Song written and recorded by Toby Keith for the Mercury label, was recorded at the end of 1992 in The Music Mill, 1710 Roy Acuff Place, Nashville, TN, Toby was accompanied in the recording by: Mark Casstevens (guitar and harmonica), Kenny Bell (guitar), Donald Potter (guitar), Michael Crossno (guitar), John Willis (guitar), Reggie Young (guitar), Jim Kimball (guitar), Sonny Garrish (steel & dobro), Johnie Helms (steel), Carl “ Chuck “Goff Jr. and Gary Lunn (bass), Scott Marcha, Milton Sledge and Keith Mellington (drums), Troy Turner, Clayton Ivey and Chris Trupe (keyboards), Denis Solee (sax) and Dennis Wilson, Thomas Flora, Michael Black and Lon Wilson (back vcl). With the production of Nelson Larkin & Harold Shedd, the song was released on February 12, 1993, on June 5, 1993, reached number # 1, for two weeks in a row, on June 26, 1993, also reached the number # 1 on the charts of Canada Country Tracks. It was the first number one of Toby’s career.
The song was included in Toby’s debut album, Toby Keith (Polygram / Mercury 1993), the album was released on April 20, 1993, and reached number # 17 on the U.S. Top Country Albums. The album was certified as platinum in the USA and gold in Canada.
It has received more than three million spins on country radio, making it the most-played country song of the 1990s.
The song is a staple following sporting events at Oklahoma State University (home of the Cowboys), often played over the venue’s PA system several times in succession as fans emptied the stadium or arena.
Toby Keith – Should’ve Been A Cowboy Lyrics
I bet you have never heard ole Marshal Dillon say
Miss Kitty have you ever thought of running away
Settling down would you marry me
If I ask you twice and beg you pretty please
She should of said Yes in a New York minute
They never tied the knot
His heart was not in it
He just stole a kiss as he road away
He never hung his hat up, at Kitty’s place
I should been a cowboy
I should learned to rope and ride
Wearing my six-shooter, riding my pony on a cattle drive
Stealing young girls hearts
Just like Gene and Roy
Singing those campfire songs
Oh, I should have been a cowboy
I might of had a sidekick with a funny name
Running wild through the hills chasing Jesse James
Ending up on the brink of danger
Riding shotgun for the Texas Rangers
Go west young man, have not you been told
California is full of whiskey, women and gold
Sleeping out all night beneath the desert stars
With a dream in my eye, and a prayer in my heart