Did you ever wonder where that crazy sentiment came from? Right! It’s the refrain from Ghost Riders In the Sky, one of the most widely published songs ever. And it was written by Stan Jones, who grew up in the border town of Douglas, Arizona, where his boyhood experiences inspired this famous song as well as many of the over 200 songs that he wrote and published after reluctantly retiring from the Park Service.
First published by Burl Ives in 1949 as Riders In the Sky, it was the spring of 1949, that the song burst onto America’s radio airwaves unlike any other heard before. Vaughn Monroe’s version of Ghost Riders in the Sky took the nation by storm, and to this day it remains thoroughly woven into our nation’s cultural vocabulary. Stan Jones was at his post as a National Park Service ranger in Death Valley as the song he had composed on the front porch of his remote ranger station became a national phenomenon.
Ghost Riders in the Sky: The Life of Stan Jones, The Singing Ranger chronicles Stan’s life from his birth in the border town of Douglas, Arizona in 1914, to his 1963 death in Los Angeles.
You’ll learn about Stan’s career with the National Parks Service that included a stint at Mt. Rainier before he and his wife Olive transferred to Death Valley in August of 1946. The book recounts how Stan was “discovered” by a movie company filming on location at Stovepipe Wells, and then traces the path of his most famous song from the front porch at Emigrant to the top of the American popular music charts.
Author Michael K Ward has researched and documented Stan’s life, and has presented this story with Keeter Stuart, great-nephew of Stan Jones and a professional musician. The result is this wonderful book that recounts the life and lyrics of one of America’s most prolific song-writers.
“What do Arizona, Death Valley, and Hollywood have in common? A gifted songwriter named Stan Jones who gave us ‘Ghost Riders’ and a passel of other television and movie songs. Now ranger Mike Ward tells the story of how Stan went from busted cowhand to celebrity and why his songs still strum in our hearts.”—Bill Broyles
Ghost Riders in the Sky: The Life of Stan Jones, The Singing Ranger is currently in the process of publication, and will hopefully include a music CD. Please sign up here to receive periodic updates on publishing progress and LIKE us on facebook to learn more Stan Jones tidbits and listen to other lyrics of this colorful singing ranger’s life.