Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Conway Twitty, “Don’t Call Him a Cowboy”

“Don’t Call Him a Cowboy”

Conway Twitty

Written by Debbie Hupp, Johnny MacRae, and Bob Morrison

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

May 10, 1985


#1 (1 week)

June 1, 1985

I was well into my teenage years before I realized that when Olivia Newton-John sang “let’s get physical,” she wasn’t singing about exercise.

Lord knows how many children sang along with “Don’t Call Him a Cowboy” over the years, only to later realize that Conway Twitty wasn’t singing about riding an animal.

Twitty goes straight for the jugular, mocking Texas men who get the outfit right but couldn’t please a New York City woman to save their lives. He doesn’t just lightly tease the Urban Cowboy archetype.  He draws blood.

I see you’ve got your eye on somethingLeaning on the barBut the toughest ride he’s ever hadWas in his foreign car
So don’t call him a cowboyUntil you’ve seen him ride‘Cause a Stetson hat and them fancy bootsDon’t tell you what’s inside
And if he ain’t good in the saddleLord, you won’t be satisfiedSo don’t call him a cowboyUntil you’ve seen him ride
It’s savage, and I love every second of it.
Don’t Call Him a Cowboy didn’t produce another No. 1 hit, but it was one of Twitty’s strongest studio albums of the decade.  In addition to producing another top five hit for Twitty with “Between Blue Eyes and Jeans,” two songs that would be hits down the road for other artists are also included: “Somebody Lied,” which will be Ricky Van Shelton’s first No. 1 hit, and “The Note,” which was covered by Gene Watson, Tammy Wynette, and Doug Supernaw before becoming a top thirty hit for Daryle Singletary in early 1998.
“Don’t Call Him a Cowboy” gets an A

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

Previous: Sylvia, “Fallin’ in Love” |

Next: Ronnie Milsap, “She Keeps the Home Fires Burning”

Open in Spotify


  1. “Don’t Call Him a Cowboy” was his overall 50th #1 single in country music in the USA up to that point. That includes the Billboard, Record World, Cash Box and Radio & Records publications. By 1985 he also had six others between rock-and-roll and country to top major charts in other countries. His career ended with 62 total worldwide certified #1 singles

  2. Lord almighty, songs moved up and down the charts a lot faster in the ’80s. I know there are some years with over 50 different chart-toppers so they didn’t just sit atop the list long, but seeing Reba and Conway Twitty again this fast is a surprise.

    I love everything about this song. From the hilarious yet savage (excellent description, Kevin) lyrics to the horse hooves sound effects to Conway’s wry vocal performance. My only surprise here was re-reading the credits and finding out this isn’t a Jimmy Bowen production, but Ron Treat with Conway and his widow Dee behind the console.

  3. The galloping horse hooves are the perfect mocking touch, no?

    This song is a blast. So fun yet so sharp.

    Revisiting all his number ones from this decade has revealed just how influential and important Twitty was as a musician in Nashville.

    David B. Shared his impressive career chart successes.

    Not since Nat Stuckey sang about plastic saddles has a song been so loaded with double entendres.

    God, I love Conway Twitty.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.