Stan Jones

From Wind Repertory Project
Stan Jones


Stanley Davis Jones (5 June 1914, Douglas, Ariz. – 13 December 1963. Los Angeles, Calif.) was an American songwriter and actor, primarily writing Western music.

Jones grew up on a ranch. His physician father was one of the first settlers in Cochise County, Arizona. When his father died, his mother moved the family to Los Angeles, California. He earned a master's degree in zoology from the University of California at Berkeley and competed in rodeos to make money. However, he dropped out in 1934 to join the United States Navy. After his discharge, he worked at many jobs, including as a miner, a fire fighter, and a park ranger.

In his free time Jones wrote songs, and eventually more than 100 were recorded. His most famous, (Ghost) Riders in the Sky, was written in 1948 (or 1949)] when he worked for the National Park Service in Death Valley, California. As the guide for a group of Hollywood scouts who were looking at potential locations for films, he sang Riders in the Sky when they wanted to hear a sample of campfire music.

Assigned as technical advisor to the filming of The Walking Hills, he became friends with director John Ford, who opened his way into Hollywood. Jones wrote almost entirely Western music. He composed songs for several Western movies by Ford and others producers, including The Searchers and Rio Grande. He also played small parts in several westerns. In 1955 Jones began writing for Disney Studios. He was co-writer of the theme song for the television series Cheyenne, and Jones wrote again for John Ford's Civil War film The Horse Soldiers, in which he made an uncredited appearance as Ulysses S. Grant in the opening scene. The theme song I Left My Love was featured throughout the film. The following year, he returned to working for Disney Studios.

Three of his songs, (Ghost) Riders in the Sky, the theme from The Searchers, and Cowpoke, were chosen by members of the Western Writers of America as being among the Top 100 Western songs of all time.

Works for Winds