One Hit Wonders of the ’80s: 1986 – Boys Don’t Cry

“I Wanna Be a Cowboy” by Boys Don’t Cry


Boys Don’t Cry are a British group founded in 1983 by Nick Richards. They would go on to release two full-length albums: a self-titled debut in 1986, which included “I Wanna Be a Cowboy”, and a follow-up the following year titled Who the Am Dam do You Think We Am. The second album was simply released in America as Boys Don’t Cry, creating some confusion, since the band now had two consecutive self-titled albums released within a year of each other.

The single “I Wanna Be a Cowboy” was released in 1986, and was a big hit, peaking at #12 on June 21, 1986. Unfortunately for the band, they could not gain any traction and deliver any more hits.

On July 30, 1997, co-writers Nick Richards and Brian Chatton sued Paula Cole, Warner Brothers Records, and Imago Records, along with remix producers DJ EFX, Big Ed, and the E-Team, for $7 million in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, claiming that Cole’s remix of “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” used the phrase “I wanna be a cowboy” 24 times in the same style and syntax as their song and constituted copyright infringement.

Nick Richards and keyboardist Brian Chatton teamed up again recently. Who knows if they will be able to put together another hit. In the meantime, Cowboys and Cowgirls, here is the hit song from Boys Don’t Cry, “I Wanna Be a Cowboy”:

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