June 30, 2013

Strange ideas of the paranormal.

My Google alert on "roadside memorial" turned up this item at examiner.com:

I've already blogged about the underlying story (as another in my long series of posts about makeshift death-site memorials). This post is about the mistake of putting the story under the already stupid "astrology & paranormal" tag. Did somebody at the Examiner think actual ghosts — to the extent that makes any sense — were involved? Like, maybe it was some college town variation on the old "Ghost Riders in the Sky" legend:
"(Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend" is a country and cowboy-style song [that] tells a folk tale of a cowboy who has a vision of red-eyed, steel-hooved cattle thundering across the sky, being chased by the spirits of damned cowboys. One warns him that if he does not change his ways, he will be doomed to join them, forever "trying to catch the Devil's herd across these endless skies."
Here's Marty Robbins singing the song. Or if you prefer: Johnny Cash. Or here it is by the singer who possesses the voice that is the first singing voice that I ever heard and thought: This is the greatest voice ever. I must have been about 4 years old at the time, considering the year that the greatest recording ever — as I saw it — came out (1955).

But back to "Ghost Riders." Here are the lyrics. I'd love parody lyrics applicable to apparitions of college-town bike riders.


Roger J. said...

Vaughn Monroe made the first version of ghost riders--look it up

edutcher said...

Well, they're out thar near the Superstitions and the Lost Dutchman Mine, so it's just possible...

PS No, no, the best version was made by Duane Eddy.

Roger J. said...

Damn wrong again--Burl Ives made the first version in 1948, Vaughn Monroe's version was slightly later but the most popular--first time I have been wrong since 1947

kentuckyliz said...

I would know one of those Ghost Riders. The husband of a rowing referee friend of mine. He was on a cross country ride, on a marked national trail for that purpose. He had neon clothing, signs, and flags to be visible. In Mississippi, a guy in a pickup truck, on a straight road on a clear day, mowed him down and killed him. This guy had a long list of DUI and a suspended license and IIRC had killed someone with his vehicle before. No charges were brought. Some quirk in MS law made it not a crime somehow. People wanted to make my friend some kind of activist but she didn't want to do that. She didn't even want to pursue a civil suit for wrongful death. (The guy was not worth anything anyway...still, I'd want a judgment in case he wins the lottery tomorrow.)

Her fb profile pic is a bright yellow square with bold black print that says SHARE THE ROAD

betamax3000 said...

Dead Jim Morrison Robot says:

I Do Not Do Requests. People Come to My Grave Site in Paris and Ask Me Questions. Do They Not Know That All of the Answers are Already in My Songs?
The Riders on the Storm: Ghost Bicyclists. I Saw it All, Man, and Did it in Leather Pants.

There's a Bicyclist on the Road
His Brain is Squirmin' like a Toad
Wearing Lycra Tights
Ignoring all Red Lights
If Ya Give this Man a Lane
Your Good Deed will Be in Vain
Killer on the Road, Yeah

Sam L. said...

I prefer Vaughn Monroe.

But have you heard "Ghost Chickens In The Sky"?

Alan said...

Nothing against Frankie Lane but I was hoping for a Bob Dylan version.

Michael said...

Kentucky liz Wow. A friend of mine was late to join his group ride on a lonely road is south Georgia. He told them to go ahead, that he would catch up. About 20 minutes later a guy, obviously drunk. Pulled alongside the group of riders and told them he "thought" he might have hit somebody back down the road. He roared off. Miraculusly he is alive but not quite the same person due to the injuries to his brain. They found his bike in a tree, his shoes a hundred yards away. No other car had passed in the last 45 minutes. My friend has gone back to ride that stretch of road. The driver is in jail.

betamax3000 said...

Dead Jim Morrison Robot says:

I Rode a Bicycle Down Love Street, Man. Tripping on Acid. In Leather Pants. Up Here in Heaven I Fit into My Leather Pants Again: Pretty Cool, Yeah.

betamax3000 said...

Dead Jim Morrison Robot says:

Heaven is a Trip, Man. You Can Drink Beer All Day and a Day Lasts a Thousand Years, Man: it Blows My Mind.

Mitchell the Bat said...

I was a little kid watching "Hee Haw" on TV and I saw Roy Clark do his instrumental version of "Ghost Riders in the Sky." He stood at center stage, by himself. The musical accompaniment was prerecorded; karaoke before the invention of the word.

There seemed to be a lot empty space in the song and the cameraman didn't seem to know what to do with it.

My father told me at the time that Roy Clark was one of the world's greatest guitarists.

Years later I would learn that he was playing a Les Paul Black Beauty.

It may or may not have been plugged in.

I really don't remember.

SteveR said...

I've sung Amazing Grace to the melody of Ghost Riders.

betamax3000 said...

Dead Jim Morrison Robot says:

When I First Got to the Pearly Gates Do You Know who Introduced me to St. Peter? My Indian Spirit Guide. That's When I First Got an Idea of How Groovy Heaven was Going to Be.

betamax3000 said...

Dead Jim Morrison Robot says:

The Peyote in Heaven is Pretty Intense, Man. I Mean: First, You're in Heaven, which is Already a Pretty High Kick, then All the Clouds Change Color Around You. You Can Just Let it All Hang Out, No Bad Trips.

Leslie Graves said...

That Frankie Lane video made my day.

YoungHegelian said...


My father was a huge Frankie Laine fan, and I heard it all the time as a kid, too.

In poking around on the internet, I found the original Chinese version of Rose, Rose, I love you.

The Chinese is a patriotic song about the "Rose" (Mei gui in Mandarin) bearing up under the storm, an allegory of China standing up against the invading Japanese.

The English version is probably about a Malaysian-Chinese stripper who was popular after the war in Malaya named Rose. It got a lot of air play because it was the B side of the very successful FL song "Jezebel". The English puns on the Chinese in the first verse:

Make way = mei gui

Make way, oh, make way
for my eastern Rose
Men crowd in dozens everywhere she goes
In a rickshaw, in a street, or in a cabaret,
Please make way for Rose, you can hear them say.

betamax3000 said...

Dead Jim Morrison Robot says:

There Are So Many Groovy People Here in Heaven, But there is Still So Much Space. It Might Take Forever to Meet Everybody, but You've Got the Time, So Take it Slow and Let it Roll, Baby, Roll.

Oso Negro said...

Yippie-I-a, yippie-I-o
Bike riders in the sky

An old Professor went walkin' out one dark and windy day
Upon a ridge she rested as she went along her way
When all at once a mighty bunch of college kids she saw
Plowin' through the campus and up to Lake Mendota

Yippie-I-a, yippie-I-o
Bike riders in the sky

Their hearts were still on fire though their minds were dense as steel
( yippie-I-a)
Their brains were wild from hormones and their hot breath she could feel
A bolt of fear went through her as they thundered right on by
She saw the riders commin' hard, and she heard their mournful cry

Yippie-I-a, yippie-I-o
Bike riders in the sky

Their faces gaunt, their eyes were blurred,
Their cellphones soaked with sweat. (yippie-I-a)
They're tryin'hard to save the world, but they aint fixed it yet'
'Cause ya gotta ride forever on that range up in the sky,
On their parents’ hard earned money, as they ride on, hear their cry.

Yippie-I-a, yippie-I-o
Bike riders in the sky

As the riders went on by her, she heard one call her name
If you wantta to save your soul from ever ridin' on our range,
Then Professor change your way today, or with us you will ride,
Tryin' to catch cruel neutrality, across these endless skies

Yippie-I-a, yippie-I-o
Bike riders in the sky
Bike riders in the sky

Oso Negro said...

Hmmm....that wasn't bad at all. If I ever visit Madison, which is admittedly unlikely, I hope to see you and Meade walking about taking pictures of stuff.

Indigo Red said...

Link error.

Marty Robbins is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1xSYyMDaq4

Italian operatic tenor Mario del Monaco also sang the cowboy classic:

betamax3000 said...

Dead Jim Morrison Robot says:

Here in Heaven you Can See Red-eyed, Steel-hooved Cattle Thundering across the Sky Anytime You Like, You Just Have to Think it and It's There. I Can Fill the Sky With Giant Lizards, Man.

Mark O said...

The song was written in 1948 by Stan Jones and the lyrics are slightly more referential than some later singers make them. Monroe sang the correct lyrics. In the first verse, which talks about the "mighty herd of red eyed cows" the refrain is:

"Yipie i-oh, yipie i-ay! Ghost herd in the sky."

The next verse brings in the riders and the refrain is:

"Yipie i-oh, yipie i-ay! Ghost riders in the sky."

YoungHegelian said...

@Oso Negro @ 11:39

Damn good, ON, damn good! Especially on such short notice.

betamax3000 said...

Dead Jim Morrison Robot says:

I've Got a Groovy Little Bungalow Up Here in Heaven Where I Just Hang Out, Keep it Loose. Elvis Sometimes Stops By To Shoot Up a Television Set, But it's Okay, Man: Another Television Set Just Pops Up in its Place. Elvis Loves It: His Collar Tips are Like Fifty Feet Wide. I Still Don't Get the Cape, but it's Heaven, Man: it's Cool.

sydney said...

Kind of off topic, but why were cowboys so darned popular in the 1950's/early 60's?

betamax3000 said...

Dead Jim Morrison Robot says:

I Don't Know Why it Is, But the Chicks from the 1600's are Hot.

kentuckyliz said...

Cowboy popularity: perhaps it eased Cold War anxiety.

David said...

Ghost Riders has mostly been sung by men, but Peggy Lee did a fabulous version.

Wayworn Wanderer said...

"the greatest recording ever"

=> "Won't Get Fooled Again."

Quaestor said...

How about "Ghost Writers in Disguise"? That's a play about a Rogers and Hammerstein-like music/lyrics/book writing team who'd like nothing better than a shot at fame and fortune via a hit Broadway musical, but they can't get a producer to even read their scripts because gay-themed plays by gay authors are in vogue. So the team decides to pretend -- you known -- much to the annoyance of wives, girlfriends, parents, and leading to comic situations (a La Cage aux Faux in reverse).

PETER V. BELLA said...

They removed blight and litter. We have those ugly things all over Chicago. I wish our city workers would eliminate them. They should be gone as fast as they are put up.

Mark O said...

"Kind of off topic, but why were cowboys so darned popular in the 1950's/early 60's?"

There's something incredibly satisfying about justice applied promptly. This is not a new concept. See Ecclesiastes 8.11 for an ancient complaint.

I hear the William Tell Overture.

traditionalguy said...

Went to see a movie last night, and we had to suffer 20 minutes of trailers for apocalypse films and one about a True haunted house horror. Big damn deal.

The movie was light hearted feminine bonding comedy set in Boston called the Heat with Sandra Bulloch and a fat actress I never heard of but was funny. (she was in Bridesmaid ) which I never had not seen.
this morning a friend from Boston had her brother at church, and he was a Boston Mick named Kenny. We discussed the movie, and he said he would see it. That was the good deed of the day.

traditionalguy said...

Cowboy movies were big in the 1930s. They glorified singing and noble tough guys a/k/a Scots Irish. After The War, they became dark conflicted warrior stories. John Wayne in Hondo was a favorite, and it is still a good story wort the time watching on Netflix.

Captain Ned said...

Give me the version by The Outlaws, please, and back it with "Green Grass & High Tides".

Quaestor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quaestor said...

There are parodies of this song a plenty. Here's mine:

A lefty hack was blogging on a dank and sweltery night,
A-typin’ here, a-cruisin’ there and trollin’ decent sites.
When all at once a millin’ herd of low-info Dems he saw,
A-plowin through some stale old lines and up a logic flaw.

Yi-pi-ay-a! (yi-pi-ay-a), Yi-pi-ay-o! (yi-pi-ay-o)
Ghost writers in disguise.

Their pants on fire, their minds befogged, their whines began to peal.
Their scorn was trite and jejune and their humor’d make you reel.
A shock of recognition struck as he read their hackneyed lies,
For he saw his writing coming back in their lame and whinging cries.

Type it today (type it today), it’s forevermore! (it’s forevermore)
The Internet never dies!

His face is drawn, his eyes are blurred, his armpits a-soaked in sweat.
He’s been writin’ hard to spread the word to rural Calumet.
He’s got to write forever shit that thinking minds won’t buy,
Now his router’s wafting smoke, yet still we hear his cry:

Gore won the vote! (Gore won the vote) Bill never toked! (Bill never toked)
The Internet never dies!

(Due to a typo one line didn't scan, so I deleted, fixed, and reposted.)

wholelottasplainin' said...

From that Frankie Laine "greatest song" Ann pointed us to:

"Last night my heart was so happy,
Last night my heart was so gaaaaaay.."

Another dig, eh?

Quaestor said...

Frankie Laine also sang the "Rawhide" theme song, which is also a bit gay if you're inclined to see such a slant. Hell, everything's gay nowadays except things that are gay, if you know what I mean.

Here's a video tribute to "Rawhide" with a concluding still of Frankie Laine singing. He didn't look or dress like you'd expect.

FleetUSA said...

Yep, Frankie Laine would come to New Orleans every summer in the 60's for a concert with the local pops orchestra. Great memories.

Uncle Pavian said...

Back in the 1970s, I remember listening to WFMT (Chicago's Fine Arts Station) one afternoon when they played a parody of "Ghost Riders In The Sky" written by a local singer songwriter. Something about "Ghost Voters At The Polls". Haven't been able to find it since. Too bad.

William R. Hamblen said...

The first version of "Ghost Riders in the Sky" that I remember was by "The Sons of the Pioneers".

Darleen said...

I remember listening to my parents' Frankie Laine albums as a kid.

Streets of Laredo still one of my favorites.

Darleen said...


Rawhide was my favorite western of my childhood.

I grew up in Granada Hills, CA, and Paul Brinegar lived only a few blocks away.

skybill said...

Hi Ann and all,
Lets parody "Ghost Riders!!" Back a couple of cases of Beer ago in the "early Daze" of the sport of "Skydiving" Rigger Mort wrote the parody "Ghost Jumpers in the Sky." 'Ya can go to www.dropzone.com over into the "History and Trivia" forum and find the thread "Skydiving Songs and Poems" posted by my friend Jim, aka, "airtwardo." Ghost Jumpers and other Skydiving songs are there, many are parodys!! Enjoy!!!!

skybill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kylos said...

Ghost Riders by German heavy-metal band Die Apokalyptischen Reiter.

Also, as Indigo Red noted, the link to the Marty Robbins version actually points to the Johnny Cash version.

Craig said...

Leonard Slye founded the Sons of the Pioneers in 1934 and stayed with the group until 1937 when Hollywood turned him into Roy Rogers. Ghost Riders, with Bob Nolan singing the lead, was one of the songs that made them an institution.

cokaygne said...

Love that song. Last April i was watching the clouds heading up a canyon in Utah and tried to remember it.

One of the very few misses by Marty Robbins. Surprised that it was recorded by Vaughn Monroe who was a native of my native town, Dotchesta. About as far from a cloudy draw in Utah as one can get.