The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy

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"The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy"
Promotional single by Chris Stapleton
from the album Toy Story 4
ReleasedJune 5, 2019
LabelWalt Disney
Songwriter(s)Randy Newman

"The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy" is song written and composed by Randy Newman, and performed by Chris Stapleton, for the soundtrack of the Disney/Pixar feature film Toy Story 4. The song was released as a single on June 5, 2019, and was met with a positive reception from critics.

The tune they used in this song is also the same one from the song "Ang Kawawang Cowboy" ("The Pitiful Cowboy" in English) sung by a Filipino singer Fred Panopio. "Ang Kawawang Cowboy" was released in the Philippines in 1976. This was considered a parody of the song "Rhinestone Cowboy" by American singer Glen Campbell, which was released in 1975.

Background and composition

Randy Newman, known for his work as composer and songwriter on the Toy Story films, was confirmed to be returning for Toy Story 4.[1] "The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy", the film's main single, written by Newman and performed by Chris Stapleton, was revealed and released on June 5, 2019.[2] The song is performed through the perspective of Sheriff Woody, the film's main character, because, according to Newman, "[Woody] feels like he was a lonesome cowboy until someone comes along and changes his world."[3] Newman was particularly pleased by the fact that Stapleton performs the song, while Stapleton felt that "[i]t's a tremendous honor to get to sing a Randy Newman song in what is without question one of the most iconic animated franchises in history.

Music video

On June 5, 2019, a lyric video of the song was released.[4] On June 26, 2019, a YouTube channel called FANIMATOR released another music video of the song.[5] In this version, FANIMATOR played scenes from the first three Toy Story films and arranged them to fit the song. The scenes were picked to represent the themes of loneliness and friendship.

Other versions

Randy Newman performed a version for the soundtrack of Toy Story 4.[3]


Rania Aniftos of Billboard praised the song's melody as "catchy".[2] Nick Evans of CinemaBlend positively compared the song to Newman's previous songs from the Toy Story films, writing: "In keeping with the tradition of Toy Story songs, Randy Newman’s “The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy” is equal parts tear-jerking and heartwarming".[6] Similarly, Ming Lee Newcomb of Consequences of Music compared the song to Newman's "You've Got a Friend in Me" from the original film, writing that "the charming Western ballad is similarly feel-good and kid-friendly".[7] Angela Stefano of The Boot wrote that "[n]ot only is Pixar making childhood dreams come true with the release of a new Toy Story movie, they're making country music dreams come true, too" praising Newman's lyrics as "heartfelt yet childlike" and Stapleton's singing as "instantly recognizable".[8]


  1. ^ "D23: Pixar Previews 'Finding Dory' and 'Toy Story 4'".
  2. ^ a b Aniftos, Rania. "Chris Stapleton's 'The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy' Off the 'Toy Story 4' Soundtrack Is Here: Listen". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  3. ^ a b "Press Kit" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  4. ^ "The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy (From "Toy Story 4"/Official Lyric Video)" – via
  5. ^ "Toy Story 4 - The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy" – via
  6. ^ "The Toys Come To Life In Video For Toy Story 4's Tear-Jerking Song". CINEMABLEND. June 5, 2019.
  7. ^ "Hear Chris Stapleton's heartwarming addition to the Toy Story 4 soundtrack: Stream". June 5, 2019.
  8. ^ Stefano, Angela. "LISTEN: Chris Stapleton Has a Song in 'Toy Story 4'". The Boot.