Toby Keith Wrote “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” in 20 Minutes on a Hunting Trip

“Should’ve Been a Cowboy” is one of Toby Keith’s most enduring songs.  So it might surprise you to learn how quickly it came together.

Toby wrote it during a pheasant hunting trip to Dodge City, Kansas, which he says was, quote, “staged for the old ‘Gunsmoke’ series” at the time.

One day after the hunt, he and his friends went to a bar.  One of the guys, still in his hunting clothes, asked a girl at another table to dance, and she turned him down.

He says, quote, “On the way back to the table, we were laughing, and one of the guys hollered, ‘John, you should’ve been a cowboy.'”

That night, Toby shut himself in his motel bathroom, sat on the edge of the tub, and wrote “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” in 20 minutes.

(You can listen to Toby tell the story here.)