job in my field. Companies are downsizing and underpaying everywhere in the name of "Competitiveness". My friends keep losing their jobs with NO warning or compassion. Just "Clean out your desk by five!" One friend was at a company seven years, and another practically built the company. Where is the loyalty and reward for hard work and dedication?

I was recently fired from my job with an Internet provider because the new management wanted to start fresh with their own staff. I was treated like dirt for over a month until they fired me. Where was the loyalty for the seven months of hard work I put in to building that company? I know I wasn't an investor or anything, but they were underpaying me for all the work I did. That should have been worth something. At least they could have done was said "Thanks for the hard work, and use us as a reference", instead of the "You've got ten minutes to clean out your area" that I got.

Where is my happy ending?

Added May 2,1998

Atlanta Music Midtown Concert Paula Cole performed at the Atlanta MusicMidtown concert to a crowd of around 40,000. I would like to blame the sound system for a some what lackluster show, but there were other problems too. It had rained the day before and the park was muddy, her stage act needed work, and her song sequence was very weak. She opened weakly with Jolene, buried her hit songs in the middle, and never got any audience participation. The ugly pale blue concert shirts said, "I want to be a dog" - I guess from earlier concerts, referring to a song on her first CD. The Indigo Girls followed with an extraordinary show, and I'm not even a fan.

Added Dec 3, 1997

Paula Cole was at Toad's Place November 30th. I had tickets, but was in bed with the flu. I guess she did too because the show got cancelled. Unfortunaely, by the time it was rescheduled I had already moved to Georgia. Paula Cole Concert

Added July 24, 1997

I heard the Lilith Fair live, twice during the summer of 1997 through the Internet. On July 9th from Irvine Meadows, California and on July 24th from The Meadows Pavilion in Hartford Connecticut, through Real Audio. It was great!

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©2012 Stefan Oestreicher
Created March 1997
Updated 15 Sept. 2012