From This Might Be A Wiki

song name Cowtown
artist They Might Be Giants
releases Lincoln, Then: The Earlier Years, Mightathon, Best Of The Early Years, Dial-A-Song: 20 Years Of They Might Be Giants
year 1988
first played August 1982 (156 known performances)
run time 2:21
sung by John Flansburgh (sings first refrain and second verse alone); John Linnell (sings first verse alone)


  • This was one of the songs played by TMBG at their very first live show.
  • John Flansburgh (Pitchfork, 1996):
Linnell wrote the song 'Cowtown' when I was in a sort of pre-They Might Be Giants project with him and this other guy, who's a writer in New York. His name is Dave Lindsey. [...] Dave Lindsey played bass and I played guitar and Linnell played keyboards. We had this project that we rehearsed for like a month and had a bunch of songs including 'Cowtown' and then it just didn't come together for whatever reason, I'm not really sure.
  • Often, for example, at the February 2008 Beacon Theatre show, the song is introduced as the first song that John and John learned how to play together as a band.
  • In several live performances, Marty Beller electronically produces a screaming sound for the instrumental interludes between verses, but The Audience usually accompanies this filler with actual screaming.
  • The lyric "The yellow Roosevelt Avenue leaf overturned" is a combination of various phrases ("The Yellow Rose of Texas", "Roosevelt Avenue", "a new leaf overturned").

Song Themes

Animals, Cities, Colors, Friendship, I Am, Oblique Cliches Or Idiom, Puns, Sleep, Sea, Streets


Current Rating

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Cowtown is currently ranked #127 out of 910. (164 wikians have given it an average rating of 8.84)