Throwback Jam: The Chicks’ “Cowboy Take Me Away”

By Aaron Wagner

It’s such an iconic and recognizable song right off the bat with the first few notes.

The Chicks’ “Cowboy Take Me Away” is one of the trios signature songs that still holds up today. Released in November of 1999, I have no doubt that if it was released today in 2021 it would still be a big commercial success.

The song was written by one of The Chicks, Martie Maguire, and well-known songwriter Marcus Hummon, who has written some monster successful songs like “Bless the Broken Road”, “Born to Fly”, “One Of These Days”, and “Ready to Run.”

During the writing session Martie and Marcus had finished up a song neither of them were thrilled about and with not much time left they decided to start another one. Martie wanted to write a song for her sister Emily’s wedding. She had the song title “Cowboy Take Me Away” in her head but when she shared it with Marcus he misheard and thought she said “Calgon, Take Me Away.” He was confused and asked if it was a joke because Calgon was the name of a bath powder and the phrase of an ad campaign.

Soon the confusion was gone as Martie shared that her sister Emily was marrying a cowboy and that she approved of the guy and wanted him to whisk her sister away off in the sunset. They finished the song in about 15 minutes and Marcus sent the demo to the label and waited to hear back.

After hearing crickets for awhile, one day he stumbled across a People Magazine article that mentioned that the trio had sang the song at Emily’s wedding. The rest is history as they say.

The song appeared on their record breaking Fly album that went Diamond. Yes, Diamond. That means more than 10 million copies were sold. That album helped launch the group into superstardom and one of the biggest acts in country music.

“Cowboy Take Me Away” spent three weeks at #1 in February of 2000, following Faith Hill’s “Breathe” and preceding Tim McGraw’s “My Best Friend.”

It’s one of the most covered songs in country music as Carly Pearce covered it recently as did Runaway June along with Marcus Hummon’s son, Levi Hummon.