Nostalgic Look: “Cowboys and Clowns”
Cocaine and country music used to go together like peanut butter and chocolate. It was a great way to keep your blood pumping during a very long and tedious tour. However, psychedelic drugs didn’t reach their popularity until 1980. Of course, this is just an assumption. My presupposition stems from the ultra weirdness that is found in Ronnie Milsap’s “Cowboys and Clowns.” This song was brought to us by a quartet of songwriters by the names of Steve Dorff, Snuff Garett, Gary Hariju, and Larry Herbstritt. This is a pretty unique foursome of writers. Steve Dorff and Snuff Garett were co-writers for Eddie Rabbitt’s #1 hit “Every Which Way But Loose.” Snuff’s name should spark your memory. He was responsible for hiring Phil Spector. Maybe that’s where the psychedelic influence came from. Larry’s connections go as deep as working closely with George Martin(renowned The Beatles’ producer), Cher, and Anne Murray. Gary Hariju has written songs for George Strait and Karen Carpenter.
The lyrics themselves are pretty straightforward. The rodeo is where cowboys and clowns are rock stars, but after the day is done, their fame quickly fades. It is the instrumentation that sets it apart. The echoing of cowboys and clowns during the outro and the merry go round sample, will basically get stuck in your head like a mobius strip. You will find yourself singing it all day long, and even to the cashier at Wal-Mart. This being said, it’s still a great song. There is no wonder why it was Ronnie’s 15th number one hit.