Don't Take Your Guns to Town

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"Don't Take Your Guns to Town"
Jcash - Dont Take Guns.jpg
Single by Johnny Cash
from the album The Fabulous Johnny Cash
B-side"I Still Miss Someone"
ReleasedDecember 1958
Format7" single
GenreWestern, country folk
Songwriter(s)Johnny Cash
Producer(s)Don Law
Johnny Cash singles chronology
"What Do I Care"
"Don't Take Your Guns to Town"
"It's Just About Time"

"Don't Take Your Guns to Town" is a 1958 single by Johnny Cash. The single was his fifth release to reach the number one position on the country chart, where it stayed for six weeks.[1] "Don't Take Your Guns to Town" was also a crossover hit peaking at number thirty-two on the pop chart.[2] The song is also included in the live album VH1 Storytellers: Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson. The song was covered by U2 as the B-side of their 2001 single "Elevation".

Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.[3]


The song tells the story of a young cowboy who, ignoring the titular advice from his mother, gets into a gunfight at a saloon and is killed.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1958–1959) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[4] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[5] 32


As was the case with many of his hits, Cash re-recorded the song on several occasions. In 1974, he recorded it in a more modern arrangement for the album The Junkie and the Juicehead Minus Me which also updated some of the lyrics. A more straight remake was recorded for the 1988 album Classic Cash: Hall of Fame Series. He also recorded a live version with Willie Nelson for the 1998 release VH1 Storytellers: Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson.

Alternate version[edit]

During an early-1990s guest appearance on the children's program Sesame Street, Cash performed a version of this song with new child-friendly lyrics titled "Don't Take Your Ones to Town".


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 74.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 110.
  3. ^ Western Writers of America (2010). "The Top 100 Western Songs". American Cowboy. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014.
  4. ^ "Johnny Cash Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  5. ^ "Johnny Cash Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.

External links[edit]