Country Music Memories: ‘Cowboy, Take Me Away’ Hits No. 1

Twenty-one years ago today (Feb. 5, 2000), the Chicks (then the Dixie Chicks) rode straight to No. 1 with their single “Cowboy, Take Me Away.” The tune, from the Chicks’ multi-platinum 1999 album Fly, was written by trio member Martie Maguire, along with songwriter Marcus Hummon.

Although Maguire penned “Cowboy, Take Me Away,” her sister, fellow Chicks member Emily Robison (now Emily Strayer), deserves some of the credit for inspiring the single, which features lines such as, “Cowboy, take me away / Fly this girl as high as you can / Into the wild blue / Set me free, oh, I pray / Closer to heaven above and / Closer to you, closer to you.” Maguire wrote the song when her younger sister started dating her future (and now-ex) husband, country singer Charlie Robison.

“[Emily] had been dating a bunch of guys I didn’t approve of,” Maguire explains, ”and then she met Charlie, and I sort of pictured him whisking her off into the sunset.”

“Cowboy, Take Me Away” helped propel the Chicks into one of the biggest years of their career: They won Top Vocal Duo or Group of the Year at the 2000 ACM Awards and both Vocal Group of the Year and Entertainer of the Year at the 2000 CMA Awards. The country trio also earned Album of the Year at both awards shows.

“Cowboy, Take Me Away” was included on the Chicks’ Playlist: The Very Best of Dixie Chicks and Essential Dixie Chicks albums, as well as their live album, Top of the World Tour: Live.

This story was originally written by Gayle Thompson, and revised by Annie Zaleski.

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