"Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly (Fond of Each Other)" may be the first gay cowboy song by a major recording artist. But it was written long before this year's Oscar-nominated "Brokeback Mountain" made gay cowboys a hot topic.
Available exclusively through iTunes, the song features choppy Tex-Mex style guitar runs and Nelson's deadpan delivery of lines like, "What did you think all them saddles and boots was about?" and "Inside every cowboy there's a lady who'd love to slip out."
Asked if John Wayne was turning over in his grave, Nelson told CBS News correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi "John had a pretty good sense of humor, but the ones that brag the loudest are the ones that are most likely queer."
The song, which debuted Tuesday on Howard Stern's satellite radio show, was written by Texas-born singer-songwriter Ned Sublette in 1981. Sublette said he wrote it during the "Urban Cowboy" craze and always imagined Nelson singing it.
Someone passed a copy of the song to Nelson back in the late 1980s and, according to Nelson's record label, Lost Highway, he recorded it last year at his Pedernales studio in Texas.
Nelson has appeared in several Western movies and sings "He Was a Friend of Mine" on the "Brokeback Mountain" soundtrack.little by little, more pieces of Randy come through."