Where Have All The Cowboys Gone? – Paula Cole | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#8); 1997

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Paula Cole’s youth was steeped in creativity. Born and raised in the Massachusetts artist colony of Rockport, she was the daughter of a visual artist and an amateur musician.

Paula studied jazz singing at the Berklee College of Music, then became a professional musician. Her first big break arrived in the form of Peter Gabriel who asked her to perform on his 1992-93 world tour.

A year later, Paula scored a record deal, and released her debut album Harbinger. This Fire followed in late 1996 along with Cowboys as the lead-off single.

Word-of-mouth buzz resulted in radio airplay, and by the late spring of 1997, Cowboy was a Top 10 hit and This Fire was on its way to selling over two million copies. Paula also grabbed 1997’s Grammy award for Best New Artist.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Paula Cole

Lyrics Written by:

  • Paula Cole


  • “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?” was nominated for  Song of the Year 1998
  • “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?” earned Paula Cole a Grammy Award nomination for “Best Female Pop Vocal Performance” at the 40th Annual Grammy Awards in 1998