This song originated when Weiss overheard the phrase, "Rhinestone Cowboy" in a conversation. He told American Songwriter
magazine September/October 1984: "I heard the phrase and thought, 'Boy, I like that title'. I put my own meaning to it and wrote the song. I'll always be a kid at heart, and 'Rhinestone Cowboy' was sort of a summation of all my childhood cowboy movie heroes - particularly Hopalong Cassidy."
The song is about a Country singer struggling to make it big, and it reflected Weiss striving to make it in his songwriting career. He revealed in the same interview: "The idea for the song was also a crying out of myself. It was the spirit of a bunch of us on Broadway where I started out - Neil Diamond, Tony Orlando - we all had dreams of making it."
A note on Neil Diamond and his famous shiny suits: he is more comfortable in Blue Jeans
, but goes with the gaudy stagewear so the audience can see him more clearly.