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 something Leaning on the bar But the toughest ride he’s ever had Was in his foreign car
So don’t call him a cowboy Until you’ve seen him ride ‘Cause a Stetson hat and them fancy boots Don’t tell you what’s inside
And if he ain’t good in the saddle Lord, you won’t be satisfied So don’t call him a cowboy Until 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” 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
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.