Willie opens closet with 'Cowboys'
COUNTRY MUSIC: Song shows support for gay rights
February 14, 2006
By MARIO TARRADELL / The Dallas Morning News
Willie Nelson's crooned cowboy songs before, from the signature "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" to "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys."
But never like this: On "Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other," the Texas country icon sings about love among men on the range. Available exclusively at iTunes today, the song aims to show Mr. Nelson's support for gays, particularly to conservative country-music fans.
"The song's been in the closet for 20 years," Mr. Nelson said in a prepared statement. It was written in 1981 by Lubbock-born singer-songwriter Ned Sublette.
"The timing's right for it to come out. I'm just opening the door."
Mr. Nelson recorded a song for the Brokeback Mountain soundtrack, the melancholy ballad "He Was a Friend of Mine." And the movie about two cowboys in love may have provided the perfect opportunity to release this new song. But Mr. Nelson also has a personal connection to the tune.
Two years ago, David Anderson, Mr. Nelson's friend and tour manager of three decades, told his boss he's gay. Last March, while Mr. Nelson recorded a batch of previously unreleased songs for iTunes, he discovered the song in a stack of demos he had tossed into a drawer.
Singing "Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other" was Mr. Nelson's way of telling a longtime pal everything was OK, says Mr. Anderson.
"This song obviously has special meaning to me in more ways than one," says Mr. Anderson, who lives in Dallas. "I want people to know more than anything – gay, straight, whatever – just how cool Willie is and ... his way of thinking, his tolerance, everything about him."
"Cowboys" includes lyrics such as "I believe to my soul that inside every man there's the feminine" and "What did you think all them saddles and boots was about?" But Mr. Nelson delivers them deadpan, which gives the song an air of seriousness.
Gay-themed songs are rare in mainstream country music. In fact, Mr. Nelson's is the first by a major artist. Before that, the closest is Garth Brooks' 1992 single "We Shall be Free," a cry for peace and equality with the pro-gay line "When we're free to love anyone we choose." Though it didn't focus exclusively on gays, the tune stirred some controversy; some radio stations across the country wouldn't play it. "We Shall be Free" peaked at No. 12 on Billboard's country singles chart, ending a string of Top 10 hits for Mr. Brooks.
It may take a few days to learn the public's reaction to Mr. Nelson's "Cowboys." Programmers at KPLX-FM (99.5) "The Wolf" couldn't be reached for comment about the song, and Lorrin Palagi at KTYS-FM (96.7) "The Twister" said the station hadn't heard it.
"Garth Brooks said he didn't care what people thought of his song," says Alan Pierce, co-owner of the Round-Up Saloon, a gay country bar in Oak Lawn. "Willie is the same way. It acknowledges it as a reality in life. It could help straight America acknowledge this.
"The bottom line is we're ecstatic he's doing this."
"Cowboys" will be the guest of honor at a celebration tonight dubbed "Willie's Gay Cowboys Song Coming-Out Party" at the Round-Up. Mr. Nelson won't be there, but his spirit will.
On Sunday, a group of about 30 local cowboys spent the afternoon at the Round-Up learning choreography for the song's upcoming video. While the song played repeatedly, choreographer Darrin Davis demonstrated kicks and spins, boot stomping and slow, toe-dragging turns all in line-dancing style.
"I think it's groundbreaking," says J.D. Bay of Dallas, who works in accounting. "It's an incredible step for Willie Nelson. It says a lot about him, especially since he's from Texas. It opens a lot of doors, opens a lot of minds."
John Yancich, a chiropractor from Dallas, agrees: "I'm sure it will have some positive influence on some things."
Mr. Anderson also sees the song as a unifying catalyst.
"The whole thing is about tolerance," he says.
Over at Mr. Nelson's record label, Nashville's Lost Highway, there are no reservations or fear of controversy about releasing the song.
"Willie wants it out so we want it out," says Kim Buie, a vice president at Lost Highway. "What this song does is give credence to something that I think a lot of people have known for a long time. Being gay is nothing new. It's gone through history, whether it's out on the plains or back in Roman times. Society puts its own standards on it, but that song makes it OK."
Willie's Gay Cowboys Song Coming-Out Party starts at 9 tonight at the Round-Up Saloon, 3912 Cedar Springs Road. No cover. 214-522-9611.
Marijuana is not harmful
I wonder if a mummified stoner with braids gets much action from the fancy boys?
I was supposed to go to see Willie this Sat.
WTF is wrong with him?
"I want people to know more than anything – gay, straight, whatever – just how cool Willie is and ... his way of thinking, his tolerance, everything about him."
I wonder if his tolerance would extend to me and others that think Homosexuality is an abomination.
Keep opening your mind and your brain will fall out.
lol. he supported the Green party too, didn't he?
Is it because his teeth scratch you??
Instead of teeth it should reveal a rainbow flag
Why do talented people have to be such idiots.
Willie is pandering to the crowd, the asshole.
Only way to change this is to stop buying his stuff.
By timing, I think he means "at a time when he is descending into obscurity, and needs to resurrect his long dead career."
Always follow the money .The surest way to become "relevant" is to poke conservatives in the eye, and you'll get LOTS of publicity, and your records will sell.
Always follow the money.
The wacky tabacky has taken its toll.
Willie's been smoking lefty Luckys for longer than most of us have been alive.
because being an idiot is usually their true talent.
David Allan Coe should kick his ass.
I bet Willie has taken a shot or two to the back of the throat...
Thanx ALOT for that visual, man.
How many damn gay movies, songs, TV shows, etc, etc. must we have before the media stops calling it "GROUNDBREAKING?" Does this annoy anyone else?
It's rainbow Willy!
First Garth, then the Dixie Chicks, now Willie. Country is going to crap. The artists are getting to be just like pop stars.
We need David Allen Coe to sober up and save Country.
Never really cared for his music or for that matter, him. Always struck me as sorta a s--thead hippie wannabe cowboy.
That had to hurt
"Mommas, DO let you babies grow up to be butt boys...."
Any other re-writes of Willie Kneel-sons songs?
If David Allen Coe sobered up, it would be NO country music...
Nelson unveils 'gay cowboy' valentine
Willie Nelson chose Valentine's Day to release the gay-themed song "Cowboys Are Secretly, Frequently (Fond of Each Other)." The country music icon premiered the track Tuesday morning (February 14) on Howard Stern's Sirius Satellite Radio show as it was being made exclusively available via Apple's iTunes music store.
Nelson recorded the song, written in 1981 by songwriter Ned Sublette, last year at his home studio in Perdernales, Texas, around the time he first mentioned it during an appearance on Stern's former terrestrial radio show. The timing of the song's release coincides with a time when the idea of gay cowboys is being discussed throughout the media in response to the success of the Academy Award-nominated film "Brokeback Mountain."
Coincidentally, Nelson contributed the track "He Was a Friend of Mine" to the movie's Verve soundtrack, which peaked at No. 54 on the Billboard 200.
"The song's been in the closet for 20 years," Nelson said in a statement released to the Dallas Morning News. "The timing's right for it to come out. I'm just opening the door."
Adding to the track's poignancy is the fact that David Anderson, Nelson's longtime tour manager, revealed his homosexuality to Nelson two years ago.
"This song obviously has special meaning to me in more ways than one," Anderson told the Dallas Morning News. "I want people to know more than anything -- gay, straight, whatever -- just how cool Willie is and ... his way of thinking, his tolerance, everything about him."
The Broken Lizard comedy troupe ("Super Troopers," "Club Dread") will create a video for "Cowboys Are Secretly, Frequently (Fond of Each Other)," with plans to release it exclusively through iTunes.
Yup, The Dixie Chicks' career is really skyrocketing these days...
I knew cuntry music was gay.
<--- I was named after David Allen Coe.
A comedy troupe is gonna do the video?
That might be interesting.....
Till its "mainstream"
He took it up the poop-chute one too many times....
Well, they stank too much even for the usual "pander to ther left " routine to work.
Tho I hear there Europeon tour was a smashing success.
Maybe now, Willie can join the Dixie Chicks.
Shit. David Allan Coe wrote a pro-gay country anthem a looooooong time ago.
"Hey, Fuck Anita Bryant
Who the Hell is she
Telling all them faggots
That they can't be free
Throw that bitch in prisonthen maybe she'll see
just how much them goddamned homosexuals mean to me
Wash your clothes
clean your cell
help you drain your hose
give you smokes
laugh at jokes
sew up all your clothes
rub your feet
beat your meat
Heaven only knows
What I'd do without those homosexuals
Read and Write
Fuck all night
Clean your fingernails
help you dress
play you chess
lay you down some rails
Be your wife
take your life
in a jealous rage
who says we don't need them homosexuals
I tell you
Some are big
some are small
some are in-between
some are yellow belly queers
and some of them are mean
some are killers
some are thiefs
some are singers too
In fact Anita Bryant
Some act just like you"
I was lost in trouble and strife, I heard a voice and it changed my life
And now it's a brand new day, and I ain't afraid to say
You're not alone when you're down and out
And I think you know who I'm talking about
When I don't know how I'll get through
I ask myself what would Willie do
What would Willie do, well he'd travel so far with nothing but a song and his old guitar
And a tour bus and some semi-trucks, thirty crew men and a little bit of luck
Well he loves all the people, the ugly and the randy
If you don't believe me take a look at the family
And they'll tell you that it's true
When skies are gray what would Willie do
Well long ago he came unto us, his words were simple but they went right through us
And the whole world sang along, but then they didn't want to hear his songs
He was gone and we thought we'd lost him
But he grew his hair and he moved to Austin
And all of the people smiled, they came to hear him sing from miles
Like a miracle all those rednecks and hippies
From New York City down to Mississippi
Stood together and raised a brew
When it's all gone wrong what would Willie do
You know sometimes I wonder when I ain't gettin' nowhere
What would old Willie do when it all gets too much to bear
And I can see him on his lonely old tour bus
And he's got his problems just like any of us
Well he'd just take a deep breath and then he'd let it all go
And he'd take another deep breath and let it all go
And he'd take another deep breath...and he'd hold it
Ah and I bet he'd feel hungry in a way that seems strange
Yeah hungry for all the things that he just can't change
Like the time he passed out in is own bedroom
And his wife sewed him up in the sheets and beat him with a broom and he forgave her
And you think that's rough, well then the IRS came and they took away all of his stuff
They took his golf course and his recording studio, and he just went out and did another show
So when it's all coming down on you
You better ask yourself what would Willie do
What would Willie do, well he'd take a little time
And talk to old rooser as he'd drive on down the line
And there's millions down that road, and with a word he's gonna lighten their load
He loves all the people no matter their races
Hell he even had a hit country song with Julio Iglesias
And that ain't easy to do, so when it's all too much, what would Willie
When the game gets tough what would Willie
When they call your bluff what would Willie do
David Allen Coe - "You never even call me by my name"
WELL, IT WAS ALL
THAT I COULD DO TO KEEP FROM CRYING'
SOMETIMES IT SEEMED SO USELESS TO REMAIN
BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO CALL ME DARLIN', DARLIN'
YOU NEVER EVEN CALL ME BY MY NAME
YOU DON'T HAVE TO CALL ME WAYLON JENNINGS
AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO CALL ME CHARLIE PRIDE
AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO CALL ME MERLE HAGGARD/ANYMORE
EVEN THOUGH YOU'RE ON MY FIGHTING' SIDE
AND I'LL HANG AROUND AS LONG AS YOU WILL LET ME
AND I NEVER MINDED STANDING' IN THE RAIN
BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO CALL ME DARLIN', DARLIN'
YOU NEVER EVEN CALLED ME BY MY NAME
WELL, I'VE HEARD MY NAME
A FEW TIMES IN YOUR PHONE BOOK (Hello, Hello)
AND I'VE SEEN IT ON SIGNS WHERE I'VE PLAYED
BUT THE ONLY TIME I KNOW
I'LL HEAR "DAVID ALLAN COE"
IS WHEN JESUS HAS HIS FINAL JUDGMENT DAY
WELL, A FRIEND OF MINE NAMED STEVE GOODMAN WROTE THAT SONG
AND HE TOLD ME IT WAS THE PERFECT COUNTRY & WESTERN SONG
I WROTE HIM BACK A LETTER AND I TOLD HIM IT WAS NOT THE PERFECT COUNTRY & WESTERN SONG BECAUSE HE HADN'T SAID ANYTHING AT ALL ABOUT MAMA,
OR GETTING' DRUNK
WELL HE SAT DOWN AND WROTE ANOTHER VERSE TO THE SONG
AND HE SENT IT TO ME,
AND AFTER READING IT,
I REALIZED THAT MY FRIEND HAD WRITTEN THE PERFECT
COUNTRY & WESTERN SONG
AND I FELT OBLIGED TO INCLUDE IT ON THIS ALBUM
THE LAST VERSE GOES LIKE THIS HERE:
WELL, I WAS DRUNK THE DAY MY MOM GOT OUT OF PRISON
AND I WENT TO PICK HER UP IN THE RAIN
BUT BEFORE I COULD GET TO THE STATION IN MY PICKUP TRUCK
SHE GOT RUN NED OVER BY A DAMNED OLD TRAIN
AND I'LL HANG AROUND AS LONG AS YOU WILL LET ME
AND I NEVER MINDED STANDING' IN THE RAIN
NO, A' YOU DON'T HAVE TO CALL ME DARLIN', DARLIN'
YOU NEVER EVEN CALL ME
WELL I WONDER WHY YOU DON'T CALL ME
WHY DON'T YOU EVER CALL ME BY MY NAME
Damn, do I cry or break something. What next? Cowboys for gun control? Cowboys against pickup trucks?
What the hell is Willie thinking?
He goes from:
My heros have always been cowboys
The Redhead Stranger
Momas don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys
Poncho and Lefty
and more..... to this shit? I will not listen to that song ever.
Thank you Willie Nelson, Heath Ledger, and Hollywood for taking a big shit on the cowboy way of life.
Matt......going to put on some Chris Ledoux
Cowboys for civil unions with horses....
Momas don't let your babies grow up to be gayboys
MOTHER OF GOD
This confirms what I have thought for a long time. WILLIE HAS LOST HIS GODDAMNED MIND.
He is such a hypocrit, he has actually fired members of his crew for using drugs, and now this dumbass wears his pot leaves like a badge. Now he's some gay cowboy mouthpiece?
Fuck him, he's dead to me.
(In Before The ARFCOM Marijuana Smokers Say This Has Nothing To Do With Pot)
Who really gives a shit?
Okay, so Willie's having his "deliverance" so to speak. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, you know what I mean!